Updated on 09/17/2011 8:37PM

Storm Surge needs usual quick start


NEW ORLEANS - The Louisiana Derby dreams of at least one horse's connections will come closer to realization Saturday in the Grade 3, $100,000 at Fair Grounds.

The Lecomte, for 3-year-olds at a mile, is the feature on a four-stakes card that also includes the Tiffany Lass for 3-year-old fillies at a mile, the Col. E.R. Bradley Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on the grass for 4-year-olds and up, and the Leggio Memorial Handicap for fillies and mares at 5 1/2 furlongs on the grass The four stakes, races 6 through 9 on the card, make up a $250,000-guaranteed pick four in what Fair Grounds is billing as Road to the Kickoff Day.

Storm Surge and Biloxi Palace are the main attractions in the Lecomte's field of six.

Storm Surge, fresh off an impressive score here in the six-furlong Sugar Bowl Stakes, appears to be the controlling speed from his outside post. Jockey Robby Albarado will have to break him quickly to gain position in the short run to the clubhouse turn, but Storm Surge has left the gate either first or second in all but one of his seven races.

Storm Surge, an Overbrook Farm homebred by Storm Cat, had a distinguished 2-year-old season, winning his first start at Churchill Downs, then finishing second by a neck in the Grade 3 Bashford Manor. He won his third race, an allowance at Saratoga, then was overmatched in the Hopeful, finishing fifth of seven. After a freshening, he returned with an impressive victory in the seven-furlong Lone Star Juvenile on Breeders' Cup Day. He followed that with an unusually poor performance in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at 1 1/16 miles, where he finished sixth.

Biloxi Palace is 2 for 2 at the meet but has been dogged by stamina questions since he shortened stride after rushing up to take the lead in his first start around two turns last time out. Albarado, who rode him that day, has opted to ride Storm Surge. Trainer Dan Peitz named jockey Javier Castellano.

"I'm not losing anything with Javier," Peitz said. "He rode him up in New York, and he was very high on the colt up there."

Major League won the Harrah's Juvenile at Louisiana Downs at a mile on the grass. Smooth Bid is coming off a victory in the Remington Park MECa Mile. Silver Haze finished second to Smooth Bid at Remington, then won his first start at Fair Grounds. Kansas City Boy is coming off a maiden win at Churchill Downs.