Kentucky Derby hopefuls will contest the main event, the $200,000 Lecomte (G3), and Fair Grounds features a $100,000 guaranteed All-Stakes Pick 4 on Saturday’s 13-race program. I will give my thoughts on the sequence and construct a ticket.
Passing rain showers are possible Saturday, but I expect the $125,000 Colonel Bradley to remain on turf. That’s important considering six of the eight entrants in the $100,000 Louisiana (G3) are cross-entered to the Bradley.
All-Stakes Pick 4 Analysis
Louisiana, Race 10
The All-Star Pick 4 kicks off with a 1 1/16-mile test, and #2 Silver Dust (3-1) will make his first start since a neck second in the Lukas Classic (G3) at Churchill Downs in late September. Conditioned by Bret Calhoun, the 6-year-old gelding ran well at Fair Grounds last year, winning the Mineshaft (G3) and posting close seconds in the New Orleans (G2) and Louisiana, and Silver Dust is eligible to receive a favorable trip on the front end with regular rider Jack Gilligan.
#3 Blended Citizen (7-2) will offer more value for the multi-race wagers. Switched to Brad Cox last fall after six consecutive turf efforts, the 5-year-old has recorded a pair of encouraging efforts on dirt, including a head second in the Dec. 21 Tenacious at Fair Grounds, and appears to coming on at age 5. I will use him on my ticket.
Colonel Bradley, Race 11
The 1 1/16-mile turf affair will lose some entrants to the Louisiana, and #14 Mr. Misunderstood (7-2) is the horse to beat. A four-time graded winner, the Cox-trained gelding dropped his first four starts last year before capturing the Nov. 16 River City (G3), determinedly getting up to defeat a solid field. It was an encouraging performance to build upon, and Mr. Misunderstood is 3-for-5 on the Fair Grounds turf.
I will also include #10 Parlor (10-1) in his first start for Mike Maker. After a disappointing sixth at Churchill Downs, the stakes-winning gelding was dropped in for an $80,000 tag at Fair Grounds last time and ran a big race to just miss against the loose-on-the-lead Sailing Solo. Parlor should receive a better set-up Saturday, and Maker excels at moving forward high-priced claims in turf stakes.
Silverbulletday, Race 11
#6 Finite (6-5) will head postward as a solid favorite following an all-out win in the Golden Rod (G2) at Churchill Downs. She got two turns over a sloppy track, but her BRIS Speed ratings (90) did drop from a pair of convincing sprint wins. I won’t let her beat me, but there are a couple of promising types who are eligible to run well in their stakes debut.
#3 Ursula (12-1) was a sharp maiden winner at Fair Grounds two back and ran into the buzzsaw Taraz last time. The Michael Stidham-trained daughter of Tapit is eligible to relish the stretch out to two turns. #1 Tempers Rising (10-1) needed some time to put things together, and she broke through nicely with a convincing maiden tally last time over the track. She will be running late with Julien Leparoux.
#7 Portrait and #8 She Can’t Sing will also be added in their second stakes attempt.
Lecomte, Race 13
Plenty of speed signed on for the Lecomte, which has been lengthened to 1 1/16 miles this year. I will use three runners.
#2 Mr. Monomoy (9-2) is eligible to sit a perfect trip just behind the speed from his inside post and get first run on any rallying types. #7 Halo Again (15-1) has posted nice wins in both starts for Steve Asmussen, and the Speightstown colt will look to make his presence felt from off the pace with Joe Talamo. #9 Silver State (5-1) exits a fine nose second to Necker Island in a Churchill Downs allowance, and the Asmussen-trained colt will look to parlay a stalk-and-pounce trip into the winner’s circle with Ricardo Santana Jr.
All-Stakes Pick 4 Ticket (Races 10-13)
- 50-cent Pick 4: 2,3 with 10, 14 with 1,2,6,7,8 with 2,7,9 ($30)