Eclipse Award-winning trainer Steve
Asmussen is the conditioner of two 3-year-olds considered probable at this
time for next Saturday’s Grade III Lecomte Stakes, first leg of Fair
Grounds’ three-tiered sophomore series that culminates with the 97th running of
the Grade II Louisiana Derby March 27.
A field of about seven is expected for
the $100,000 Lecomte, contested at a mile and 40 yards Jan. 27 as the kickoff
of Fair Grounds’ Road to The Derby, and the local 3-year-old fixture is
to be followed by the Grade II Risen Star Stakes at 1 1/16-miles
The series concludes with the Louisiana
Derby on the last Saturday in March, with its new increased purse of $750,000
as well as its new distance of nine furlongs. As the centerpiece event of the New Orleans
racing season, the Louisiana Derby will be contested five weeks prior to the
Asmussen, defending trainer champion at
Fair Grounds, has indicated that Third Street Partners’ Depaul as well
as Bob Zollars and Mark Wagner’s Letsgetitonmon will be his Lecomte
Depaul, a son of Dixieland Band who
broke his maiden by 5 1/ 4-lengths last Aug. 29 at Calder, returned to
competition at Fair Grounds Jan. 3 and ran seventh after the layoff of more
than four months in an allowance optional claiming race. However, the colt
breezed five furlongs in 1:03.20 at the local oval on Wednesday.
Letsgetitonmon, by Maria’s Mon, also
breezed five-eighths here Wednesday in 1:03.20 after closing fast to finish
third in that same allowance optional claiming race with Depaul. The gray had
previously run fifth in Churchill’s $60,000 Grand Canyon Handicap over the Louisville
lawn despite bobbling at the start.
Priscilla Graham’s Turf Melody,
third in Arlington’s
$50,000 Spectacular Bid Stakes Aug. 8 and third in Woodbine’s $150,000 Swynford
Stakes Sept. 13, most recently won Remington’s $200,000 Springboard Mile Dec.
13 and is easily the most experiences of the Lecomte probables. Another Maria’s
Mon colt, Turf Melody, trained by Graham Motion, breezed five furlongs
in 1:05 Friday morning at Fair Hill training center in Maryland.
Also being pointed for the Lecomte is
Winmore LLC’s Cool Bullet, winner of Fair Grounds’ $60,000 Sugar Bowl
Stakes in his last start Dec. 19 and one of several Steve Margolis
trainees projected as possible Louisiana Derby hopefuls. Cool Bullet, by past
Preakness winner Red Bullet, breezed six furlongs in 1:16 Thursday.
Others probable for the Lecomte include
Jack Hammer’s Ron the Greek, fourth in Remington’s Springboard Mile.
That Florida homebred, trained by nine-time Fair Grounds trainer champion Tom
Amoss, worked five furlongs over the local oval in 1:02.80 Friday morning.
Estrorace Stable’s Workin for Hops, trained by Mike Stidham, won
his last start in an allowance optional claiming race over Fair Grounds
Stall-Wilson turf course by four and a half lengths Dec. 28. Gary and Mary West
Stables’ Callide Valley, absent since a fifth-place finish in the Grade
II Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Nov. 28, worked five furlongs
handily in 1:01.60 at Palm Meadows Friday morning.
Reminder: Fair Grounds Saturday Post
Time Change to 12:40 p.m.
Fair Grounds racing fans are reminded
that beginning this weekend, Saturday and Sunday first race post times will be
12:40 p.m., and first post on weekdays will be at 1:10 p.m.