When it comes to campaigning horses on the Derby trail, Albaugh Family Stables' Racing Manager Jason Loutsch has a good understanding of what it takes to get a horse to Churchill Downs on the First Saturday in May having done just that for the past three years.
Albaugh has been represented in the Kentucky Derby for the past three years with Brody's Cause (2016), J Boys Echo (2017) and Free Drop Billy (2018), all of which acquired points on Churchill Downs' Road To The Kentucky Derby as 2-year-olds. This year, however, things have gone a little differently. While Albaugh has some good stock in the 3-year-old department, they have been a little late coming along. One of these talented sophomores is Admire and Loutsch is confident that he can showcase his talent at Fair Grounds in the Grade III $200,000 Lecomte Stakes on January 19.
Trained by Dale Romans, the 3-year-old son of Cairo Prince broke his maiden at second asking over a sloppy main track at Churchill Downs on November 24, which was his most recent effort.
“It's a little different schedule we've done it the past,” Loutsch said. “As two-year-olds, we always had Derby points. This time is different since we broke our maidens late and have more work to do but were excited. We always talked about going to the Fair Grounds and running there and this time the timing makes sense. When horses are ready to run, it's to time to go. We'll be almost hundred days out for the Derby so it's time to go now. You got around three races before the Derby so we don't want to race in an allowance race. We feel like he's stakes caliber, but we have to see where we stand against the big boys.”
Admire is out of the stakes placed Indian Charlie broodmare Visavis, who is a full-sister to graded stakes winner Wild At Heart and a half-sister to four-time stakes winner Pickapocket
Loutsch spoke of how attractive Admire was from a confirmation standpoint at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale in 2017, where he was purchased for $360,000 from Gainesway's consignment operation.
“When we go to the sale we, look at individuals and pedigree that we think can get the distance,” Loutsch said. “This horse was gorgeous at the sale and it was Cairo Prince's first time being represented at the sale. He was in book one so that gives you an idea of what he looked like. He
was gorgeous and fell in love with him at the sale. He's just a great big looking colt and I like the Indian Charlie line.”
Loutsch discussed another potential Derby hopeful for Albaugh in Come On Gerry, an Ontario-bred son of Elusive Quality who broke his maiden at Gulfstream Park on December 28.
“He had a nice maiden win last week,” Loutsch said. “We're going to point him for the (Grade II $350,000) Holy Bull (at Gulfstream Park on February 2) and we think Admire is ready to run now had some good works, sitting on go looking for a race and thought the long stretch at the Fair Grounds would fit his style well. I like the timing of it. These are two big two turn colts. They just keep getting better and better. We're real excited.”
Other possible entrants for the Lecomte Stakes include War of Will, Tackett, Hog Creek Hustle, Mr. Money and Plus Que Parfait. The Lecomte is the first of three local preps on Churchill Downs' Road To The Kentucky Derby and awards the Top 4 finishers points based off of a 10-4-2-1 scale.
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