December 1, 2023

Enforceable steps forward with Lecomte win

Enforceable (center) with jockey Julien Leparoux pulls away to win the 76th running of the Lecomte (g3) at Fair Grounds. (c) Hodges Photography/Jan Brubaker

Enforceable launched a bold bid nearing the completion of the far turn and seized command in the stretch of Saturday’s $200,000 Lecomte (G3) at Fair Grounds, rolling home to win the Kentucky Derby qualifier by 1 1/2 lengths. The gray son of Tapit notched his first stakes victory in the 1 1/16-mile race, and Julien Leparoux picked up the mount.

A two-turn maiden winner at Saratoga in his fourth career start, Enforceable went on to finish third in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland and fourth in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs. He wasn’t a serious factor in either, though, closing belatedly from off the pace, and the Mark Casse-trained colt showed a new dimension with a powerful turn of foot in the Lecomte.

Off as the 6-1 fifth choice among 13 3-year-olds, Enforceable dropped back to 11th in the early stages. He closed wide into contention and after surging to a clear lead by midstretch, the Kentucky-bred had more than enough to hold off the late kick of runner-up Silver State.

“On the backside he was just dragging me,” Leparoux said. “He’s a horse I think the more distance the better.”

Silver State bobbled at the break and left himself too much after racing toward the rear of the field, but 3-1 second choice gave a respectable account in his stakes debut for Steve Asmussen.

Mr. Monomoy, who was in perfect position in upper stretch after closely stalking the pace but lacked the necessary finishing kick, wound up another neck back in third at 6-1. Finnick the Fierce came next in fourth, a nose better than 3-1 favorite Scabbard. Shashashakemeup, Excession, Halo Again, Bango, Perfect Star, Jack the Umpire, Sycamore Run and New Eagle completed the order.

Enforceable stopped the teletimer in 1:43.72 over the fast track, improving his career record to 7-2-1-2.

Owned by John Oxley, who campaigned 2001 Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos, Enforceable has the same owner/trainer combination of 2019 Preakness winner War of Will, who also captured the Lecomte. He hails from a regal female family, becoming the fourth graded winner from the multiple Grade 2-scoring Dixie Union mare Justwhistledixie, and was bred by Clearsky Farms.

A total of 17 points (10-4-2-1) was up for grabs in the Lecomte, the first of three Road to the Kentucky Derby series qualifiers at the Fair Grounds along with the February 15 Risen Star (G2) and March 21 Louisiana Derby (G2).

“He trained beautifully down here, he’s starting to fill out and mature,” said David Carroll, assistant to Mark Casse, who confirmed the 1 1/8-mile Risen Star and 1 3/16-mile Louisiana Derby are probable targets for Enforceable.