The Road to the Kentucky Derby via the bayou gets underway on Saturday with a competitive field lining up in the $200,000 Lecomte (G3) at Fair Grounds.
An outbreak of the equine herpesvirus at Fair Grounds has prevented horses from shipping in or out of the track, and the weather looks lousy with rain in the forecast, but a dozen were entered and 11 are expected to start.
Trainer Dallas Stewart said he likely will scratch Saint’s Fan (5-1) after the colt drew the outside 12 post.
The Steve Asmussen trained Untrapped is the 9-2 morning line favorite but there are several runners in the field that could end up the betting favorite by post time.
The Lecomte offers up 10-4-2-1 points toward entry into the Run for the roses as part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby points races and is the first of three Derby points races at the New Orleans track.
The race serves as a starting point, with the $400,000 Risen Star (G2) coming up on Feb. 25 and the $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2) on April 1.
Two that started in last year’s Lecomte made it to the Run for the Roses—Destin was sixth and Mo Tom was eighth. Oxbow won the 2013 Lecomte and took down the Preakness Stakes (G1) later that spring.
The last two winners of the Lecomte exited the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs. The lone runner in this year’s Lecomte field to exit that race is Shareholder Value (6-1), who was sixth and then beat Alw-1 optional claimers in his most recent start.
Let’s head out to the Fair Grounds for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Fair Grounds Race 11 The Lecomte (G3) Post time 5:00 CT
9 Running Mate 10-1
8 Guest Suite 5-1
5 Untrapped 9-2
3 Totality 12-1
Running Mate was sent off as the 2-5 chalk last out in the Sugar Bowl here going six furlongs after two big wins to start off his career. He tracked the early pace came in and interfered with a foe nearing the 3/16’s and finished with interest for the runner up spot, unbale to get to the winner in the stretch and then getting DQ’d to third.
He won his first two career starts by a combined 13 ¾ lengths and has enough pedigree to handle the stretch out. He is by Creative Cause out of a Street Cry mare, her first foal to race. Three bullet works on the morning tab for Larry Jones. From 2-5 last out to 10-1 today, I’ll take it. He has a decent enough off track pedigree.
Guest Suite was a decent third two back in his stakes debut in the Street Sense at Churchill Downs going a one turn mile. The winner of that race was the highly regarded McCraken, who came back to win the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs in his next outing on Nov. 26.
Next out our second choice dropped in to facer Alw-1 optional claimers going a mile at Churchill Downs and trounced the field by 6 ¼ lengths. He popped a bullet work over the main track here on Jan. 18. By Quality Road out of a Ghostzapper mare, her first foal to race, the two turns should not pose a problem.
Untrapped faces winners and two turns for the first time here as one of three sent out by the Asmussen barn. The colt ran second to Uncontested in his debut, that runner winning the Smarty Jones on Monday at Oaklawn Park.
Last out he graduated in his second career start, drawing away to win by 5 ¼ lengths. The two turns is the only question mark. Asmussen is 15% winners moving runners from sprint to route.
WIN: Running Mate to win at 5-1 or better.
EXACTA: 8,9 / 3,5,8,9
TRIFECTA: 8,9 / 3,5,8,9 / 3,4,5,8,9
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