Thursday, January 16, 2014

LeComte Stakes Preview and Weekend Quick Picks

After Midnight Hawk stamped his place on the Derby Trail last week, we move on to our next stop: the LeComte, which is over one mile and seventy yards at the Fair Grounds. Won by eventual Preakness winner Oxbow last year, the LeComte has a few notable names among its past winners, including multiple G1 winner Ron the Greek and the mighty Hard Spun. As usual with the Kentucky Derby preps, @Derbyologist and I prepared a video in which we discuss this race and the Smarty Jones Stakes. Oh and don't mind @Derbyologist who totally explained our Roundtable video for two weeks from now. Next week, of course, is the Holy Bull and we'll be covering that. 




(1/18/2013) Fair Grounds Race 9: G3 LeComte Stakes--
The big name in this one is surely the Asmussen trainee Gold Hawk. A son of Empire Maker out of Champion Two-Year-Old filly Caressing, Gold Hawk, who was a $450,000 yearling purchase, has all makings of a future champion. He hasn't made life easy on himself, as he unseated his rider just prior to his debut and somehow found himself taking a wide trip last time out despite starting from the one post. Regardless, he's gotten the job done in both runs, but he'll be up against much tougher here. Even though his pedigree doesn't resemble that of Empire Maker's most successful runners, he is likely the one to watch for the future out of this bunch. On this day, however, I'm going to side with Vicar's in Trouble. Owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, this Mike Maker trained son of Into Mischief ran lights out over six furlongs locally last time out, earning himself a whopping 98 Beyer speed figure. He won that race by thirteen lengths despite being eased going to the wire. While I doubt he'll want ten furlongs, come Derby time, this should be right in his wheelhouse. Rose Napravnik retains the mount. Riding a bit more under the radar than the others is Got Shades, a son of Pollard's Vision, who to this point has ran solely on the turf. He showed talent in the two stakes races he won at Louisiana Downs, but it was his run in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf that won me over. Surely, he was helped by the quick pace set by Bobby's Kitten, but Got Shades checked up abruptly behind Outstrip and was still able to gather himself enough to weave through the field and finish fifth. Seeing a juvenile have that kind of maturity and the talent to back it up against top class horses, definitely makes a impression on me.

Picks:
Win: #7 Vicar's in Trouble, Place: #3 Got Shades, Show: #4 Gold Hawk





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