Sunshine Millions, LeComte at Fair Grounds Highlight Betting Action

A field of nine line up in the $200,000 LeComte at Fair Grounds

There is plenty of solid horse racing betting action coming up on Saturday including the Sunshine Millions at Gulfstream Park and the Road to the Derby Kickoff Day at Fair Grounds which features a trio of stakes.

There are six stakes worth a total of $1.3 million on the 11-race card at Gulfstream Park on Saturday including a rematch of last year’s top two finishers in the Classic, Mucho Macho Man and Ron the Greek.

The marquee event at Fair Grounds is the Grade 3 $200,000 LeComte, which will be worth a $120,000 payday to the winner along with ten points in the Kentucky Derby point’s standings.

The LeComte serves as a prep for the other key Kentucky Derby preps at Fair Grounds, the Risen Star on Feb. 23 and the Louisiana Derby on March 30.

The Woodbine invader Avie’s Quality is the 5-2 morning line favorite in the field of nine. The Josie Carroll trainee is coming off a victory in the Display Stakes over the polytrack at Woodbine on Dec. 1.

The Larry Jones trained Mark Valeski is the headliner in the $100,000 Louisiana Handicap, which drew a field of eight that will go 1 1/16 miles on the main track in the first of the three stakes on the card.

The colt makes his first start since winning the Grade 2 Peter Pan at Belmont Park last May. The colt ran well on the Fair Grounds racetrack in runner up finishes in the Grade 2 Risen Star and Louisiana Derby last year.

A field of 11 three-year-old fillies will line up in the $125,000 Silverbulletday in the race preceding the LeComte.

Trainer Bret Calhoun sends out the 3-1 morning line favorite Gal About Town, who was second in the Grade 2 Golden Rod last November at Churchill Downs, and also will saddle Woodbine invader Ciao Bella Luna, who is 8-1 on the morning line.

Saturday’s Best Plays Report includes my strongest plays from Aqueduct, the six stakes making up the Sunshine Millions from Gulfstream Park, and the stakes action from Fair Grounds.

Let’s head out to Fair Grounds for Saturday’s featured race of the day:


Fair Grounds Race 10 The LeComte G3 (Post time 4:55 CT)

6 Avie’s Quality   5-2

4 Oxbow   8-1

3 Fear the Kitten   8-1

8 Circle Unbroken   7-2

Analysis: Avie’s Quality is one of two stakes winners in the field here, a winner of the Display Stakes at Woodbine and earning the top last out speed fig in the effort. Two runners have come out of that race to run back including Sky Commander, who came back to run second at Tampa Bay Downs in the Pasco. The colt makes his first start on conventional diet here for the Carroll barn. The colt has a decent pedigree, by Elusive Quality out of stakes winner Fly for Avie ($508,117).

Oxbow was a good looking maiden winner two back at Churchill Downs going seven furlongs and then shipped west for the CashCall Futurity (G1). The colt drew a bum post, tracked the early pace while wide and weakened to finish fourth. He is back on dirt here and owns solid early and mid pace numbers. Four of these are stretching out from a sprint but this guy should be right in the mix early.

Fear the Kitten was a sharp claim for $40,000 out of his debut win. he came right back to beat Alw-2L foes and then made a mild late run to finish fourth in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs. Now he makes his first start for the maker barn that is 23% winners (with a +ROI) with newcomers to the barn.


WIN: #6 to win at 2-1 or better.

EX: 4,6 / 3,4,6,8

TRI: 4,6 / 3,4,6,8 / 1,3,4,6,8


Michael Dempsey provides his full card handicapping report each racing day from New York. His Aqueduct Report is available every day Wednesday through Sunday. Michael has covered the New York circuit daily for more than two decades.


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