Vicar's in Trouble, winner of the Lecomte Stakes in late February, broke well from the gate, went to the lead within the first quarter mile, turned back a challenge from Intense Holiday on the far turn, and rolled home to win the Louisiana Derby and book at ticket to Churchill Downs for the 2014 Kentucky Derby. Intense Holiday, winner of last month's Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds, was a well beaten second as the 9/5 post time favorite. Commanding Curve finished third, while In Trouble rounded out the superfecta. (After an inquiry, In Trouble was disqualified and Albano placed fourth.)
Unlike his race in the Risen Star, Vicar's in Trouble was able to break well and grab an early, uncontested lead that allowed him to unleash his best running style. In his Lecomte victory, Vicar's in Trouble sprinted away from the field at the top of the lane, leaving his rivals in his wakes. In the Louisiana Derby, Vicar's in Trouble ran almost identical race with identical results.
In terms of raw times, the Louisiana Derby looks fairly unremarkable on paper. But raw times can certainly be deceiving; a cursory glance at the results on the day suggest a track that seems a bit on the slow side. Palace Malice won the New Orleans Handicap in dominating fashion and stopped the timer in 1:48.93 for the nine furlongs journey. The same trip in the Louisiana Derby finished a second slower, or essentially five lengths if we live by the one fifth of a second equals a length. Palace Malice five lengths better than Vicar's in Trouble? That seems about right considering Palace Malice was under a hand ride the last 100 yards and, really, that flatters Vicar's in Trouble.
So where do we go with Vicar's in Trouble at Churchill Downs? As usual, there's going to be a lot of speed horses which could severely compromise the Louisiana Derby winner if he has to engage in a duel on the front end. On the other hand, this horse can run a big one if he's able to shake free of his rivals in the early stages. In both the Lecomte and the Louisiana Derby, Vicar's in Trouble put the rest of the field under pressure when he maintained his momentum on the far turn, requiring his rivals to "come and get him." Can he do that in Louisville? It certainly won't be easy.
Vicar's in Trouble is a three-year-old colt by Into Mischief out of a Vicar mare (Vibrant), owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, trained by Mike Maker, and ridden by Rosie Napravnik.
Below are the results of the 2014 Louisiana Derby:
|6-Vicar's in Trouble||$8.60||$4.40||$3.00|
|Base||Bet||Combo||Payout||Pays to -|