Kentucky Derby contender profile: Enforceable

January 22nd, 2020

They say patience is a virtue...

...and the merit of this belief was reiterated when Enforceable rallied to victory in the $200,000 Lecomte (G3) on Jan. 18 at Fair Grounds.

As of last summer, it would have been hard to envision Enforceable developing into a serious contender on the Road to the 2020 Kentucky Derby. He was beaten in his first three starts over a variety of distances and surfaces, and finally graduated when he wore blinkers for the first time in a 1 1/8-mile maiden special weight at Saratoga.

But under the patient care of trainer Mark Casse, Enforceable began to unlock his innate potential. As a son of three-time leading sire Tapit, out of the Dixie Union mare Justwhistledixie, Enforceable counts long-winded graded stakes winners New Year’s Day, Mohaymen, and Kingly among his full- or half-siblings. Enforceable has always had the pedigree to succeed, and following his maiden triumph, he seemed to turn a corner.

Enforceable made his stakes debut in the 1 1/16-mile Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland, and while he was no match for runaway winner Maxfield, he rallied mildly down the lane to record a third-place finish. His subsequent fourth-place effort in the 1 1/16-mile Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs could be considered a step backward at first glance, but he was only beaten two lengths over a sloppy track and was gaining ground fast in the final furlong.

This run set the stage for Enforceable’s breakthrough performance in the 1 1/16-mile Lecomte. Reserved in 11th place behind a testing pace, Enforceable rallied strongly on the far turn to seize an advantage early in the stretch. So decisive was his burst of speed, his rivals never had a chance to respond. Enforceable galloped across the finish line 1 1/2 lengths in front and stopped the timer in 1:43.72.

The addition of blinkers surely helped Enforceable turn things around, but his eye-catching progression can also be attributed to maturity. Owned by John Oxley, Enforceable is bred to improve with time and has the stamina-oriented pedigree necessary to be a major factor in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes (G1), the third and final leg of the Triple Crown.

Whether Enforceable can mature quickly enough to challenge in the Kentucky Derby (G1) is another question entirely. Sons of Tapit have thrived in the Belmont, with three wins, but they're winless in 10 Derby tries. The good news is,Enforceable is heading in the right direction, and whether he peaks in May or June, or even later on, he appears to have a bright future.