Lecomte Stakes Analysis

This weekend at Fair Grounds, the first important graded earnings test for 3-year-olds on the road to the Kentucky Derby takes place with the $100,000 Lecomte Stakes. It's still way too early to tell, but my guess is that we might see one or more of these on the first weekend of May. Just a gut instinct. Let's take a look at the field.

Evan Hammonds and I also talk about the Lecomte on That Handicapping Show.

  • 1. Friesan Fire, Gabriel Saez, 5-1 - My pick. More than anything, I guess, I'm going on Larry Jones' word that this is one of the most talented horses he's ever had in his barn. Jones has liked him from Day 1, but he has been a disappointment so far. Friesan Fire was beat on the square by Uno Mas last out in an allowance tilt after getting caught in a speed duel. I'm hoping his sharp work on Jan. 5 will be an indication that he is starting to put it all together. I also like his class edge. He's the only entry to have tried graded action twice so far. He gets top rider Saez for the first time too. Jones won this is 2007 with Hard Spun.

 

  • 2. Au Moon, Julien Leparoux, 8-1 - I will have him in all my exotics and give him a good chance for top prize. Any horse that breaks his maiden by six going 1 1/8 miles must be respected. Yes, the fractions and final time were slow and it was a weak field. But David Carroll says he's the best 3-year-old in his barn and Leparoux requested to stay on him. He flies in from his base in Florida to keep the mount. The one-mile might not be long enough for the son of malibu Moon, but the nice post will let him stay closer to the pace. Taking a big step up in class, but something tells me...

 

  • 3. Citizen, No rider, 20-1 - Won a minor stake at Hawthorne two back and earned a 79 Beyer while finishing fourth in the Sugar Bowl. May be an early pace factor but I don't give him much chance. Note: A new jockey will be named since Francisco Torres was injured Thursday.

 

  • 4. Patena, R. Albarado, 4-1 - Makes his first dirt start after two straight Polytrack wins at Woodbine. Won the Display Stakes for Josie Carroll last out while stalking the pace and earning a solid 81 Beyer. Seems to be an improving horse and deserves consideration, but I can't play ‘em all.

 

  • 5. Big Push, Miguel Mena, 8-1 - A scary horse because he might be alone on the lead. Was headed by Ask Joe in the Sugar Bowl after a game effort. Had a huge four-furlong work on Dec. 14, the best of 147 that day.

 

  • 6. Dynamic Force, J. Campbell, 10-1 - Also making his first dirt start. Has won two of last three for Mark Casse, the only loss a clunker in the Bourbon. Beyers have improved in every race. Not sure he's ready for this.

 

  • 7. Professor Z, 6-1 - Wil be scratched in favor of Smarty Jones Stakes on Jan. 19 at Oaklawn. Loking forward to seeing him there.

 

  • 8. Uno Mas, S. Bridgmohan, 5-1 - Can't fault anyone for liking him. From the barn of Steve Asmussen, he was very sharp in the Dec. 18 allowance win over Friesan Fire. Well-bred colt by Macho Uno, he has two straight wins over this course. If he takes another step forward he will stamp himself as a legitimate Derby contender. I'm guessing he takes a step back. We'll see.

 

  • 9. Indygo Mountain, Jamie Theriot, 3-1 - The morning-line favorite might be the most talented horse in here, but I don't like him in this spot. He was scratched in that Dec. 18 allowance race that Uno Mas won with a foot bruise. Two days later he developed an abscess on the other hind foot and missed two works. Bret Calhoun says he's not 100%, but needs to get a race under him. Does that mean he can't win? Not at all. But when the trainer tells me he doesn't have him where he wants him, that's enough for me. Plus, he draws the outside. Look for bigger things from this colt later in the spring.

 

My play: $25 win on Friesan Fire; $10 exacta box Friesan Fire, Au Moon; $4 trifecta box Friesan Fire, Au Moon, Big Push

 

Your thoughts?

 

 

40 Comments

Leave a Comment:

aspradling

Friesan Fire, Big Push and Uno Mas.

Citizen to show depending on odds.

09 Jan 2009 5:00 PM
whitney

Uno Mas, Indygo Mtn and Friesian Fire

09 Jan 2009 5:11 PM
The Rock

I like Friesan Fire as well, although I'm curious about this Patena from WO. I believe a Mark Casse trainee came out of that race and one a nx1 @ SA last friday with J. Rosario aboard. Granted it was on Pro-Ride and the field wasn't that strong, but the race that horse ran was pretty impressive, and it shows good form for that race. Haven't looked at the form yet but if his works are ok, then he's ok to me, hopefully at a price of 5 - 7-1

09 Jan 2009 5:49 PM
Majestic

Big Push on the lead all alone.....hmmm!  Could be suicide for any who challenges (along with him)  Uno Mas is moving up each race.

Big Push may have too much of a pace advantage....problem is that if anyone tries to challenged him too early all involved could finish out of the money.  Chances are that they will let him go and try to reel him in at some point feeling they have the pedigree and experience to do so....we'll see.  Only thing is that with all the closers....how can one choose?

09 Jan 2009 6:04 PM
Art

Shandy, are you really making those bets for this race?  I never figured you to put that much on one race.  Oh, and I think you're overrating Au Moon. Uno Mas and Indygo Mountain merit more attention.  

09 Jan 2009 6:06 PM
DONNA

 Friesan Fire keyed on top with Au Moon, Patena and Big Push. Hopefully Friesan Fire gets it put together in this race.

09 Jan 2009 6:21 PM
Silver Charm

Uno Mass, Friesian Fire, Big Push

09 Jan 2009 6:23 PM
Jason Shandler

Art: It's Triple crown season. You have to step up. We'll see if I'm overrating Au Moon. I may be. We'll see. that's why they play the game!

09 Jan 2009 6:52 PM
AnneM

Patena and Indygo Mountain for me.

Friesan Fire seems to be a money burner.

09 Jan 2009 7:31 PM
txhorsefan

Like Donna said, I hope Friesan Fire gets it together for this race since Larry Jones has been so high on him earlier.  I'm also very intrigued by Indygo Mountain and hoping to see a good run from him, too even though Calhoun has said he doesn't think he's 100% yet.  Emotionally driven person that I am, I'll be rooting for his Texas connections - haha!

09 Jan 2009 7:31 PM
Pollas

I don't know.  This field doesn't excite me much.  I'd be surprised to see most of these horses still standing by Derby time.

09 Jan 2009 8:07 PM
RJPPDP

I would key Au Moon in my exactas with Uno Mas, Big Push and Friesan Fire. I would add Indygo mtn and citizen in my tris. I love Indygo Mtn but his work pattern scares me right now and this might be a prep for his next race.

10 Jan 2009 1:21 AM
Teaser

Enough with Friesan Fire already. I don't care what Jones says. Uno Mas is this year verson of Pyro, He'll look super at FG and then Bomb later on.

10 Jan 2009 10:27 AM
Draynay

"I really didn't know what to expect" said Bret Calhoun after the Lecomte. "He shocked even me"  Indygo Mountain stalked solid fractions and took over the race at the top of the lane coming home.  Mild urging gave Indygo Mountain an easy fictory over Friesan Fire and Uno Mas and perhaps stamped his ticket to the big dance in May.

10 Jan 2009 10:46 AM
steven

uno mas this years version of pyro? hahaha

10 Jan 2009 11:21 AM
The Rock

After looking over the race, Indygo Mountain is the best by far! But of course, how he's conditioned for this race makes a play on him very questionable. So I'll stick with the play with Patena, as he's worked ok on the FG track, but if Indygo Mountain caught this field while 100%, it'd be lights out, Shawn Merriman style!

10 Jan 2009 11:28 AM
Jason Shandler

The Rock: By Shawn Merriman-style, do you mean pumped full of steroids? :)

10 Jan 2009 11:48 AM
Footprint

I think that Patina is about the only one in here with realistic Derby hopes. May get beat here but keep an eye on for later.

10 Jan 2009 1:44 PM
Wanda

I agree with you about Indygo Mountain Jason, to many works missed with problems in both hind feet. That does not bode well for a horse that maybe on the Derby trail. The push to get him into this race doesn't look right either.

10 Jan 2009 3:27 PM
derbytrail

Au Moon by lengths....walked home in maiden win

10 Jan 2009 3:59 PM
Jason Shandler

Teaser: Any thoughts?

10 Jan 2009 6:38 PM
Vespone

Jason - congratulations on the win. The race seemed kind of slow to me, was it just a slow track or is that some reflection on the horses?

10 Jan 2009 8:00 PM
Slew.em.All

lol..Jim,..err..Jason,you're brutal.

For some reason,this Slew doesn't intrigue me.Nice enough win and maybe he's finally figured it out,but we'll see.He is 2 for 2 at FG,which might be his preferred surface like my boy Pyro last year?..hmmm..but you cannot dismiss the Slews' ever! They have too much class in them..I liked Patena's race,he's one to watch for sure.And Au Moon ran ok,he should keep improving.Indygo Mountain lost all chance at the break,look for him to bounce back next race while also improving his conditioning.

1 down,many more to go people..

SLEW EM' ALL!!!

10 Jan 2009 8:35 PM
Anne M

It's moot now; the race is run - but my choice was Fresiean Fire. Why? Because, altho bad stuff can happen, if Larry Jones believes in a horse, that's good enough for me. Hard Spun, Eight Belles and Proud Spell would doubtlessly agree! There are few better hands with a horse than Larry - and I've liked this horse all along myself as well. Hopefully he'll go forward from here.

10 Jan 2009 8:54 PM
Convene

There seems to be two Anne M's. I've changed my display name. My comment was the one filed 8:50 or so Jan. 10

10 Jan 2009 8:57 PM
Wanda

Play nice Jason.

10 Jan 2009 10:48 PM
Jason Shandler

LOL Wanda. I just dont like when people dismiss horses. It's Ok not to like a horse, but don't come on and say, "I don't care what Larry Jones says."

Truth be told, Vespone, I wasn't overly impressed with Friesan Fire. It was kind of slow. But he did improve and that's what you look for this time of year. His Risen Star will be very telling. He still must take a step forward to become a legit contender.

10 Jan 2009 11:14 PM
AnneM

I am the other AnneM - I thought that Patena would win and he came close - Friesan Fire ran better than I thought he would but I still think tha Patena will end up being the better race horse.

10 Jan 2009 11:39 PM
Draynay

I will be standing by waiting for someone to tell me when they see a horse as good as VH.... until then they are all looking up.

11 Jan 2009 12:11 AM
Wanda

I hear you Jason. He seems to be a work in progress according to Mr Jones. As you say hope he moves forward but if his head isn't on straight they always find a way to get themselves beat.

11 Jan 2009 10:09 AM
MRO

Kind of slow? Didn't I read that it was only 1/10 second off the stakes record?

11 Jan 2009 12:03 PM
Wanda

Did I miss something? Did Vineyard Haven run this year?

11 Jan 2009 12:06 PM
Derby Mass

I agree with AnneM.  I like the way Patena's future looks.  That Display Stakes has been productive with Shafted winning an Alowance race as Santa Anita (Jan. 2).  I wonder if Cassee will keep him at the Fair Grounds?

11 Jan 2009 2:50 PM
da3hoss

I have to laugh at those who aren't at all impressed with a horse, especially a young horse, who wins and does it within a 1/10 of a second of the stakes record...who "just maybe" is "putting it all together"...

12 Jan 2009 8:03 AM
Curlin

Congrats on Friesan Fire Jason.  Good win for that young colt.  The time was only 1/10 of a second off the stakes record.  Although Friesan Fire won, Patena will be the horse who makes the biggest move forward next race.  Galloped out past the winner with no problem.  Add the extra distance and give him a 2nd race over the dirt surface.  At least that is what I think.  Anyway, look for Indygo Mountain to run big next out.  Write this race off for him.  He lost all chance at the break as he went almost to his nose.

12 Jan 2009 1:46 PM
Mr.Ruffian

Hi Jason, I'm new to this. You may want to change the final time of the Tiffany Lass in your article " Friesan Fire Burns Lecomte foes".   I'm showing a time of 1:38.15.  I enjoy your blogs.

Thanks

12 Jan 2009 2:40 PM
Jason Shandler

Thanks for correction Mr. Ruffian. It has been fixed.

12 Jan 2009 4:05 PM
Fire Slam

The gallop out is really nothing. Horses are pulling up after the wire, so running by them is not very hard.

Pantena is bred to be a classic horse, and I love F.Fire, with AP Indy over a proven mare that has speed in her family.

IndyG should be a better price next time, and if he breaks clean, and is not sore, he should be able to get a good stalking trip maybe 3rd or fourth.

D-Lukas is trying to slide one under the radar. FLYING PRIVATE. Fupeg out of an Unbridled mare. The best physical looking horse I have ever seen. Tall, long thick neck and chest, and very long legs. Ran a winning race at CD and got nipped at the wire. He is at Oaklawn Park showing works. He will win the Kentucky Derby.

12 Jan 2009 9:32 PM
Wanda

Kind of depressing headlines today on Bloodhorse.com. Got anything to cheer us up Jason?

13 Jan 2009 5:56 PM
Jason Shandler

Sorry, nothing today Wanda. I'll have a new post on Wednesday.

13 Jan 2009 6:49 PM

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