We are back on the Kentucky Derby trail this week as we visit The Fairgrounds for the G3 $200,000 LeComte Stakes. The race is scheduled to be run around 2 turns at 1 mile and 70 yards with a full field of 14. However, at the time of this writing, the #3, Wonder Gadot has not been scratched but I fully expect this filly to run with girls in the Silverbulletday Stakes on Saturday, not in the LeComte. This should leave 13 runners who will compete for the purse money as well as Kentucky Derby points (10-4-2-1).
The Fairgrounds strip has been running with a decent front end bias in these 2 turn routes. While being on the lead has captured 9 of the last 29, I haven’t been able to find a race where a closer came from the back of the pack so I will concentrate on front runners and stalkers this week.
The most accomplished youngster in this field in terms of pace is the #10, Instilled Regard. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer this colt was right there on a wicked pace in the G1 Los Alamitos Futurity, beaten only ¾’s of a length. 2nd place finisher, McKinzie, has already come back to win the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita last week.
Morning line 5/2 favorite Principe Guilherme has had the lead in his first 2 career races and won both easily, but against much softer competition. His early speed figures are competitive with his field but not dominant. It will be interesting to see if this colt guns for the lead from his #12 post or if trainer Steve Asmussen uses this race to see if this horse can settle early and still perform late.
And then we have a longshot hopeful who should be near the front going into the firs turn. #2, Snapper Sinclair is another Steve Asmussen trainee, and he is coming off of a poor turf outing but has posted some of the best early speed figures in the field, albeit on the turf. While I don’t expect him to be there late, he should impact early pace.
The horse I landed on this week is the aforementioned #10, Instilled Regard. He has posted the best speed figure in the field, and his run in the Los Alamitos Futurity was filled with trouble. This race was also a big step forward for him which is exactly what I look for in these youngsters. Hot pace, bumping, 3 wide, and between horses are all enough to make me give him a chance. This week he will garner the services of Javier Castellano, so I will look for the 4-1 morning line odds and hope for the best.