Which Kentucky Derby hopeful should I bet in the Lecomte?
A field of 14 sophomores will travel 1 1/16 miles in the $200,000 Lecomte (G3) at Fair Grounds on Saturday. The finale of a superb 13-race card attracted some excellent prospects vying for points on the 2020 Road to the Kentucky Derby series. The top four finishers in the Lecomte will receive points on a 10-4-2-1 scale.
Conditioner Steve Asmussen will send a trio of contenders to post in the headliner, and I will tab one of his entries for success. The unbeaten Halo Again, who took the Coronation Futurity at Woodbine in his juvenile finale, makes his three-year-old debut in the Lecomte and is the Expert Pick of the Week.
The expensive $600,000 yearling purchase was a daylight winner at first asking at Churchill Downs in October, drawing off to a comfortable 4 1/4-length score while going seven furlongs. Sent north of the border for his second assignment, the son of Speightstown made a late surge to post a head win over a solid cast after appearing to be defeated in the stretch.
Halo Again has since posted a quartet of morning drills at Fair Grounds, with a smart five-furlong move most recently among them. The bay colt draws well in the huge field and has the versatility to race anywhere early under new pilot Joe Talamo.
The Ontario-bred is a half-brother to the multiple stakes-winning filly Inflexibility, who is classic-placed against the boys. His second dam is a full sister to exquisite two-time champion Ashado, as well as Grade 1 hero Sunriver.
Halo Again has the looks, pedigree and human connections to be a prime player on the 2020 Road to the Kentucky Derby challenge series. He has displayed talent, versatility, and heart, to this stage of his development, and the colt will improve with additional experience.
In the Lecomte, a solid pace should help the stalker sit a fine trip during the opening stages, and Halo Again will get first run on the deep closing types at the top of the lane. The Winchell Thoroughbreds and Willis Horton color bearer will be formidable with clear sailing throughout the stretch.
I am siding with Halo Again to win the Lecomte Stakes as the Best Bet of the Week.