The Lecomte Stakes (G3) represents an early litmus test for those colts that will be vying for points along the Road to the Kentucky Derby. Past winners include, War of Will, Golden Soul, Oxbow, and Hard Spun. The Fair Grounds will once again host a significant prep, and well-known trainers, like Steve Asmussen, Dallas Stewart, Brett Calhoun, Keith Desormeaux (with 2), and Brad Cox have their entries primed and ready.
Now, let’s find out about this field…
#1 Midnight Bourbon (Jky: R. Santana/Trn: S. Asmussen):
Getting to see Midnight Bourbon #1 again after such a layoff will be a welcome sight. Trainer Steve Asmussen took this colt down to FG back in late November, and he has worked well in preparation for this spot. Finishing 3rd, well behind stablemate Jackie’s Warrior in the Belmont Champagne (G1) was a disappointment. Now, we will get to see how his maturity has developed. Big chance with Ricardo Santana aboard.
#2 Arabian Prince (Jky: B. Hernandez/Trn: D. Stewart):
Mshawish has yet to amaze as a sire, but if Arabian Prince #2 could score in the Lecomte (G3), that would go a long way to help Dad’s cause. If there is a North American trainer that can take raw talent and shape it into a winner, it is Dallas Stewart. His stable churns out Derby archetypes. If this colt can improve on that 3rd place finish from the Kentucky Juvenile @CD back in November, it would be another notch in Stewart’s belt. Brian Hernandez will not have it easy in the saddle.
#3 Beep Beep (Jky: J. Talamo/Trn: N. Casse):
It will be interesting over the next 5 years to watch Norm Casse continue to make his name as a trainer, distinctively apart from Father Mark. Here is what we call a foundational moment with his colt Beep Beep #3. Employed by Marylou Whitney Stables, a legendary name in the sport, Casse is entered into some deep waters here. With no Lasix allowed for this race, that 7F MSW85k win right before CD closed its gates in November will be the only weapon at his disposal. Questions abound… is he fast enough? Can Talamo work out a trip? What is his overall level of fitness? Cannot see this one hitting the board.
#4 Proxy (Jky: M. Murrill/Trn: M. Stidham):
Godolphin does not backdown from responsibility when it comes to the sport of Thoroughbred racing; nor does it scrimp when it comes to the quality of the trainers it employs. Mike Stidham for some time has courted the “Boys in Blue,” and he brings one of theirs into the Lecomte (G3). Moving up in class, Proxy #4 has 2-consecutive wins over the track at Fair Grounds. Tick… Murrill Mitchell is riding well. Tick… That last out win was over the same distance as this race. Tick… Looks like this son of the great Tapit has the legs to see this one through. Will he have the heart?
#5 Regular Guy (Jky: M. Mena/Trn: W. Catalano):
The Cat-Man is a formidable trainer, but not quite so much as he used to be. Still, he has the gumption to bring Regular Guy #5 into this one. It is one thing to score your first win in a MSW50k, but quite another to contest this race. I am not sure Miguel Mena has the riding skills to make a difference either. Outside chance to hit the board for this Bernardini runner, at best.
#6 Game Day Play (Jky: G. Saez/Trn: B. Calhoun):
Game Day Play #6 has not seen the oval since late October. However, Brett Calhoun seems convinced that he is ready to re-enter competition. No offense to Remington Park, but those were hardly preps for this spot, especially since the layoff now complicates his level of fitness. Winning by a head last out in a “Non-Graded” affair does not exactly instill confidence. Tough to back this one, when others have accomplished more.
#7 Santa Cruiser (Jky: J. Graham/Trn: K. Desormeaux):
Keith Desormeaux has 2 entered in the Lecomte (G3), and this one, Santa Cruiser #7, is clearly the lesser when it comes to class. Those fractions that he set in that frontend MSW85k bested Regular Guy #5. Now, it is time for some deeper waters. How will he react when up against a large field, and some powerful competition? Remains to be seen. Too tough is my answer.
#8 Red N Wild (Jky: D. Carroll/Trn: T. Eoff):
Red N Wild #8 spent most of his fall at Remington Park for trainer Terry Eoff. Most of those performances resulted in near misses. Last out in the Springboard Mile, there was no chance to catch Todd Fincher’s freight train, Señor Buscador. I am having a tough time seeing how Eoff will have this one ratcheted up for a score. Will be tough for him to hit the board.
#9 Manor House (Jky: A. Bechizza/Trn: M. Stidham):
Here is another MSW racer that destroyed a field last out, but then comes into this race underwater. Maybe Manor House #9, Mike Stidham’s other entry, will be able to get to the lead and hold it. Maybe not. Even with the evidence from that 12-length score at Laurel, that is not enough to make a case here. I would look elsewhere. Value is aplenty.
#10 Mandaloun (Jky: F. Geroux/Trn: B. Cox):
If there is a presumptive favorite, then Brad Cox is holding it. Mandaloun #10 should and will win this race. The Into Mischief colt has all the tools to graduate to the next level. With Florent Geroux aboard, the expert trainer continues to diversify his operations beyond measure. Not needing the front, he can reach a cruising altitude 2-3 off. He only needs a path to the wire. I would expect that he will end up 3 for 3. Then what does his conditioner do? Next…
#11 Dyn O Mite (Jky: C. Hernandez/Trn: K. Desormeaux):
The more accomplished Desormeaux runner, Dyn O Mite #11 has the most experience with 7 races under his belt. Out of the 2 SoCal G1 contests, neither was particularly impressive. He is going to have to muster some strength from within, and Colby Hernandez is to have to work hard to put him in the proper position to score. Maybe the break will be everything. If he misses it, it could be over before the first turn.
Join us Saturday for all of our selections! Should be a great set of races from the Fair Grounds!