Lecomte Stakes; Nine Sophomores On Louisiana Derby Trail
2014 Lecomte Stakes (GIII); Nine Sophomores Vying For A Shot On The Louisiana Derby Trail
The 2014 Lecomte Stakes takes place this Saturday, January 18th at the Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans, Louisiana. It’s a grade three stakes race for three-year-olds running 1 mile and 70 yards on the dirt with a purse of $200,000. The Lecomte serves as the first step on the trail to conclusion of the 100th start of the Louisiana Derby on March 29th and is also part of the road to the Kentucky Derby points system with the top four finishers receiving 10-4-2-1 respectively.
(SEE UPDATED RESULTS)
This race has also been run at 8 furlongs and 8.5 furlongs in the past and trainers use this for a prep race for the Louisiana Derby and potentially the Kentucky Derby. The race is named in honor of one of the great Bostons’ best sons, Lecomte, who’s dam was the brilliant Reel and he was a half-brother to the horse Lexington. Oxbow won this race in 2013 in 1:43.30 and in 2006, the race had to be canceled as a result of Hurricane Katrina.
This race is the 9th race of the day on a card of 11 and is set to run at 4:23 pm CST.
The son of Empire Maker/Caressing/Honor and Glory, Gold Hawk, looks to make his stakes debut here Saturday and has run 2-for-2 under the watchful eyes of trainer Steve Asmussen. He broke his maiden first out at Churchill Downs on the dirt November 30th and followed that up with an impressive entry-level route on this track December 27th winning on the dirt by 3 1/2 lengths going two-turns for the first time at this distance. He ran 2-3 wide early on the far turn, four wide at five-sixteenths, bumped a rival going five-wide in the stretch where he closed well and gained the lead. Gold Hawk recently worked 4F January 13th in 49.80, 22/47 and 5F in 1:01.60, 21/59 on January 5th. He exits post # 4 with S. Brigmohan up to ride.
Smarty’s Echo, the son of 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Smarty Jones/Silver Echo/Eastern Echo and trained by Anne Smith has four races to his name during his freshman year in 2013. He broke his maiden by a head on September 6th at Arlington Park on the polytrack after finishing third in his debut on the grass at the same track. He next ran on the poly at Keeneland in the Breeders’ Futurity (GI) on October 5th finishing a very game second, beaten less than three lengths, even though he ran wide. Last out in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) at Santa Anita on the dirt, he ran a very disappointing 10th where he was far back throughout the race and was beaten by 16 lengths. Smarty’s Echo has some impressive works on this track recently with five since December 14th. He recently worked 4F on January 12th in 48.80, 18/149 and 5F on January 5th in 1:00.40 5/79. Smarty’s Echo gets J.Graham in the irons and door #5 .
Another interesting colt in here is the Texan Got Shades trained by Danny Pish. This son of Pollard’s Vision/Melancholy/Run Softly has two stakes wins on the turf at Lousiana Downs in the Sunday Silence Stakes on September 9th and the Sunnys Halo Stakes where he broke his maiden on August 3rd, 2013. He most recently ran in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf on November 1, 2013 at Santa Anita where he finished 5th. Got Shades has been training at Retama Park in Texas on the dirt for over a month where he worked 5F on January 3rd in 59.60, 1/1 and on January 14th he worked 4F in 47.80, 3/43 on this track at Fairgrounds. Got Shades gets Albarado in the irons and exits post #3.
I’m going with Gold Hawk for the win in the 2014 Lecomte Stakes. I’ve been touting him a little these last couple of weeks and need to put my money where my mouth is. He owns a great route pedigree with plenty of upside. If he loses, we’ll see better odds down the road on him as I think he’ll be in the starting gate for the Louisiana Derby and on to the Triple Crown series.
I also like Smarty’s Echo in here and I think the pace of the race could set up well for him to hit the board. I like the equipment added with the blinkers and he’s worked well over this track in them. We’ll see if he can take to the dirt after running on synthetic and hope he’s a nice price. Got Shades could be really tough in this race also. He got bottled up last out in the Breeders’ Cup and the switch to dirt doesn’t seem to be a problem as he’s had some nice works lately. Can he make the switch from turf to dirt? His trainer seems to think so and has been waiting for a two-turn race on the dirt to start him. He could be a nice price to hit the board. Gold Hawk will be way overbet so I’d use him in a Pick 3. I’ve been betting them lately so I’ll go with #3,4,5,7 in the leg of one. I always like to leave a little speed in there and with Rosie on Maker’s Vicar’s in Trouble, they could stir up the pot being the outside speed. Good luck to the boys and their connections.
2013 Lecomte Stakes Post Positions & Odds
1. Roman Unbridled 8/1 K.Smith/C.Cook
2. Rainbow Trip 12/1 C.Landeros/D.Pish
3. Got Shades 8/1 R.Albarado/D.Pish
4. Gold Hawk 3/1 S.Bridgmohan/S.Asmussen
5. Smarty’s Echo 8/1 J.Graham/A.Smith*
6. Albano 7/2 K.Clark/L.Jones
7. Vicar’s in Trouble 9/2 R.Napravnik/M.Maker
8. Silent Ruler 15/1 M.Guidry/K.Desormeaux
9. Plug Catcher 6/1 M.Mena/W.Calhoun*
*Smarty’s Echo – Blinkers On *Plug Catcher – Blinkers Off
See Updated Results