Two down, one more to go.
A week after locking in one Kentucky Derby starter with Grade III Spiral Stakes winner We Miss Artie, Nicholasville-based owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey watched another of their contenders cement a trip to Louisville in May as Vicar’s in Trouble headed every point of call to win the Grade II, $1 million Louisiana Derby by 3 1/2-lengths over Intense Holiday at Fair Grounds Saturday.
With the win, Vicar’s in Trouble now heads up the Kentucky Derby standings with 120 points. And the Ramseys aren’t done with possible classic representation. The reigning Eclipse Award winners for Outstanding Owner and Outstanding Breeder for 2013 are slated to send out graded stakes winner Bobby’s Kitten in the Grade I Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 12.
“It sure would be nice to get all three in…we’d only have 17 others to beat,” Ramsey joked after the Spiral.
A Louisiana bred, Vicar’s in Trouble has fittingly notched each of his three career wins over the Fair Grounds track. The dark bay son of Into Mischief won the Grade III Lecomte Stakes by 6 3/4 lengths in his seasonal bow on January 18 and was third behind race winner Intense Holiday after a wide trip in the Grade II Risen Star Stakes on February 22.
The colt popped an abscess in his left front foot shortly after being shipped to trainer Mike Maker’s Gulfstream Park base. The setback only forced him to miss about 3-4 days of training, according to Ken Ramsey, and there were no signs of ailment as he shot to the lead Saturday under jockey Rosie Napravnik and set fractions of 23.56 and 47.86.
“You know he is a tiny horse but he’s got a great big heart,” said Napravnik, who also won the Fair Grounds Oaks aboard Untapable Saturday.
Intense Holiday, who made a big run to nip Albano by a nose in the Risen Star, couldn’t make up much ground in the lane as Vicar’s in Trouble hit the wire in 1:50.77 over a fast track for the 1 1/8-miles race. Commanding Curve ran a good third after getting bumped at the start and Albano crossed the wire fifth but was elevated to fourth when In Trouble was disqualified for interference.
“I had the #9 clocked (In Trouble), but when Gerard’s horse (Rise Up) came up on the outside and then dropped over, In Trouble wheeled out and he hit my horse so hard, it knocked the air out of him. He just couldn’t recover from that,” said Kerwin Clark, jockey of Albano.