(Enforceable / Photo by Holly M. Smith)
Going into the G3 Lecomte Stakes last week, trainer Mark Casse seemed to be searching for a potential star and a contender for this year’s Kentucky Derby road. He seemed to be looking for a 3YO colt in his barn to step up and shine out. He seemed to be scratching his head.
It got a little worse when his duo of Enforceable and Lynn’s Map both drew the far outside post positions for the Lecomte — which annually kicks off the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans. Tough spots to start any race. Tougher spots to gain valuable points.
It got a little more complex when Casse decided to scratch Lynn’s Map — who had already won over the track — and point him to the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park. That left Enforceable. A talented son of the great Tapit, and full of potential. No doubt. But that left with Enforceable. A horse that had not won another race other than a maiden, and had run 4th in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes and 3rd in the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity in the last two starts of 2019.
It was a world of question marks.
That ended up with, perhaps, an exclamation point.
On Saturday, Enforceable looked more like a force to be reckoned with and a serious and emerging contender for this year’s Triple Crown. Despite breaking at the rear of the pack and allowed to bide his time in the early going, Enforceable are with a run that sparked both interest and raves. Moving 4-wide, and then 5-wide, and ultimately 6-wide, Enforceable and rider Julien Leparoux motored past all of his would-be contenders and ran off to a 11/2-length victory.
Suddenly, there was an emerging 3YO.
Suddenly, Casse may have found his Derby horse.
This week, Enforceable leaped into “The Pressbox’s KY Derby Rankings” Top 20 List, and leap-frogged some of the would-be contenders. It will be interesting to watch what happens from here, but the next War of Will may have been found.
(Blackberry Wine / Photo by Holly M. Smith)
Another horse to make a splash last week was Blackberry Wine — a 3YO son of Oxbow who is trained by Joe Sharp for owner Calumet Farm. On Saturday, this speedster ran off to an impressive win over the highly touted Digital and Chestertown in a 11/16-mile allowance race at the Fair Grounds.
At one time in the stretch, Blackberry Wine — who led from the get-go — was corralled and passed by Digital. It looked like the eventual winner was all done. In fact, he fell about 1/2-length behind.
But the gutty colt rallied under the careful management of rider Adam Beschizza and retook the lead headed to the wire, pulling out a length victory.
Endurance may be a question with this one. Guts is not.
He jumps into the rankings for the first time, too.
Here’s a look at our current rankings:
|Horse||Sire||Trainer||Jockey||Last Race||Next Race||Comments|
|1||Dennis’ Moment||Tiznow||Dale Romans||Irad Oritz, Jr.||8th in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile||G2 Fountain of Youth — GP on Feb. 29||Last Work Suggests That This One Is Getting Ready|
|2||Independence Hall||Constitution||Michael Trombetta||Jose Ortiz||1st in Jerome Stakes||G3 Sam F. Davis Stakes — Tampa on Feb. 9||Talent Galore / Still Learning How to Use It|
|3||Storm The Court||Court Vision||Peter Eurton||Flavien Prat||1st in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile||G3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes — SA on Feb. 1||Hard to Dismiss the BC Juv Winner|
|4||Thousand Words||Pioneerof the Nile||Bob Baffert||Flavien Prat||1st in Los Alamitos Futurity||G2 San Felipe Stakes — SA on March 7||Looks To Be Baffert’s Best / For Now|
|5||Silver Prospector||Declaration of War||Steve Asmussen||Ricardo Santana, Jr||1st in KY Jockey Club||Smarty Jones Stakes — OP on Jan. 24||Was Tremendous in KY Jockey Club at CD|
|6||Ajaaweed||Curlin||Kiaran McLaughlin||Joel Rosario||2nd in Remsen Stakes||TBD||Our “Sleeper” in This Year’s Group / Watch Out Here|
|7||Structor||Palace Malice||Chad Brown||Jose Ortiz||1st in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf||TBD||Can He Convert to Dirt? / Can’t Dismiss Chad Brown|
|8||Anneau d’Or||Medaglia d’Oro||Blaine Wright||Jose Hernandez||2nd in Los Alamitos Futurity||El Camino Real Derby — Feb. 15||Has Run Some Impressive 2nds / Can He Win Big Ones?|
|9||Shotski||Blame||Jeremiah O’Dwyer||Luis Saez||1st in Remsen Stakes||G3 Withers Stakes — AQU on Feb. 1||Interested / But Must See More|
|10||Maxfield||Street Sense||Brendan Walsh||Jose Oritz||1st in Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity||TBD||Must See One After Surgery / But Talented|
|11||Tiz the Law||Constitution||Barclay Tagg||Manny Franco||3rd in KY Jockey Club||G2 Holy Bull Stakes at GP on Feb. 1||Ran Better Than It Looked in KY Jockey Club / Game|
|12||Authentic||Into Mischief||Bob Baffert||Drayden Van Dyke||1st in G3 Sham Stakes||TBD||Has Some Attention Deficit Issues / Can Blinkers Cure?|
|13||Gouverneur Morris||Constitution||Todd Pletcher||Javier Castellano||2nd in Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity||TBD||Was Impressive at KEE From Impossible Post / More?|
|14||Enforceable||Tapit||Mark Casse||Julien Leparoux||1st in the G3 Lecomte Stakes||G2 Risen Star Stakes at FG on Feb. 15||Impressive in Winning Lecomte From Far Outside|
|15||Silver State||Hard Spun||Steve Asmussen||Ricardo Santana, Jr||2nd in G3 Lecomte Stakes||G2 Risen Star Stakes at FG on Feb. 15||Impressive in G3 Lecomte / Just Scratching the Surface?|
|16||Lynn’s Map||Liam’s Map||Mark Casse||Corey Lanerie||1st in FG Allowance||Smarty Jones Stakes — OP on Jan. 24||Skipped the G3 Lecomte When Drew #14 Post / Now Time|
|17||Mr. Monomoy||Palace Malice||Brad Cox||Florent Geroux||3rd in the G3 Lecomte Stakes||G2 Risen Star Stakes at FG on Feb. 15||Does Enough Each Time to Keep Hopes Alive / Learning|
|18||High Velocity||Quality Road||Bob Baffert||Drayden Van Dyke||3rd in Los Alamitos Futurity||G2 San Vicente Stakes at SA on Feb. 9||Can Come Off the Baffert Bench / Maybe|
|19||Blackberry Wine||Oxbow||Joe Sharp||Adam Beschizza||1st in FG Allowance||G2 Risen Star Stakes at FG on Feb. 15||Won 2 of Last 3 / Next Step — Big Boys|
|20||Scabbard||More Than Ready||Eddie Kenneally||Corey Lanerie||5th in G3 Lecomte Stakes||G2 Risen Star Stakes at FG on Feb. 15||Disappointing in 2020 Debut / Still Too Talented To Dismiss|
|1||Shoplifted||Into Mischief||Steve Asmussen||Ricardo Santana, Jr||1st in Remington Springboard Mile||Smarty Jones Stakes — OP on Jan. 24||Big Test Coming This Week|
|2||Wrecking Crew||Sky Kingdom||Peter Miller||Abel Cedillo||4th in Los Alamitos Futirity||TBD||Would Appear to Be a Distance Runner|
|3||Eight Rings||Empire Maker||Bob Baffert||John Velazquez||6th in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile||G2 Rebel Stakes at OP on March 14||Can Be Baffert’s Best / Again|
|4||Green Light Go||Hard Spun||Jimmy Jerkens||Junior Alvarado||2nd in Champagne Stakes||G3 Swale Stakes at GP on Feb. 1||Never Run a Bad One Yet|
|5||Honor A.P.||Honor Code||John Shirreffs||Mike Smith||1st in SA MSW||TBD||Love The Breeding Here / Let’s See More|
|6||Basin||Liam’s Map||Steve Asmussen||Jose Ortiz||1st in Hopeful Stakes||G2 Rebel Stakes at OP on March 14||Rebel Is Very Important|
|7||Finnick The Fierce||Dialed In||Reuben Hernandez||G. St. Leon||4th in the G3 Lecomte Stakes||G2 Risen Star Stakes at FG on Feb. 15||Dialed In? Distance?|
|8||Answer In||Dialed In||Brad Cox||Javier Castellano||2nd in Remington Springboard Mile||G3 Southwest Stakes at OP on Feb. 17||Dialed In? Distance?|
|9||Chance It||Currency Swap||Saffie Joseph, Jr.||Tyler Gaffalione||1st in Mucho Macho Man Stakes||G3 Holy Bull Stakes at GP on Feb. 1||All Out to Win the Mucho Macho Man / All Out|
|10||Toledo||Into Mischief||Chad Brown||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||1st in AQU MSW||TBD||One to Watch|
|11||Chestertown||Tapit||Steve Asmussen||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||3rd in ALW at FG||G2 Risen Star Stakes at FG on Feb. 15||An Absolute Beautiful Horse / Raw, But Talented|
|12||American Theorem||American Pharoah||G. Papaprodromou||Tiago Pereira||2nd in American Pharoah Stakes||G2 San Felipe Stakes at SA on March 7||Love to See This One in KY Derby|
|13||Tizamagician||Tiznow||Richard Mandella||Victor Espinoza||1st in SA MSW||G3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes — SA on Feb. 1||Mandella Deserves Another Shot|