Photo by Chelsea Durand
By Keith McCalmont
OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Deuce Greathouse, Cindy Hutson and Brett Setzer’s Les Bon Temps doubled up on stakes scores in Saturday’s $500,000 Fifth Avenue division of the New York Stallion Stakes Series, a seven-furlong sprint for eligible New York-sired juvenile fillies, at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by Mike Maker and expertly piloted by Jose Lezcano, the Laoban bay entered from a 13-1 upset score against fellow New York-breds in the one-mile Maid of the Mist on October 30 at Belmont at the Big A. She maintained her winning ways Saturday with an impressive stalk-and-pounce score as the 6-5 mutuel favorite.
Lezcano hustled Les Bon Temps out of the inside post in a loaded 10-horse field and saved ground in fifth position as maiden winner Forces Sweetheart set splits of 22.86 seconds and 46.92 over the muddy and sealed main track.
Forces Sweetheart led the field into the turn with Central Speed, Fema Funds and Sweet Liberty rallying into contention on the outside as Lezcano waited for racing room with Les Bon Temps. Sweet Liberty was full of run but bolted late in the turn as Lezcano angled Les Bon Temps off the rail and into the lead with Midtown Lights and Little Linzee taking aim. But there was no denying a game Les Bon Temps, who was resolute to the wire to notch the 1 1/4-length score in a final time of 1:27.28.
Midtown Lights completed the exacta by 1 3/4-lengths over Little Linzee with Dream On Cara, Sweet Liberty, Forces Sweetheart, Clover Street, Fema Funds, Central Speed and Small Pebbles rounding out the order of finish. Bustin Hot was scratched.
Lezcano said he worked hard to keep Les Bon Temps in contention.
“With this kind of filly, you have to use her. You have to keep her in position,” Lezcano said. “I had to keep waiting until making my move at the quarter pole. When I did, she went on and won the race. It was easy to get to the outside. She handled the track well. The only thing is I think she could have used somebody next to her to keep going more.”
Les Bon Temps, a $65,000 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearling Sale purchase, launched her career with trainer Norm Casse, winning her May debut at Churchill Downs ahead of a third-place finish in the Debutante at the same track.
She followed with a distant fourth-place effort in the state-bred Seeking the Ante in August over a sloppy and sealed main track at Saratoga Race Course and joined the Maker barn to finish a game third in the state-bred Joseph A. Gimma in September here ahead of her Maid of the Mist coup.
“Honestly, when she ran at Saratoga, I don’t think the mud bothered her. She hadn’t run in a while and she just looked like she needed that race really badly,” Greathouse said. “Mike just worked her one time and ran her up here and she was on the lead and got a little tired. I thought her last start was us finally getting to see what kind of a filly she was, and obviously she built off that, so that was great.”
Greathouse said Les Bon Temps could look to pick up Kentucky Oaks qualifying points next at the Big A with both the nine-furlong $100,000 Busanda [20-8-6-4-2] on January 14 and the one-mile $200,000 Busher [50-20-15-10-5] on March 4 under consideration.
“We’re going to see what Mike says. I think at some point she deserves a chance [at open company] – she broke her maiden in open company,” Greathouse said. “So, I don’t know, maybe the Busanda or the Busher. We’ll see what Mike says. Two turns is going to be her friend.”
Bred in the Empire State by Southern Equine Stables, Les Bon Temps banked $275,000 in victory while improving her record to 6-3-0-2. She returned $4.40 for a $2 win bet.
Live racing returns on Sunday at the Big A with a 10-race card. First post is 11:50 a.m. Eastern