(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:

HorseSireTrainerJockeyLast RaceNext RaceComments
1Dennis' MomentTiznowDale RomansIrad Oritz, Jr.8th in Breeders' Cup JuvenileG2 Fountain of Youth -- GP on Feb. 29Last Work Suggests That This One Is Getting Ready
2Independence HallConstitutionMichael TrombettaJose Ortiz1st in Jerome StakesG3 Sam F. Davis Stakes -- Tampa on Feb. 9Talent Galore / Still Learning How to Use It
3Storm The CourtCourt VisionPeter EurtonFlavien Prat1st in Breeders' Cup JuvenileG3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes -- SA on Feb. 1Hard to Dismiss the BC Juv Winner
4Thousand WordsPioneerof the NileBob BaffertFlavien Prat1st in Los Alamitos FuturityG2 San Felipe Stakes -- SA on March 7Looks To Be Baffert's Best / For Now
5Silver ProspectorDeclaration of WarSteve AsmussenRicardo Santana, Jr1st in KY Jockey ClubSmarty Jones Stakes -- OP on Jan. 24Was Tremendous in KY Jockey Club at CD
6AjaaweedCurlinKiaran McLaughlinJoel Rosario2nd in Remsen StakesTBDOur "Sleeper" in This Year's Group / Watch Out Here
7StructorPalace MaliceChad BrownJose Ortiz1st in Breeders' Cup Juvenile TurfTBDCan He Convert to Dirt? / Can't Dismiss Chad Brown
8Anneau d'OrMedaglia d'OroBlaine WrightJose Hernandez2nd in Los Alamitos FuturityEl Camino Real Derby -- Feb. 15Has Run Some Impressive 2nds / Can He Win Big Ones?
9ShotskiBlameJeremiah O'DwyerLuis Saez1st in Remsen StakesG3 Withers Stakes -- AQU on Feb. 1Interested / But Must See More
10MaxfieldStreet SenseBrendan WalshJose Oritz1st in Claiborne Breeders' FuturityTBDMust See One After Surgery / But Talented
11Tiz the LawConstitutionBarclay TaggManny Franco3rd in KY Jockey ClubG2 Holy Bull Stakes at GP on Feb. 1Ran Better Than It Looked in KY Jockey Club / Game
12AuthenticInto MischiefBob BaffertDrayden Van Dyke1st in G3 Sham StakesTBDHas Some Attention Deficit Issues / Can Blinkers Cure?
13Gouverneur MorrisConstitutionTodd PletcherJavier Castellano2nd in Claiborne Breeders' FuturityTBDWas Impressive at KEE From Impossible Post / More?
14EnforceableTapitMark CasseJulien Leparoux1st in the G3 Lecomte StakesG2 Risen Star Stakes at FG on Feb. 15Impressive in Winning Lecomte From Far Outside
15Silver StateHard SpunSteve AsmussenRicardo Santana, Jr2nd in G3 Lecomte StakesG2 Risen Star Stakes at FG on Feb. 15Impressive in G3 Lecomte / Just Scratching the Surface?
16Lynn's MapLiam's MapMark CasseCorey Lanerie1st in FG AllowanceSmarty Jones Stakes -- OP on Jan. 24Skipped the G3 Lecomte When Drew #14 Post / Now Time
17Mr. MonomoyPalace MaliceBrad CoxFlorent Geroux3rd in the G3 Lecomte StakesG2 Risen Star Stakes at FG on Feb. 15Does Enough Each Time to Keep Hopes Alive / Learning
18High VelocityQuality RoadBob BaffertDrayden Van Dyke3rd in Los Alamitos FuturityG2 San Vicente Stakes at SA on Feb. 9Can Come Off the Baffert Bench / Maybe
19Blackberry WineOxbowJoe SharpAdam Beschizza1st in FG AllowanceG2 Risen Star Stakes at FG on Feb. 15Won 2 of Last 3 / Next Step -- Big Boys
20ScabbardMore Than ReadyEddie KenneallyCorey Lanerie5th in G3 Lecomte StakesG2 Risen Star Stakes at FG on Feb. 15Disappointing in 2020 Debut / Still Too Talented To Dismiss
Others
1ShopliftedInto MischiefSteve AsmussenRicardo Santana, Jr1st in Remington Springboard MileSmarty Jones Stakes -- OP on Jan. 24Big Test Coming This Week
2Wrecking CrewSky KingdomPeter MillerAbel Cedillo4th in Los Alamitos FutirityTBDWould Appear to Be a Distance Runner
3Eight RingsEmpire MakerBob BaffertJohn Velazquez6th in Breeders' Cup JuvenileG2 Rebel Stakes at OP on March 14Can Be Baffert's Best / Again
4Green Light GoHard SpunJimmy JerkensJunior Alvarado2nd in Champagne StakesG3 Swale Stakes at GP on Feb. 1Never Run a Bad One Yet
5Honor A.P.Honor CodeJohn ShirreffsMike Smith1st in SA MSWTBDLove The Breeding Here / Let's See More
6BasinLiam's MapSteve AsmussenJose Ortiz1st in Hopeful StakesG2 Rebel Stakes at OP on March 14Rebel Is Very Important
7Finnick The FierceDialed InReuben HernandezG. St. Leon4th in the G3 Lecomte StakesG2 Risen Star Stakes at FG on Feb. 15Dialed In? Distance?
8Answer InDialed InBrad CoxJavier Castellano2nd in Remington Springboard MileG3 Southwest Stakes at OP on Feb. 17Dialed In? Distance?
9Chance ItCurrency SwapSaffie Joseph, Jr.Tyler Gaffalione1st in Mucho Macho Man StakesG3 Holy Bull Stakes at GP on Feb. 1All Out to Win the Mucho Macho Man / All Out
10ToledoInto MischiefChad BrownIrad Ortiz, Jr.1st in AQU MSWTBDOne to Watch
11ChestertownTapitSteve AsmussenIrad Ortiz, Jr.3rd in ALW at FGG2 Risen Star Stakes at FG on Feb. 15An Absolute Beautiful Horse / Raw, But Talented
12American TheoremAmerican PharoahG. PapaprodromouTiago Pereira2nd in American Pharoah StakesG2 San Felipe Stakes at SA on March 7Love to See This One in KY Derby
13TizamagicianTiznowRichard MandellaVictor Espinoza1st in SA MSWG3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes -- SA on Feb. 1Mandella Deserves Another Shot