2018 LeComte Stakes Picks
2018 LeComte Stakes Preview and Odds
As part of the Kentucky Derby qualifying series, the LeComte will offer points on a 10-4-2-1 basis to the top four finishers. Heading the list of three-year-old contenders is Principe Guilherme at morning line odds of 5-2.
One of three in the race for trainer Steve Asmussen, Principe Guilherme is undefeated so far in his young career, with two wins in two starts. He scored his maiden victory first time out at Churchill Downs in mid-November, going to the lead right out of the gate and setting very solid early fractions in the seven furlong race before drawing off to win by 6 1/4 lengths.
He then stretched out to a mile on the Fair Grounds dirt where he was even more impressive, leading every step of the way in an allowance race, going on to win by 11 3/4 lengths. He faces a bit of a challenge breaking from the #12 post in the large field, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see jockey Florent Geroux ask him to rate just off the lead if they can’t get to the front easily when the gates fly open.
Listed as second choice in the ML at 4-1 is trainer Jerry Hollendorfer’s Instilled Regard, a Kentucky-bred who has done all of his racing so far in California. He’s been in the money in all four of his lifetime starts, with one win.
Last out in the (G1) Los Alamitos Futurity at odds of 18-1 he showed he could run with the big boys when finishing a very close third to early Kentucky Derby contenders Solomini and McKinzie. The victim of some bumping late in the stretch, he was moved up to second place when winner Solomini was disqualified to third. The question might be how much that race took out of him, and if he can repeat the performance.
Kowboy Karma Has Had Tough Competition
Trainer Larry Jones also has three in the race including Kowboy Karma (6-1) another with graded-stakes experience, having run fourth two starts back in the (G1) Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park. The second-place finisher on that day, Good Magic, next out won the (G1) Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, while third-place finisher Enticed came back to win the (G2) Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes.
Following the Champagne, Kowboy Karma ran second in the James Lewis Stakes at Laurel Park, where he broke poorly and had to rally from the back of the pack, getting up for second-place money after coming five and six wide on the turn. He gets more distance to run at here, and a move forward off that effort could put him in the picture.
Looking to make amends off a poor effort last out is another Jones runner Believe In Royalty, at 15-1 one of several in the field in double-digit odds. He was the 7-2 third choice at post time in the Springboard Mile in mid-December after a solid performance in an allowance win at Laurel in his previous start, but could only manage a disappointing sixth after coming up empty in the stretch drive. He’ll need a bounce-back performance here, but there’s no doubt he’s better than his last race would indicate.
An interesting option in the race is the lone filly, Mark Casse’s Ontario-bred Wonder Gadot (6-1). She’s a graded-stakes winner on her home soil at Woodbine who ran into serious traffic trouble in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filles to finish sixth. She came back to win the (G2) Damoiselle Stakes at Aqueduct after the BC. She has been cross-entered in the Silverbulletday Stakes for fillies at Fair Grounds on Saturday as well, where she is the 2-1 ML favorite, and she’ll likely run that race instead of the LeComte.
The 2018 LeComte Stakes goes Saturday, January 13 from Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans. It’s race #9 of 10 on the Saturday Fair Grounds card, which also includes the aforementioned Silverbulletday as well as three other stakes races. Post time is 5:03 PM Central.
Entries w/ ML Odds
- Lone Sailor (15-1)
- Snapper Sinclair (20-1)
- Wonder Gadot (6-1)
- Analyze This Jet (30-1)
- Kowboy Karma (6-1)
- Believe In Royalty (15-1)
- Night Strike (30-1)
- Zing Zang (15-1)
- Zeke (15-1)
- Instilled Regard (4-1)
- Ciaran (30-1)
- Principe Guilherme (5-2)
- Prince Lucky (8-1)
- Ebben (20-1)
LeComte Stakes Picks
- 1) #12 – Principe Guilherme
- 2) #5 – Kowboy Karma
- 3) #6 – Believe In Royalty
- 4) #10 – Instilled Regard
You can bet the LeComte Stakes as well as the full day of racing on Saturday at Fair Grounds with an account at one of these top-rated online racebooks.
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