Good horses are blessed with natural talent, but heart and the ability to overcome adversity is often what takes them to the next level. In just five career starts, Roiland has checked all the boxes, but Saturday's Grade III $200,000 Lecomte Stakes at the Fair Grounds represents a fresh and difficult challenge.
Trainer Tom Amoss acknowledges the fact that the son of Successful Appeal will likely be a price in the mile-and-70-yard event, but outrunning big odds is something that he's done before. Two starts ago against winners at Churchill Downs, Roiland scored a 28-1 upset where he was bumped at the start, sat well off the pace and gunned down eventual graded stakes placed Limonite in the final strides.
“The day he ran at Churchill might have been one of the few times in my life that I looked at a horse that was a huge longshot on the board and thought that he should have been 6-5,” Amoss recalled. “He won that day, we ran him back in the (Kentucky Jockey Club) and he ran a troubled fifth. He has progressed really well into his 3-year-old campaign and I am excited about this race, recognizing that he'll be a longshot.
“I know it's going to be big field and I know that traffic is going to be an issue with a horse that comes from behind like him, but I think he has matured nicely and I think when you look at him in the paddock, you will see a good looking, physical horse that is going to catch your eye.”
Amoss thought highly of Roiland before he even ran, but it was his career debut at Indiana Grand Race Course that really opened the trainer's eyes.
“He did something that you can't do at Indiana Grand,” Amoss said. “In a sprint race, he came from well back to win going one turn in a sprint race and you can't do that there. I've always liked Roiland, he's a very good looking physical specimen and he's been a late bloomer and late running horse so he's been at a disadvantage in his early races and yet he can overcome that.”
Amoss has won the Lecomte a total of four times with Fly Cry (1994), Some Actor (1999), Ron the Greek (2010) and Mo Tom (2016). He compared Roiland to Ron the Greek who had the same running style and also broke his maiden in the state of Indiana first time out.
Current Fair Grounds leading rider James Graham will guide Roiland who breaks from post seven at 12-1 odds.
A James and Mary Durlacher homebred, Roiland is a full-brother to stakes winner Isotope. Both are out of the two-time winning Congaree broodmare Anabranch.
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