Best Bet – #2 and #2B Dan and Sheila and Z Dager
Best Longshot – #3 Ted’s Folly
Top 4 – 2,3,5,4
About the Race: The Grade 3, $175,000 Lecomte Stakes kicks off the road to the Kentucky Derby, with 13 three-year olds taking a shot at getting some ever important graded earnings. The race has drawn a wide open field, with many question marks. This will be used as a stepping stone towards next months $300,000 Risen Star Stakes, and the $1 million Louisiana Derby on April 1. The Fair Grounds always produces one or two legit Kentucky Derby threats, so this one is definitely one to keep an eye on.
1. Adena’s Chance (FL) – They’re pretty much just taking a shot in the dark with this one. His only wins have come at the claiming level, and he’s had plenty of chances to prove he belongs in this spot.
1A. Hero of Order (KY) – Much like Adena’s Chance, it’s hard to imagine this one has any chance, although his last race he did win a maiden special weight by 5 lengths. Maybe this horse is a late bloomer, but I’d steer clear until he proves he belongs with this kind of competition.
2. Dan and Sheila (KY) – Two things tell me this horse should be the favorite in this race. First, Todd Pletcher’s top rider, Johnny Velazquez has committed to ride this one. That shows me that he thinks this horse could be a good one. Second, Pletcher claims this horse is “knocking down the barn” and ready to run. His maiden race was pretty impressive, and I look for Dan and Sheila to take his first step towards Kentucky.
2B. Z Dager (KY) – Anytime Steve Asmussen sends one out at The Fair Grounds, you have to respect it. The fact that Z Dager is coupled with Dan and Sheila makes it that much better! Z Dager is just a maiden winner, but we’ve all seen how 3 year old’s can progress under Asmussen. Look at this horse like an insurance plan. If he wasn’t coupled you probably wouldn’t bet him, but since he is you can’t go wrong.
3. Ted’s Folly (OK) – What is the deal with Oklahoma breds so far this year? Now I Know is a perfect 6 for 6 on the filly side of things, and Ted’s Folly has won 6 in a row as well, including the $300,000 Springboard Mile at Remington Park. The fact that he’s 10-1 on the morning line is laughable, and I wouldn’t expect to get that kind of price on him. However, the price will be decent and there is no question he can win. If he gets a decent pace to run at, Ted’s Folly could easily make it 7 for 7, and become the most unlikely of candidates for the Kentucky Derby.
4. Mr. Bowling (KY) – Larry Jones takes his first shot of the year at the Derby with Mr. Bowling, a horse that has shown some talent. He last raced in the Iroquois Stakes at Churchill where he finished a disappointing third. I expect improvement off that race, but I’m not sure he’s talented enough to take home all the money, although I wouldn’t leave him off your superfecta ticket.
5. Exfactor (KY) – This is one I’ve been very high on ever since I saw him last summer at Churchill. The horse hasn’t done much wrong, and has already won two stakes races in his career, including the Grade 3 Bashford Manor. The distance is the only unknown with him. He’s only raced at 6 furlongs so far so this will be his first test past that distance. If he likes to go longer, he’s a legit threat to win.
6. Seven Lively Sins (KY) – Much like Steve Asmussen, Al Stall must always be respected at the Fair Grounds. Seven Lively Sins is not one of my favorites in this race though. He’s ran in two races against similar completion, and has fallen short in both of those. He’s got a shot to hit the board, but would be surprised if he wins it.
7. Alexander Thegreat (KY) – He looks to be overmatched in this one. His last race was a win in a maiden special weight, but the field was short and not all that talented. It would be a huge shocker if he made any noise in this race.
8. Hammers Terror (KY) – Here is the horse that could really mess up everyone’s exotic bets. Hammers Terror has won his last two with relative ease, and looks to be a colt that is on the rise. When you look at his PP’s it’s hard to rank him higher than some of the others in this race, but this is the type of horse that can jump up and steal a 3-year-old race. Very dangerous!
9. Chalybeate Springs (KY) – Who knows what D Wayne Lukas is thinking with this one? Just last Saturday, Chalybeate Springs broke his maiden at Oaklawn, but it was anything but impressive. Now, a week later, he has entered him in this race. I would think of him as the longest of long shots in here. Over his long career Lukas has been known to pull off some surprises, but it won’t happen here.
10. Capetown Devil (KY) – He’s 3 for 3 and you have to like the steps trainer David Carroll has taken with him; brining him along nice and slow. Now he gets a real class test, but he’s passed every test up to this point. I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s a factor in this one, but the outside post and step up in class is too much for me to put him in my top 4.
11. Shared Property (KY) – This one looks to be a bit over-rated in my opinion. The outside post won’t do him any favors, and I didn’t really like his last race in The Breeders Futurity at Keeneland. Plus, this will be his first start on a dirt track. All those factors don’t add up to much good in my opinion.