Let’s head to the Fair Grounds for the G3 Lecomte Stakes, the first of the Derby preps in New Orleans this winter. Principe Guilherme, perfect in two starts for trainer Steve Asmussen, heads the field.
Previously – Preview of today’s Jerome at Aqueduct.
There are likely a few changes from the original group drawn last week.
#1 Lone Sailor (15-1) – He adds blinkers for trainer Tom Amoss which might help as he’s been too far back in two of his last three races. He also should get a pretty strong pace to attack in this spot. That being said, he’s been in some faster-paced races already and his best speed figure was earned in a sloppy-track off-the-turf race. He should be a big price that gets some pace though, so he’ll be a part of the play.
#2 Snapper Sinclair (20-1) – He’s a solid turf horse that tries dirt here. The siblings seem to be a little better on grass. He could be a pace factor but look for him on the grass later in the year, not today on the dirt.
#3 Wonder Gadot (6-1) – Expected to scratch.
#4 Analyze This Jet (30-1) – None of his dirt races have been remotely good enough.
#5 Kowboy Karma (6-1) – Larry Jones has a pretty strong hand in this race, including this horse. He’s a late-runner that should benefit from the expected strong pace. Last time in the Lewis, going six furlongs, he ran well behind an impressive wire to wire winner, though he was 2-5 in there. In the Champagne, he put in a good run but was aided by the pace in there. He’s logical but we prefer others.
#6 Believe In Royalty (15-1) – This son of Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can comes here after a 6th place finish in the Springboard Mile at Remington. He sat off the pace that day, made the first move to attack the pace, and then flattened out late. I wish he hung in there a little better into the lane than he did though. Plus, his best figure came from setting a very slow pace.
#7 Night Strike (30-1) – Bret Calhoun’s runner might benefit from the fast pace but hasn’t run a race that makes him competitive. He did have trouble in the first turn of the Springboard Mile last time and passed a few later in an effort that was probably better than it looks though it’s hard to see how that gets him into the exacta here.
#8 Zing Zang (15-1) – He put in a big close to break his maiden last time and is another that might benefit from a fast pace in this race. Two of the first three horses in his last race were deep closers, however, and he might want even more ground than this.
#9 Zeke (15-1) – He won his maiden in an off-the-turf race and then took a turf allowance race last time. He’s by Gio Ponti out of an El Prado dam and improved on grass, so we’d prefer him on that surface.
#10 Instilled Regard (4-1) – He ran pretty well in the G1 Los Al Futurity last time behind McKinzie, who returned to win the Sham last week. He’ll be forwardly ridden by Javier Castellano today from an outside post and could be in a tricky spot with Principe Guilherme drawn just to his outside. Still, his Los Al Futurity is the best race run by anyone in this race to date, and if Castellano can take him just back, and let the favorite clear, he should be in a pretty good position just behind the pace. Considering the company he kept last time, he’s our pick.
#11 Ciaran (30-1) – Expected to scratch.
#12 Principe Guilherme (5-2) – This speedy son of Tapit (out of G1 winning sprinter Aubby K) is 2-2 with a pair of wire to wire wins for Steve Asmussen. He’ll be sent hard by Florent Geroux from this outside post but could be fast enough to clear. While he’ll be pressed by a stronger group of runners than he’s been facing, it might not matter.
#13 Prince Lucky (8-1) – Coming out of sprints and with an outside post, they might have to put this son of Corinthian into the race early. He is, however, taking a huge step up in class today (he’s been 4-5 or less in each of his last three starts). His dam was a sprinter and the five wins for his two siblings are all in dirt sprints. We’ll pass.
#14 Ebben (20-1) – He was solid in his allowance win at Churchill Downs last time, having to wait after tapping in the brakes and then he drew off as an easy winner. However, that was against a very weak field and he’s drawn terribly.
#15 Trigger Warning (20-1) – He seems overmatched but does have some speed if they send him, which they might have to do from the far outside post.
Overall Thoughts – Principe Guilherme is immensely talented but Instilled Regard was pointed here by Jerry Hollendorfer after a good effort in the Los Al Futurity and lures Javier Castellano in from Florida for the ride. He’s just faced better and we prefer him in here. We’ll use with the favorite in multis. In exactas and trifectas, we’ll use Believe in Royalty, Lone Sailor, and Ebben as well.