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NEW ORLEANS, LA – Winchel Thoroughbreds’ Midnight Bourbon took control from the jump and had more than enough left late to win gate to wire in Saturday’s $200,000 Lecomte Stakes (G3) at Fair Grounds.
Midnight Bourbon broke from the rail under Ricardo Santana Jr. as the 7/2 second choice and was allowed to set an uncontested tempo through opening fractions of :24.68, :48.99, and 1:13.57.
Proxy and Mandaloun could only continue chasing in vain as the Steve Asmussen trainee rounded the far turn and kept on trucking in the lane.
Midnight Bourbon crossed 1 length clear while completing the 1 1/16-mile fast main track route in 1:44.41.
“Just really grateful to Steve for giving me the opportunity on him,” said Talamo, who picked up the mount after original rider Ricardo Santana Jr. missed the day with an illness. “Very, very classy horse. He broke like a rocket out of there and I just tried to be a good passenger from there. He settled like a champ, and when those horses came to him down the lane, he fought (them) off and he really galloped out very, very nice.”
Proxy headed Mandaloun for second, but it was a widening 8 3/4 lengths back to Santa Cruiser in fourth.
Arabian Prince, Game Day Play, Regular Guy, and Red N Wild completed the order of finish.
Beep Beep, Dyn O Mite, and Manor House completed the order of finish.
The Lecomte is part of the Road to the 2021 Kentucky Derby prep race season. Midnight Bourbon earned 10 points for the win, with Proxy receiving 4 for second, Mandaloun 2 for third, and Santa Cruiser 1 for fourth.
Midnight Bourbon’s win was his first since breaking his maiden at Ellis Park in August and improved his overall record to 5-2-1-2. The Tiznow colt, purchased for $525,000 as a yearling, has now earned $221,420.
“Lovely horse, he’s a beautiful individual,” Asmussen said, indicating that February’s local Derby prep, the Risen Star Stakes (G2), is next. “Obviously, he had run some solid races, but we were very much looking forward to getting him into two-turn races. His pedigree, we think that going further will help him. He’s got a beautiful stride to him. He was away nice and cleanly and Joe gave him a nice trip. He’s going to develop into an excellent 3-year-old.”
Midnight Bourbon returned $9.40 to win, $5.20 to place, and $3 to show. Proxy brought back $7.20 to place and $3.60 to show, while Mandaloun paid $2.40 to show.
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