A full field of 14 newly turned three-year-olds will line up at Fair Grounds on Saturday for the $200,000 Lecomte (G3) at 1 1/6 miles on the main track.
The race is the first of three Road to the Kentucky Derby points races that will be contested at the New Orleans track this season.
The Lecomte serves as a prep for the $400,000 Risen Star (G2) on Feb. 15 and the $1 million Louisiana Derby (G1) on March 21. The race offers up 10-4-2-1 points toward entry into the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 2.
The Eddie Kenneally trained Scabbard is the lukewarm 7-2 morning line favorite. The colt will break from the four post with Corey Lanerie back aboard.
Jockey Mike Smith rode him in his last outing, a fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Santa Anita last November.
“He didn’t care for the surface too much,” Kenneally said of the colt’s outing in the Breeders’ Cup. “He’s a closer and that track wasn’t playing well to closers that day. He fought on and ran his race and got up for fourth.”
“You never know for certain with these young horses how far they’ll want to go,” Kenneally continued. “With his running style, he seems like the further the distance gets the better he will be. You never know for sure until it happens, but I the way he finished in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile the further the better for him.”
2019 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Replay
Scabbard is currently listed at 50-1 in early Kentucky Derby betting odds at USRacing.
Trainer Steve Asmussen will send out a trio of runners as he seeks his third win in the race. Among the three he saddles it appears that Silver State (5-1) might have the best shot. The colt has just two starts under his belt, missing by a nose against first level optional claimers last out in the slop at Churchill Downs.
The Lecomte is one of six stakes on the 13-race card at Fair Grounds on Saturday.
Let’s head out to Fair Grounds for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Fair Grounds Race 13 The Lecomte (G3) Post time 5:55 CT
10 Enforceable 15-1
9 Silver State 5-1
11 Bango 20-1
4 Scabbard 7-2
This colt is trained by Mark Casse who won this race last year with War of Will and has also entered Lynn’s Way here, but he has stated with the 14 post the latter likely gets scratched. Our top pick caught slop in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) where he was last behind a slow early pace and made up some ground to finish fourth. Two back in his first start against winners he raced near the back of the pack and finished evenly in a third-place finish in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland. He graduated three back going nine furlongs at the Spa. This guy is bred to go long, by Tapit out of the stakes winner Justwhistledixie ($449,427) who has dropped four other winners and three are stakes winners including 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) New Year’s Day ($1.1 million) and multiple graded stakes winner Mohaymen ($998,417). Leparoux picks up the call and he just needs some pace. He has the pedigree to handle a wet track if the rains come.
The Steve Asmussen trainee is one of three in here that will be saddled by this barn. The colt finished in a deadheat when graduating at Churchill Downs going 6 ½ furlongs. He deadheated with Restless Dancer, who came back to win the state bred Louisiana Legacy by 10 ½ lengths in his next start at Delta Downs. The colt stretched out to a mile in his last start, catching a sloppy track where he was sent off as the 9-5 favorite. He stalked the early pace and finished gamely to miss by just a nose in a tough beat. He should get better with more ground, the $450,000 Keeneland purchase is by Hard Spun out of the stakes winner Supreme ($162,789). The colt has worked sharply over the main track here over the last month. Asmussen won this race in 2002 and 2008.
The colt tracked the early pace and was no match for Art Collector who drew off to win by 7 ½ lengths in the slop at Churchill Downs at six furlongs against Alw-1 optional claimers. The colt graduated two back in his fourth career start and now stretches out to two turns for the first time. The Foley barn is 21% winners (with a +ROI) moving runners form sprint to route. The colt is by Congrats out of a Smart Strike mare that has dropped two other winners including stakes winner Eton Ridge ($274,962), a seven-time route winner. He draws a tough post but has enough early zip to overcome it as Pedroza figures to send him. Worth tossing in the mix here at a generous price.