I haven't written much about this year's Lecomte Stakes at the Fair Grounds due to the fact that the race came up pretty soft. Last year's race, won by the Tom Amoss trained Ron the Greek (everybody remember him?), featured a nice, full field of eleven three-year-old colts. And while the race didn't produce a horse to figure in the Triple Crown races later on in the spring, it was still a solid Grade 3 race that produced some decent payoffs. This year's edition...yikes...pretty thin all the way around.
The Lecomte has a purse of $100,000 and, since it's a graded stakes race, could be a factor in determining the field at this year's Derby. Of course, once you look at the field it's difficult to see a standout three-year-old exiting this race unless somebody decides to freak on Saturday.
Mobettie gets no love from the morning line, while the oddsmaker essentially splits the difference between Wilkinson, Action Ready, Justin Phillip, and Pants On Fire (don't know if that's any relation to Pants On The Ground).
The rundown on this field is short and sweet. Here's a quick take on the last start of each of the five competitors:
1-Wilkinson: Finished 3rd beaten 3 ¼ lengths in a OC 50k/N1X allowance on New Year's Day at the Fair Grounds. The winning colt was one of today's rivals, Justin Phillip.
2-Action Ready: Won an OC 50k/N1X allowance on January 9th at the Fair Grounds in a race at one mile on the turf course.
3-Mobeetie: Won the only start of his career, a 50k Maiden Claimer, by 2 ¼ lengths on New Year's Day over a sloppy and sealed Fair Grounds track. Two of the four horses he raced against that day have come back to run again and both lost Maiden Claiming races, on a 50k event and the other a 15k affair.
4-Justin Phillip: Went gate-to-wire to win the aforementioned allowance race over Wilkinson and others on January 1st. Prior to that he'd lost twice at the N1X level at Churchill Downs.
5-Pants On Fire: Finished 3rd by 4 ½ lengths to Monzon and J J's Lucky Train at Aqueduct in the Count Fleet stakes.
I think it's safe to toss Mobeetie in this one but separating three of the other four is essentially a coin flip...and one that probably won't pay a heck of a lot. As for the standout, Pants On Fire seems to have the class and speed edge on this field and you could make a case that he'd be a bit of value, even at the ML 9/5. If you believe that he'd win this race more than 50% of the time, then anything above even money is a gift. However, I doubt we'll see odds on him that high come post time.