Les Bon Temps adds NYSS Fifth Avenue to growing resume

Saturday, December 17th, 2022

Les Bon Temps wins second straight stakes in Saturday’s Fifth Avenue division of the NYSS. Susie Raisher/NYRA Photo.

Les Bon Temps delivered as the favorite and significantly padded her bankroll with a victory in Saturday’s $500,000 Fifth Avenue division of the New York Stallion Series Stakes at Aqueduct.

The 2-year-old daughter of the late Laoban, upset winner of the Maid of the Mist Stakes on Empire Showcase Day in late October during the Belmont at the Big A meeting, won the 7-furlong Fifth Avenue as the 6-5 favorite in the field of 10 under Jose Lezcano. Owned by Deuce Greathouse, Cindy Hutson and Brett Setzer and trained by Mike Maker, Les Bon Temps improved to 3-for-6 with two thirds with $462,260 in earnings.

Bred by Southern Equine Stables, foaled at Irish Hill Century Farm in Stillwater and out of the unraced Tapizar mare Winsanity, Les Bon Temps was purchased by Greathouse and Pura Vida Racing for $65,000 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October yearling sale.

“She was a big, pretty filly,” Greathouse said of his first impressions of Les Bon Temps at the October sale. “People like Laoban. She didn’t have that huge, flowing walk at the yearling sale that everybody pays the real money for. If she had a big walk, she probably would have brought $125,000 or $150,000, but she just didn’t want to walk and that turned a lot of people off, I think, right away. Obviously, that doesn’t affect her running.”

Lezcano was content to let Les Bon Temps run seventh early as Gulfstream Park maiden winner Forces Sweetheart clicked off the opening quarter-mile in :22.86 ahead of Central Speed, Small Pebbles and Fema Funds.

Les Bon Temps inched up to fifth after a half in :46.92 as Forces Sweetheart continued to lead and Sweet Liberty ranged up on the outside. Sweet Liberty appeared poised to roll by the field until she bore out badly on the turn, all while Les Bon Temps continued to make progress toward the lead.

Midtown Lights came away with the lead in the stretch, just ahead of Little Linzee but couldn’t hold off Les Bon Temps inside the eighth pole. Les Bon Temps took over at the sixteenth pole and won by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:27.28 over the muddy and sealed main track. Midtown Lights held second, 1 3/4 lengths ahead of Little Linzee with Dream on Cara fourth.

“With this kind of filly, you have to use her,” Lezcano said. “You have to keep her in position. 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 made her first three starts for Norm Casse before being transferred to Maker, who prepped the filly for her New York startings out his Belmont Park barn.

Les Bon Temps finished third in her first start for Maker, beaten just 2 1/2 lengths in the Joseph A. Gimma in late September before her victory in the Maid of the Mist. She won her debut May 26 at Churchill Downs going 5 furlongs in the slop before a third to presumptive Eclipse Award winner Wonder Wheel in the Debutante and a fourth in the Seeking the Ante on Saratoga Showcase Day in late August.

“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.”

Les Bon Temps is the second foal out of Winsanity, who also produced the winning New York-bred 3-year-old Bodemeister gelding The Man to See, and a yearling full brother to the Maid of the Mist winner and a weanling New York-bred filly by Honest Mischief foaled March 1. The latter two foals were bred by Cypress Creek Equine.

Greathouse applauded the Stallion Series and hinted that Les Bon Temps could show up in some other top New York races after the New Year.

“It’s a great program they’ve put together and I wish there were more of these New York sire races,” Greathouse said. “We’re going to see what Mike says. At some point she deserves a chance [at open company]. She broke her maiden in open company. So, I don’t know, maybe the Busanda [January 14] or the Busher [March 4]. We’ll see what Mike says. Two turns is going to be her friend.”

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