A full field will head to the gate in Saturday’s $200,000 Lecomte (G3), a one mile and 70-yard test for three-year-olds with aspirations of making it to the Run for the Roses on the first Saturday of May.
The Lecomte is the first of three Road to the Kentucky Derby points races at Fair Grounds. There is 10-4-2-1 points up for grabs toward entry into the Kentucky Derby on May 4 at Churchill Downs.
The race serves as a prep for the $400,000 Risen Star (G2) on Feb. 16 and the $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2) on March 23, both Road to the Kentucky Derby points races.
The Brendan Walsh trained Plus Que Parfait is the 9-2 morning line favorite. He drew a tough post breaking from the 12 and makes his first start since rallying to finish second beaten a neck in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs in the slop.
There is rain in the forecast for Saturday.
There are three in the field that competed in Breeders’ Cup races. War of Will (6-1) ran fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) while still a maiden, then earned his diploma in his next start at Churchill Downs in the slop.
Tight Ten (8-1) had some trouble in his ninth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) while Mr. Money (5-1) outran his odds, checking in fourth in the Juvenile at 41-1.
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The Lecomte is one of six stakes on an outstanding card at Fair Grounds on Saturday. I will include some of the action in Saturday’s Best Plays Report.
Let’s head out to New Orleans for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Fair Grounds Race 12 The Lecomte (G3) Post time 5:49 CT
8 War of Will 6-1
11 Tight Ten 8-1
12 Plus Que Parfait 9-2
3 Tackett 6-1
War of Will
This colt broke his maiden last out in the slop at Churchill Downs in his fifth career start. After a third in his debut on turf this guy took on graded stakes company in his next three starts and was in the mix in each. He was second in the Summer (G1), a close up fourth in the Bourbon and fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1). The colt has worked sharply in the mornings over the main track here including a bullet drill in the slop.
There is rain in the forecast which would suit this guy. He has a solid pedigree, by War Front out of the stakes winner Visions of Clarity ($46,435) who has dropped seven other foals to race with six winners and two stakes winners, top earner Pathfork ($237,871). The colt draws a good post compared to a couple of contenders that are stuck outside and he should get a good tracking trip sitting just off what could be a sharp early pace.
The Steve Asmussen trainee exits the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) where he hit the rail and had to steady and was never a threat in a ninth-place finish. The third, fifth and seventh place finishers came out of the race to win stakes next out. His first three starts were solid, breaking his maiden in his debut and then running second in the Saratoga Special (G2) and Iroquois (G3).
He has enough tactical speed to overcome the outside post. Asmussen won this race in 2008 with Z Fortune and 2002 with Easyfromthegitgo. The colt figures to bounce back here with a better trip and the 8-1 morning liner looks fair enough.
Plus Que Parfait
Trained by Brendan Walsh, the colt graduated at Keeneland by a nose in his third career start and second on dirt. He came back in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs in the slop where he was outrun early and came with a strong late rally to come up just a nose short of catching the winner. The ridgling has moved forward with each outing and he is going to get a good pace set up here and just needs to work out a trip breaking from the 12 post.
WIN: #8 to win at 9-2 or better.
EXACTA: 8,11 / 3,8,11,12
TRIFECTA: 8,11 / 3,8,11,12 / 3,4,8,11,12