01/12/2015 4:23PM

Eagle stuck far outside for Lecomte Stakes

Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography
Eagle (left), shown finishing third in the Kentucky Jockey Club, will have to work out a good trip from post 11 in Saturday's Lecomte.

The Grade 3, $200,000 Lecomte for 3-year-olds and the $125,000 Silverbulletday for 3-year-old fillies are stakes races, but the post position draw, random as it is, treated both races like handicaps.

Eagle, the likely favorite in the Lecomte, and Top Decile, the likely favorite in the Silverbulletday, both drew the far outside post in their respective races. If they are to win, they will have their draws to overcome.

Eagle’s post, 11, looks especially tricky from a historical perspective. Both races will be contested at one mile and 70 yards, and in the last five racing seasons at Fair Grounds, post 11 has produced just 3 winners from 97 starters at that distance. The miserable strike rate makes sense given the relatively short run to the first turn and the accompanying ground loss, nearly inevitable. Eagle’s connections – owner-breeder Will Farish, trainer Neil Howard, and jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. – can take some solace in the fact the bare win percentage from the 11-hole probably exaggerates its negative effect, since during the same period, starters from post 12 have gone 5 for 49.

:: ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays

Eagle ran on strongly the last three furlongs of his stakes debut, finishing third by less than one length in the Nov. 29 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, whose winner, El Kabeir, scored an encouraging win Jan. 3 in the Jerome at Aqueduct.

From the rail out, the Lecomte consists of International Star, Tiznow R J, Four Leaf Chief, War Story, Hero of Humor, Savoy Stomp, Run Happy, Killing It, and Dekabrist.

Tiznow R J was a sharp maiden route winner at Fair Grounds in his most recent start, while War Story won a first-level allowance here Dec. 28. Another Lemon Drop, who also got a tough outside draw, was third behind mighty Dortmund in a first-level allowance before clearing the condition impressively Dec. 19 at Fair Grounds.

The Lecomte is a Kentucky Derby qualifying race, with points to the top four finishers distributed on a 10-4-2-1 scale.

Post 9, from which Top Decile breaks in the Silverbulletday, has produced 23 winners from 262 starters the last five meets, which is not so bad. Trained by Al Stall, and with Mike Smith in to ride, Top Decile seeks her first stakes victory after finishing second in the Grade 1 Alcibiades at Keeneland and in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, her 2-year-old finale.

She could be challenged for favoritism by West Coast Belle, who won all three of her 2-year-old starts, including an eye-catching score Nov. 29 in the Grade 2 Golden Rod at Churchill. Shaun Bridgmohan ships in to ride.

The Silverbulletday has both depth and chaff, with several horses – led perhaps by Forever Unbridled – potentially talented enough to contend with the favorites with continued development. The race merits extra attention because fillies based at Fair Grounds, starting with Proud Spell in 2008 and running through Untapable last year, have won three of the last seven editions of the Kentucky Oaks.

There are three other stakes – the Louisiana Handicap, the Colonel Bradley, and the Marie Krantz Memorial – on the Saturday card. Post time is 12:30 p.m. Central rather than the standard 1:25, and the early forecast calls for beautiful weather.


Sean Rice More than 1 year ago
RUNHAPPY "winning with style" =D and Road to the Derby fans should checkout DERBY BRED (for iPhone 2015 edition) on the App Store. very cool.
tommy More than 1 year ago
Run happy will be having my money along with Tiz now, another lemon drop and eagle because they all have high vo2 max which is equal!!!
Capo Capo More than 1 year ago
Eagle by three. More if he has a solid pace to run into
tommy More than 1 year ago
Your boy is doing nice workouts!!!!!! I'm strictly better him on top in trifecta!!! But let me see if there are any better horses. I will get back to you!
tommy More than 1 year ago
It's now, another lemon drop, and run happy are very good horses!!! If you pair them up with eagle you should be a winner!!! Eagle is not a guarantee win so box them!!!!!
tommy More than 1 year ago
Tiz now lol ipad spell check put it's now
Capo Capo More than 1 year ago
No wager here. I don't usually spend money on the 3 year olds until the 9f preps.
tommy More than 1 year ago
I will do heavy exacta and trifecta bets with eagle, another lemon drop, tiznow and run happy BOX because they are all equal!! Pletchers has mike smith so I will put him 2nd and 3rd on separate low wager bet but is not good enough to win. Watch and see how good my handicap caping is and listed below is a general area where they should finish 1) eagle- should finish in top 3 2) Tiz now rj- should finish in top 3 3) another lemon drop- should finish in top 3 4) run happy - should finish between 2nd and no less than 4h 5) international star- should finish between 4th and 7th 6) savory stop pletchers mike smith combo - should finish between 3rd and 5th 7) war story- should finish between 4th and 8th 8) hero of humor- should finish in bottom 2 9)killing it- should finish between 7th and last 10) four leaf chief- should finish between 4th and last 11) Dekabrist- put him between 4th and last 100-1 long shot may come 4th lol
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jackschil1 More than 1 year ago
This is a horse racing blog. STOP with your spam scam!!!!!
r More than 1 year ago
DRF must have forgotten to make this article a DRF PLUS. Amazing how racing is alienating its own customers.
Beenthere Donethat More than 1 year ago
These guys are just trying to make some bread. The problem is that they are looking in the wrong place for the money. An article about a horse entered in a race and a run down of the race spurs interest to gamble at that track using their product, yet DRF expects their readers to pay for the their and the tracks' advertising.