Barring any defections due to injuries and such, the Kentucky Derby (G1) leaderboard will remain static for a couple weeks following last Saturday’s $200,000 Lecomte (G3) at Fair Grounds.

Contested at one mile and 70 yards, the Lecomte had a field of 11 all looking to earn their first Derby eligibility points and thus make their initial splash on the leaderboard. As it turned out, only the winning Guest Suite, who earned 10 points, wriggled his way into the top 20.

The 5-2 favorite, Guest Suite relished the mud and maintained a perfect mark around two turns winning the Lecomte for trainer Neil Howard and jockey Robby Albarado, both of whom have won a Preakness (G1) but never the Derby.

One of seven on the board with 10 points, Guest Suite currently checks in at #11 having the smallest amount of non-restricted stakes earnings among those with a similar point total.

Untrapped, a solid second in the Lecomte, just missed cracking the top 20 due to having lower career earnings than Bonus Points. It’s still very early for the Steve Asmussen trainee, who might join Guest Suite in next month’s Risen Star (G2), also at Fair Grounds.

Though there is a hiatus from Derby preps the weekend of January 28-29, they return fast and furious on February 4 with the Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream, the Withers (G3) at Aqueduct, and the Robert B. Lewis (G3) at Santa Anita.

The Holy Bull will mark the anticipated return to action of newly-crowned juvenile champion Classic Empire, who will seek to add another 10 points to his leaderboard-topping total of 30.


(Amanda Hodges Weir/Hodges Photography)