'High-pressure stall' houses Lecomte Stakes contender Plus Que Parfait

Ryan Martin, Fair Grounds
January 06, 2019 08:27pm
'High-pressure stall' houses Lecomte Stakes contender Plus Que Parfait
Photo: Courtesy of Fair Grounds

Trainer Brendan Walsh doesn’t place just any horse right across from his Fair Grounds office in Stall 26. He wants one that is held in high regard for him to keep a close eye on, so the fact that Grade 3, $200,000 Lecomte Stakes contender Plus Que Parfait resides there speaks volumes of how much Walsh believes in this gelding.

 

Owned by David Ross, the son of Point of Entry occupies the area that was once home to the likes of three-time graded stakes winner Scuba and two-time Fair Grounds winner Redesdale. Walsh acknowledges that he has some big shoes to fill.

 

“It’s a high-pressure stall,” Walsh said. “Any year I’ve been down here, I always had nice horses in that stall. It’s nice to be able to look up from my desk at him. I definitely would want a good horse of mine to be in there.”

 

Walsh believes Plus Que Parfait is just that, and he began to prove it with a runner-up finish behind Signalman in last November's Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2). That finish acquired four points on the 2019 Kentucky Derby trail. They also pay out in the Lecomte on a 10-4-2-1 scale.

 

The Lecomte is run at a distance of a mile and 70 yards, and Plus Que Parfait possesses plenty of experience going two turns having done so in three of his four career starts. He broke his maiden third time out over next-out winners Harvey Wallbanger and Cutting Humor at Keeneland going a mile-and-a-sixteenth.

 

“It’s always been an advantage,” Walsh said of the two-turn experience. “It looks like he’s good enough. He seems to like this track. He’s worked well on it, and I believe that the long stretch will suit him. Just like any of them this time of year, he still has a lot of questions to answer, but I think he’s a pretty nice horse. There’s plenty of stamina in his pedigree.”

 

Plus Que Parfait is out of the Awesome Again broodmare Belvedera, whose dam is graded stakes-winning mare Forever Land. Oracle Bloodstock purchased him for $135,000 from the Keeneland September Yearling Sale in 2017, when he was consigned by Vinery Stables. 

 

“He’s doing well and it looks like he’s very healthy,” Walsh said. “I saw a photo of him the other day from last September, and psychically he looks twice the horse now that he was then.”

 

Jockey Julien Leparoux will ship to Fair Grounds to ride Plus Que Parfait in the Lecomte Stakes.

 

“He rode him in the Kentucky Jockey Club and said he was keen to stay on him,” Walsh said.

 

Racing on the same day for Walsh and Ross in the $75,000 Louisiana Stakes is Honorable Duty, who is unbeaten over the Fair Grounds main track in three career starts, all of which took place against stakes company.

 

The 7-year-old gelded son of Distorted Humor was named Horse of the Meet following the 2016-17 season after gathering up victories in the Tenacious Stakes, Mineshaft Handicap (G3) and New Orleans Handicap (G2). Although, he has not raced at Fair Grounds since then, Honorable Duty has not lost his competitive nature having won or placed in six of his last nine starts. These include back-to-back runner-up finishes in the Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) at Churchill Downs as well as a victory in the Lukas Classic (G3) at the Louisville oval in 2017.

 

“He’s doing great. He loves it here,” Walsh said. “Last year, we brought him back from injury and sent him down here to train about six weeks before the meet ended because he did so well here the year before. He came back this year, and I think he is as good as he was the year before. He was third in the Lukas which was a tough, tough race this year. If he does well next Saturday, we’ll go to the Mineshaft and hopefully the New Orleans Handicap.”

 

Honorable Duty is out of the unraced A.P. Indy broodmare Mesmeric, whose dam is iconic broodmare Toussaud – the mother of Grade 1 winners Chester House, Honest Lady and Chiselling as well as prolific stallion Empire Maker. He was purchased for $130,000 from Mill Ridge Farm’s consignment barn at the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale in 2015. 

 

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