01/17/2011 4:12PM

Lecomte field comes up light


NEW ORLEANS – The post position draw for the Grade 3, $100,000 Lecomte, the anchor to Fair Grounds’s first big stakes day of the season on Saturday, did not take long. Only five horses were entered in the Lecomte, the first of three graded stakes races for 3-year-olds to be run at this meet.

The one mile 40-yard Lecomte has four locals, led by recent allowance-race winner Justin Phillip, and one ship-in, New York-based Pants on Fire. Pants on Fire, trained by Kelly Breen, most recently finished third in the Count Fleet at Aqueduct. Rail-drawn Wilkinson finished third behind Justin Phillip last out; Action Ready won a two-turn turf race here Jan. 9; and Mobeetie was victorious in a $50,000 maiden-claiming sprint on Jan. 1, his lone start. The Lecomte goes as race 10 of 13, and is the last of six stakes on the day.

The $100,000 Silverbulletday, called the Tiffany Lass before this year, drew a more appealing field of eight 3-year-old fillies. Favoritism in the Silverbulletday, another one mile 40-yard dirt route, could be split between Aide, who finished fourth in the Golden Rod last out after a big Churchill Downs allowance-race win, and Bouquet Booth, who won the Grade 3 Delta Princess in her most recent start. Steve Margolis trains Bouquet Booth as well as Little Miss Holly, who won her maiden Dec. 9 at Fair Grounds in an impressive performance. The filly Little Miss Holly beat that day, Wahoo Babe, won her maiden in her next start and is back for the Silverbulletday. She is one of two horses – Ambient is the other – entered by trainer Mike Stidham.

The Grade 3, $100,000 Colonel Bradley, for older horses at 1 1/16 miles on turf, attracted a field of nine, and has a nice mix of established stakes horses like Gran Estreno, Strike Again, and Dubious Miss, and promising turf-stakes newcomers Joinem and Red Strike.

Seven were entered in the $60,000 Louisiana Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on dirt, including Apart, who makes his 2011 debut for trainer Al Stall. Apart won the Super Derby and the Ack Ack last fall before finishing eighth in the Grade 1 Clark to end his campaign.

The $60,000 Leggio Stakes, a filly-and-mare turf sprint, has a field of 10, while just five were entered in the Gaudin, an older-horse dirt sprint carded as race 1.

Saturday’s weather forecast calls for clear conditions with a high in the low 50s.