An unexpected Kentucky Derby contender emerged on the scene this past Saturday as jockey Rosie Napravnik piloted Vicar’s in Trouble to an easy victory in the Louisiana Derby held at New Orleans’ Fairgrounds Park. Vicar’s in Trouble became the first Louisiana bred horse to win the Louisiana Derby since Heaven Again(1990).
Intense Holiday entered the race as a 9-5 post time favorite and closed strong but was unable to mount a challenge to the winner. Intense Holiday’s jockey, Mike Smith, gave credit to Napravnik for running a great race:
“Rosie rode a tremendous race. … She took control of the race and slowed it down.”
Commanding Curve finished third, recovering nicely after a bad start and tough early trip. Jockey Robbie Albarado was pleased how his horse responded to the less than ideal circumstances:
“He’s progressing every time. I got eliminated at the start, but he ran on so easily. There’s more there.”
In Trouble–not to be confused with the race winner–was a 3-1 second choice and technically finished fourth but was disqualified for bumping Albano, who was awarded the spot. Albano jockey Kerwin Clark observed:
“We were in a great spot. But when (last place 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.”
Vicar’s in Trouble may not get a lot of Derby love due to his small stature but winning jockey Napravnik cited his intestinal fortitude:
“You know, he is a tiny horse but he’s got a great big heart”He just broke really sharp and was comfortable in the lead. It couldn’t mean any more. It’s the premier race at the track at the end of the meet. … It’s the race that you want to win.”
Derby prep races continue this weekend and the contender field will begin to take shape after that. The Kentucky Derby is held the first Saturday in May at Louisville, Kentucky’s Churchill Downs race track.