Lecomte Stakes 2020: Odds and analysis for Saturday's race

January 11, 2020 05:21pm
Lecomte Stakes 2020: Odds and analysis for Saturday's race
Photo: Courtesy of NYRA

Louisiana's road to the 2020 Kentucky Derby begins next Saturday with the Grade 3, $200,000 Lecomte Stakes, which will run at the lengthened distance of a mile and a sixteenth at the Fair Grounds Race Course. Derby qualifying points [10-4-2-1] will be awarded to the top four finishers.

A full field of 14 was drawn and includes a trio of 3-year-olds trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, who frequently has multiple entries in the early Kentucky Derby prep races. But it's worth noting that Asmussen has not won the Lecomte since 2008.

There is some history of success in the Triple Crown races from past Lecomte winners. Last year, War of Will went on run seventh in the Kentucky Derby and followed that with a victory in the Preakness. In, 2013 Oxbow took the Lecomte, won the Preakness and ran second in the Belmont Stakes. Hard Spun was the 2007 winner and he went on run second in the Derby, third in the Preakness and fourth in the Belmont.

Here's an early look at this year's field with the projected morning line prepared by Horse Racing Nation. The Lecomte is slated as the last of 13 on the card with post time scheduled for 6:55 p.m. ET.

Finnick the Fierce [ML 10-1 – Dialed In – R. Hernandez/S. Leon – 3: 1-1-0 - $82,890] The April foal was a debut winner of a maiden race at Indiana Grand going five furlongs in June. He returned to the races to run fourth in a November allowance race at Churchill Downs. Trainer Rey Hernandez brought him back in three weeks in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) to run second from off the pace at odds of 87-1 on a sloppy track. Was that a fluke? Use underneath.

Mr. Monomoy [ML 8-1 – Palace Malice – B. Cox/F. Geroux – 3: 1-1-0 - $67,162] This son of Palace Malice sold for $60,000 as a yearling and then for $202,000 as a 2-year-old. He won his second start at Churchill Downs by more than five lengths as an odds-on favorite and then was beaten by a head in an allowance by Lynn’s Map. Connections wonder about distance limitations, but he has speed. Use underneath.

Perfect Star [ML 30-1 – Into Mischief – S. Gelner/R. Albarado – 4: 2-0-0 - $68,523] He will make his Derby trail debut while switching from turf to dirt. The son of Into Mischief, who sold for $100,000 as a yearling and dropped to $20,000 when pinhooked the following year, is a recent local allowance winner. The first race of his career did come on the main track at Keeneland. Toss.

Scabbard [ML 4-1 – More Than Ready – E. Kenneally/C. Lanerie – 4: 1-2-0 - $232,848] With second-place finishes in the Saratoga Special (G2) and Iroquois (G3) and a fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, this Eddie Kenneally trainee has the type of graded stakes experience lacking in the past performances of most rivals here. Win contender.

Excession [ML 15-1 – Union Rags – S. Asmussen/R. Santana Jr. – 6: 1-0-3 - $82,612] The Calumet Farm runner has already made six starts that include a maiden victory in his fifth try at Churchill Downs followed by a third-place finish in a Fair Grounds allowance behind Lynn’s Map and Mr. Monomoy. Asmussen appears to have better shots elsewhere. Trifecta finish possible.

New Eagle [ML 30-1 – Street Boss – M. Maker/G. Saez – 4: 1-1-0 - $33,950] This bargain yearling purchase of $27,000 finished fifth in the Kentucky Jockey Club after needing three tries to break his maiden, with the graduation happening on the Indiana Grand turf back in October. Toss.

Halo Again [ML 3-1 – Speightstown – S. Asmussen/J. Talamo – 2: 2-0-0 - $137,735] This $600,000 yearling purchase was a debut winner at Churchill Downs by more than four lengths going seven furlongs in October. An Ontario-bred, he then ventured to Woodbine for the Coronation Futurity and won by re-rallying up the rail. That makes him one of just two in this flight with a stakes victory. Win contender.

Jack the Umpire [ML 15-1 – Bodemeister – B. Brinkman/S. Bridgmohan – 4: 3-0-0 - $102,800] The other stakes winner, Jack the Umpire was a Delaware Park debut winner in July. His lone career loss came at Monmouth Park in the Sapling Stakes when he ran last throughout. After a move to Delta Downs, the son of Bodemeister won and allowance and then took the Jean Lafitte Stakes going a mile while leading every step of the way. Use underneath.

Silver State [ML 15-1 – Hard Spun – S. Asmussen/R. Santana Jr. – 2: 1-1-0 - $56,106] Like his stablemate Halo Again, he was a high-priced yearling purchase at $450,000. In his September debut at Churchill, he raced on the lead ending up in a dead-heat for the win while far ahead of the rest of the field. Asmussen opted to bring him back in a mile allowance over the same track. He lost a head bob for the top spot after stalking the pace. Board hitter.

Enforceable [ML 5-1 – Tapit – M. Casse/J. Leparoux – 6: 1-1-2 - $147,150] This son of Tapit is the best-bred colt in the field and is out of the Dixie Union mare Justwhistledixie who also produced New Year’s Day, the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner and the sire of Maximum Security, as well as Mohaymen, who was fourth in 2016 Kentucky Derby. Enforceable sold for $775,000 as a yearling and broke his maiden in August at Saratoga in his fourth start. With a third in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and the a fourth in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2), he is the only horse in the field any Derby qualifying points. With six starts, Enforceable is plenty experienced posted his win at nine furlongs; distance won't be a problem. Top choice.

Bango [ML 30-1 – Congrats – G. Foley/M. Pedroza – 5: 1-2-1 - $97,812] He broke his maiden in his fourth start in a six-furlong race at Churchill when he dueled with the favorite and took control to win by 3 ½ lengths at odds of 2.20-1. At the end of November, on a sloppy track, he was a distant second as the favorite when facing winners. Toss.

Shashashakemeup [ML 15-1 – Shackleford – J. K. Desormeaux/J. Graham – 2: 1-0-0 - $34,760] He was a well-bet debut winner of a seven-furlong maiden special weight at Churchill Downs by more than five lengths. Trainer Keith Desormeaux brought him at the Fair Grounds to run fourth in the Sugar Bowl Stakes after a less-than-ideal-start. This is still somewhat of a class test, as that first out victory was restricted to horses that sold or RNA's under $45,000. Use Underneath.

Sycamore Run [ML 15-1 – Street Sense – J. Sharp/A. Beschizza – 1: 1-0-0 - $27,000] The $175,000 yearling purchase won his December debut at the Fair Grounds in front-running fashion against a field of 11 by more than three lengths at odds of 4-1. The Joe Sharp trainee will have to stretch out to two turns here for the first time. Board hitter.

Lynn’s Map [ML 6-1 – Liam’s Map – M. Casse/M. Mena – 3: 2-0-1 - $91,512] After running third in his debut at Churchill Downs, the $270,000 yearling purchase broke his maiden at the Louisville track against a full field while running a mile. Trainer Mark Casse sent him right back in a two-turn allowance at the Fair Grounds, where he won by a head defeating two horses that are in this field. Post position will hurt his chances. Win contender.

: These early races on the Kentucky Derby trail often serve as an opportunity for the connections of newly turned 3-year-olds to test whether their horses are viable contenders for the Run for the Roses. With an inexperienced field of 14, that includes only two stakes winners and three others that have run in a graded stakes, the Lecomte is a wide-open race.

For betting purposes, I have divided the field into three groups: win contenders, those that have a chance to finish in the top three, and the ones that shouldn’t be used. Use some of the horses from the top two groups to make some trifecta tickets, because there figures to be plenty of big prices and no decisive favorite.


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