Though 15 sophomores were originally entered in Saturday’s $200,000 Lecomte Stakes (G3) at Fair Grounds, a field of 13 appears to be on course to start in the mile-and-70-yard affair that is part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby series of points races.
Wonder Gadot was cross-entered to the Lecomte but is likely to face fellow fillies in the Silverbulletday Stakes a couple of races earlier on the card. Also, it was reported Ciaran, a four-length maiden winner at Keeneland last October, would be scratched from the race by trainer Thomas Morley.
That still leaves a baker’s dozen runners to battle it out for the Lecomte’s offering of 10-4-2-1 points toward a starting berth in the May 5 Kentucky Derby (G1).
Principe Guilherme appears poised to take home the winner’s share of those points while making his stakes bow in this spot. The Steve Asmussen-trained son of Tapit is unbeaten from two starts thus far, breaking his maiden by 6 1/4 lengths last November 10 at Churchill Downs and then capturing an allowance/optional claimer over track and distance a month later by 11 front-running lengths. Florent Geroux was aboard that day and retains the mount in the Lecomte.
Instilled Regard scored a 4 1/4-length victory at Santa Anita Park in his third career start for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and closed his juvenile campaign next out finishing a close third, but placed second via disqualification of another runner, in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) on December 9. The Arch colt makes his first start outside of California in this spot and gets Javier Castellano aboard for the initial time.
Prince Lucky is three-for-four in his career, romping in his debut at Delaware Park by 5 3/4 lengths before going on two races later to take an allowance/optional claimer at Laurel Park and then Parx Racing’s Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes most recently on December 2. The Larry Jones pupil’s only loss came as a third-placing in the First State Dash Stakes at Delaware Park in his second outing. The bay son of Corinthian receives the services of Julien Leparoux for the first time here.
Stablemate and stakes winner Kowboy Karma sandwiched a fourth-place run in the Champagne Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park between runner-up efforts in Monmouth Park’s Sapling Stakes and Laurel Park’s James F. Lewis III Stakes. The Kodiak Kowboy gelding also breezed a bullet five furlongs last week for this event, and sees Brian Hernandez Jr. take over from regular rider Alex Cintron this time around.
Lone Sailor was an 11-length maiden winner in an off-the-turf contest at Saratoga last September, and went on to finish third in Keeneland’s Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and a head second in the Street Sense Stakes at Churchill Downs. The Majestic Warrior bay concluded 2017 with a late rally to be fifth in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) under the Twin Spires. Trainer Tom Amoss has tabbed Miguel Mena to ride.
Believe In Royalty scored maiden and allowance/optional claiming wins at Laurel Park, but tired to sixth, beaten 14 lengths, most recently in the Springboard Mile at Remington Park on December 17. Jockey Robby Albarado stays in the saddle on the Tapit colt, who is the last of Jones’ trio of starters in the Lecomte.
Trainer Steve Margolis saddled Ebben to romp by 4 1/4-lengths last out in a Churchill Downs’ allowance/optional claimer, but the Trappe Shot gelding was well-beaten in three prior stakes tries. Snapper Sinclair didn’t do so bad on the turf, breaking his maiden by four lengths at Saratoga and taking the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Stakes, but was no factor in his one main track effort for Asmussen, who also saddles Zing Zang here after the Tapit colt broke his maiden over track and distance last out on December 16. The Mike Stidham-trained Zeke is two-for-two thanks to a nose and a head, and tries black-type foes for the first time in this spot.
Night Strike earned his initial win in the Don C. McNeill Stakes before running fourth in the Springboard Mile but will have to step up his game to factor. Analyze This Jet appears out of his class against these.
Trigger Warning will draw into the field if Wonder Gadot and Ciaran don’t show up. This is a major class hike for the Candy Ride colt, as he’s been competing at Turf Paradise of late. His only win to date came in a maiden optional claimer before he ran third in the Lost in the Fog Juvenile, both at the Arizona venue.