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Check out our predictions and odds for the 2021 Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds!
|R Santana Jr
|B J Hernandez Jr
|GAME DAY PLAY
|W B Calhoun
|J K Desormeaux
|RED N WILD
|DYN O MITE
|J K Desormeaux
$2 Exacta box – Santa Cruiser, Mandaloun, Arabian Prince and Proxy = $24
$4 Exacta part wheel – Santa Cruiser and Mandaloun over Santa Cruiser, Mandaloun, Arabian Prince and Proxy = $24
Santa Cruiser (8/1)
Led by the undefeated Mandaloun, a field of eleven 3-year-olds with Kentucky Derby aspirations will battle it out in the Grade 3 Lecomte on Saturday at Fair Grounds.
A Juddmonte Farm homebred, Mandaloun has been perfect so far, having made two starts as a juvenile for top trainer Brad Cox. He won his debut going 6 furlongs at Keeneland in October, before scoring in a 7 furlongs allowance race in late November at Churchill Downs. The Lecomte will represent his first stakes attempt as well as his first try around two turns.
Chief among his rivals in the deep field will be Midnight Bourbon who has already finished in the money in two graded stakes races after easily breaking his maiden in his second career start. When last seen he finished third behind Jackie’s Warrior in the Grade 1 Champagne.
Trainer Mike Stidham has two entered in the Lecomte and both look quite promising. Proxy has won two straight over the track, while Manor House was a runaway winner of his only career start last month at Laurel Park.
Contested at 1 1/16-miles, Saturday’s Lecomte, will not only be a key prep for the rich Louisiana Derby on March 20 but will also offer Kentucky Derby qualifying points on a scale of 10-4-2-1.
|Lecomte Stakes Information
|Lecomte Stakes (Grade 3)
|Saturday, January 16 — 5:50 PM Central time
|How to Watch
He will likely go off the favorite after two professional-looking victories to begin his career for one of the premier trainers in the country. Both came sprinting in Kentucky, but Cox believes the son of Into Mischief, and out of an Empire Maker mare, will be right at home as he stretches out in distance. He drew an outside post and faces easily the toughest field he has seen yet, but both can be easily handled by a smart ride by Florent Geroux, who is one of the best in the business. He does not offer great value against a field with plenty of potential winners, but he looks to be the one they will all have to beat.
On the one hand, he looked very good in breaking his maiden at Ellis Park and running second in the Grade 3 Iroquois, but on the other hand, he was not able to offer much resistance when beaten in his career debut and when running against top horses in the Champagne. He deserves respect for the horses he’s faced, but I’m not sure his fight in those races was good enough to make him one of the favorites in a tough field. The second choice on the morning line, but I like others better.
One of two promising Stidham runners, he clearly likes the main track at Fair Grounds, having won both his starts there in frontrunning fashion. The wins followed a solid debut performance at Monmouth Park where he finished fast. Things will only get tougher on Saturday, but I do like the fact that he has plenty of experience at the track, around two turns, and can be versatile depending on the early pace. His class will be tested, but all in all, he looks like one of the most likely in here to run a solid race.
As is the case with many Dallas Stewart trainees, this one is in no rush in the early part of races. Having said that, the son of Mshawish has rallied in each of his three starts, the last two coming in stakes races. With a decent amount of early speed in here, I would expect him once again to be passing horses in the stretch. I can’t say that he is one of my favorites for the top spot, but he makes a lot of sense to play underneath in the exotics.
One of two from the barn of Mike Stidham, and also one of two cross-entered in an allowance spot on the same card. His trainer has not revealed which whey they are going, but if he does run in the Lecomte, he needs to be respected. The son of Upstart has only made one career start, but he looked like a very good thing running away from his competition in Maryland. I have a feeling they might opt for the easier spot for his second career start, but keep an eye on this one moving forward. I believe he will be a good one.
This son of Dialed In has made steady improvement in three starts to begin his career. Note that in his career debut, he finished third behind the soon to be champion Essential Quality, and then his second career start, he was runner-up behind Swill who came back with a pretty good effort in the Kentucky Jockey Club. Last time he beat Regular Guy, who won his next start. Clearly, he has run against good horses and seems to be right at home against them. He also has enough tactical speed to keep in touch and has finished his races well. Like a horse with attractive odds on Saturday, there is a lot to like.
Like Manor House, he is cross-entered in an easier spot earlier in the card. In fact, he has quite a bit in common with Manor House, as he too has only made one career start. It may not have been as eye-catching as that one, but it was a very nice debut score at Churchill Downs. If he does run in the Lecomte, I could see the son of Tapizar making some noise in the early stages. The Marylou Whitney Stable homebred is yet another one in this field who looks to have some talent.
After running a decent second behind Santa Cruiser at Churchill Downs while both were making their third career start, he came back to win a maiden race at Fair Grounds on December 19. It was a game performance, but I don’t know if it was fast enough to seriously threaten in this field. The son of Bernardini is moving in the right direction, so as a longshot he is at least worth some consideration.
Scratched out of the Springboard Mile this son of Violence has found a tougher spot in Saturday’s Lecomte. The good news is that the Bret Calhoun runner has won two of his last three, including stakes, win in the Clever Trevor last time. Unfortunately, I suspect that the level of competition between those wins at Remington Park and Lone Star Park is a good bit below what he will find in this test.
Twice beaten by Game Day Play, he did finish third in the Springboard Mile, but it was not a particularly strong third, as he was beaten nearly ten lengths as a longshot. The Lecomte is only that much tougher. Despite a good, consistent overall record, I believe this son of Bayern has probably found a level a bit too tough here.
Another who should have big odds on Saturday comes in from California with plenty of experience. He’s already finished first or second in five career starts, but all of them came in the non-stakes company. He backed out of both efforts against stakes company to finish fifth, but both came in Grade 1 races. He does have consistent early speed, so it is not out of the realm of possibility for him to stick around for a piece of the purse in the Lecomte.
Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.
Email: [email protected]
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