NEW ORLEANS, LA – OXO Equine LLC’s Instilled Regard injected himself into the conversation of top 3-year-olds after his impressive performance in Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 LeComte Stakes at Fair Grounds.
Off briskly from post 10 under Javier Castellano, Instilled Regard sat three- and four-wide off of the pace set by Believe in Royalty through opening fractions of :23.48 and :47.52. Ranging up on the far turn, Instilled Regard made his bid at the 1/4-pole and took command shortly after hitting the top of the stretch. Now clear of his rivals, Instilled Regard kicked away to win convicingly by 3 3/4 lengths in a final time of 1:42.59.
“I didn’t want to dictate the pace it was only his third time going two turns,” Castellano said. “He put himself in good track position. “I could’ve gone to the whip and I didn’t want people chasing me. I wanted to save it for the finish. He’s a great horse and he’s got a great mind and I like the way that he conducted himself.”
The favored Principe Guilherme found himself locked in a tight stretch battle for second, ultimately overcoming Snapper Sinclair by a neck at the wire. Zing Zang rallied from last past tired foes to take fourth, a 1/2-length ahead of Kowboy Karma. Sixth went to Ebben, while Prince Lucky won the three-way photo for seventh over Night Strike and Lone Sailor. The rest of the order came Zeke, Analyze This Jet, Believe in Royalty, and Trigger Warning. Two horses scratched, Ciaran and Wonder Gadot, with the latter opting to run in the $150,000 Silverbulletday Stakes against fillies earlier on the card.
The LeComte is part of the Road to the 2018 Kentucky Derby prep race season. Instilled Regard earned 10 points for the win, with Principe Guilherme receiving 4 for second, Snapper Sinclair 2 for third, and Zing Zang 1 for fourth.
Instilled Regard’s win improved his record to 5-2-2-0 following a close second in the controversial Grade 1 Los Alamitos Futurity. The Jerry Hollendorfer-trained son of Arch, purchased last March for $1,050,000, now has career earnings of $228,000.
“I’m very grateful to be here,” Hollendorfer said. “I talked it over with (owner Larry Best) and we came up with the decision to bring him to the Fair Grounds mostly because it was Larry’s idea and it was a good idea as we can see it worked out. We haven’t been around here much but it was a good race to run in and the time was good, too. The best thing about him other than his raw talent is that nothing bothers him. He ships well and settles in wherever he goes.”
Instilled Regard returned $6.60 to win, $3.20 to place, and $3 to show. Principe Guilherme brought back $3.20 to place and $2.80 to show, while Snapper Sinclair paid $9.60 to show.