Fair Grounds: Turf single in Lecomte Day Pick 3

January 19th, 2024

With cold, wintry weather blasting much of the country this weekend, in particular the nation's interior, the Lecomte Day program at Fair Grounds on Saturday figures to be an extremely popular card for many bettors with racing cancelled elsewhere.

As is customary on Fair Grounds' big days, a plethora of stakes is balanced by maidens devoted to three-year-olds and some turf allowances. Those are the kind of races offered in the middle of a 13-race card, where I'll be focusing on a Pick 3 play that begins with Race 5, which has a scheduled post time of 3 p.m. ET.

Lecomte Day Pick 3

  • $1 Pick 3: 4,10 with 2,6,7,8 with 1 = $8

Race 5

In this 1 1/16-mile maiden for three-year-olds, I'll be fading three-time runner-up Funnyflame and the twice-placed Night Out in favor of a couple more lightly-raced entrants. #4 Hall of Fame (3-1), a $1.4 million yearling purchase, was a respectable second on debut at Churchill Downs in late November. A Steve Asmussen-trained son of Gun Runner, he wouldn't appear to need too much improvement second out while getting Joel Rosario in the irons.

#10 Saint Damasus (10-1) is a somewhat intriguing first-time starter. Though Kenny McPeek trainees tend to need a start or two, this colt is by 17% first-time sire Justify and out of a dam that has also produced the multiple graded winner Classic Causeway. Brian Hernandez, a typical go-to for McPeek's maiden-winning two-year-olds, adds some to the appeal.

Race 6

Of the previous starters in this six-furlong maiden, #7 Plum Tricky (10-1) might have room for the most improvement, having been backed on debut and missing by only three lengths while catching slop. Otherwise, this event has the look of being potentially friendly to the first-time starters. #2 Motown Dynamic (7-2) shows a sprightly worktab for Asmussen, #6 Absolute Miracle (8-1) is kin to multiple stakes-winning sprinter Factor It In, and #8 Yes Indeed (3-1) has also shown a lot of zip in the mornings and is by 18% debut sire Bolt d'Oro.

Race 7

This second-level allowance/optional claimer for older horses on the turf seemingly goes through #1 Chasing the Crown (3-1). Although coming off a 4 1/2-month break, the Mike Maker trainee was narrowly beaten on the tougher New York and Kentucky circuits in his last three. His second at Belmont last June stands out, in particular, as he missed by three parts of a length to Easter, who is now one of California's top turf runners after winning the Seabiscuit H. (G2) and San Gabriel (G2). Chasing the Crown is a single for me.