The three-year-old season starts in earnest with the 68th running of the LeComte Stakes at Fair Grounds in New Orleans on Saturday. There is a field of thirteen entrants with eleven betting interests. Here is the analysis:
#1 Adena' Chance- Has already finished behind several of these in recent races in New Orleans. His last effort at this distance of 1 mile and 70 yards yielded a poor result, finishing 12th of 12. Marlon St. Julien has the ride.
#1a Hero Of Order- Probably be part of the pace scenario in here, but I find it hard to believe that he will last very long up top. While he won a maiden-breaker on January 7th impressively, this would be quite a leap of faith to expect a repeat performance.
#2 Dan And Sheila- Won his only career start at one mile at Gulfstream Park. Certainly worth a look with John Velazquez in to ride for trainer Todd Pletcher. The last two workouts in January are strong and speedy.
#2b Z Dager- Another that picked up a maiden-winner recently. However, this one broke the maiden at this distance over a sloppy surface on December 15. Shane Sellers retakes the riding services.
#3 Ted's Folly- This gelding has won six consecutive starts, all at Remington Park in Oklahoma. The last of those wins came at one mile, while all the other five scores were at sprint distance. His success appears to depend on how much of a pace this closer will have to run at.
#4 Mr. Bowling- Has not run at all since October. He finished third in the Grade 3 Iroquois at Churchill Downs on that occasion. He had won the previous two at Delaware Park, including a ungraded stakes effort.
#5 Exfactor- Shaun Bridgmohan has the mount for trainer Bernie Flint on this colt that has won three consecutive starts. Included in those wins are the Grade 3 Bashford Manor at Churchill Downs and the Sugar Bowl at Fair Grounds. This will be his first try over six furlongs.
#6 Seven Lively Sins- Never got into his last start in the Grade 3 Delta Jackpot on November 19. If it is a consolation, it was the worst of his four lifetime starts, so it might be totally excusable. Rosie Napravnik is aboard for this one.
#7 Alexander Thegreat- The most-experienced runner in this field with ten lifetime tries. He didn't get the first win until last out on the day after Christmas over a sloppy surface. He broke the maiden at 11-1 and I find it highly doubtful he will be any better than 50-1 here.
#8 Hammers Terror- A Michael Stidham trainee that has never been worse than second in three lifetime tries. He seems very versatile, having won over Polytrack at seven furlongs and a dirt track score at this distance of 1 mile and 70 yards.
#9 Chalybeate Springs- Came back from a bit of a layoff to get a victory on January 14 at Oaklawn Park. He ran fifth in his other two graded efforts, one on the turf and one on the dirt. Even as a D. Wayne Lukas trainee, I find it hard to believe that this is a realistic contender.
#10 Capetown Devil- Undefeated after three starts, including a one-turn mile at Churchill and at this distance at Fair Grounds. Corey Lanerie is in the saddle here for trainer David Carroll. This is a step up in company, but it is possible he is up to it.
#11 Shared Property- Did not fare well in the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland last time out in October. However, he did win his last Grade 3 try in the Arlington Washington Futurity in September.
TOP FOUR SELECTIONS: 10- 8- 5- 3
Remember, They Are Off accepts no responsibility for any wagers placed in conjunction with these selections. They are merely suggestions. Tune in again next week for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!