In the words of Debbe Dunning during her days on Home Improvement's Tool Time, "Does everybody know what time it is?" Yes, we do. It is time for the three-year-old season to begin in earnest with two stakes races this weekend at two different racetracks to ignite many people's Kenutcky Derby hopes.
The Fair Grounds will run their Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes at 1 mile and 40 yards and there is a field of eleven entered. The Graham Motion-trained Turf Melody has been installed as the lukewarm 7-2 morning-line favorite with Jose Valdivia Jr. getting the ride. The second choice is right to the inside breaking from the rail, Clark Hanna's Maximus Ruler. The Lecomte is one of six stakes races on the 13-race Saturday card in New Orleans.
Gulfstream Park has the more prestigious contenders running in their Saturday early Derby prep race, the Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes at one mile. The highly-touted Nick Zito trainee, Jackson Bend, is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the field of nine. Todd Pletcher's Aikenite is second choice at 4-1 and also will be breaking right to the inside of the favorite. Of course, the horse that I am on record as being truly interested in is Piscitelli, who finished fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Kent Desormeaux will have the riding assignment on the horse I listed as one of "Three Horses To Watch In 2010". Will he live up to that billing? Well, I guess we just have to wait until Saturday to find out.
They Are Off will take a closer look at these races in the Friday post. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!