Scully: Pick 3 plays on Lecomte Day

January 19th, 2024

The Road to the Kentucky Derby series passes through New Orleans on Saturday, and point values are elevated (20-10-6-4-2) for the $300,000 Lecomte (G3) at Fair Grounds.

Gun Runner S. winner Track Phantom is back for the Lecomte, and I like his chances to make it two straight stakes wins, but my focus will be on a pair of Pick 3 plays elsewhere on the 13-race program.

$5 Pick 3 (Races 6-8): 7,8 with 5,7,10,11 with 7 ($40)

Race 6

#7 Plum Tricky (10-1) rates top billing in the six-furlong maiden special weight. Bet down in her debut, the three-year-old filly offered a nice middle move after breaking slowly, gaining valuable experience losing by a three-length margin, and Dallas Stewart (15% win second-time out) adds Luis Saez. #8 Yes Indeed (3-1), an $850,000 purchase training forwardly in preparation for her career debut, will be added to the equation.

Race 7

#7 Point Proven (8-1) appears ready for a big effort following a rallying third in the Woodchopper S. in late December. #5 Wonderful Justice (10-1), 2-for-2 over the course including a stakes win, will be used in his return for Brad Cox, and I respect the chances of #10 Colosseo (30-1) and #11 Kentucky Ghost (6-1). I’m fading Chasing the Crown at expected short odds.

Race 8 

One of two for Cox, #7 Exploration (5-2) has been outworking stablemate Cornishman and appears well-meant for his career debut. The $900,000 Curlin colt hails from a mare who is a sibling to five graded stakes winners, including a pair of Grade 1 scorers.

$5 Pick 3 (Races 10-12): 1,3 with 5,6,8 with 3 ($30)

Race 10 – Silverbulletday

#1 Perfect Shot (4-1) exits a sharp maiden tally at Churchill Downs in late November, and the progressing daughter of Gun Runner has the tactical ability to race up close to a projected moderate pace with Joel Rosario. #3 Miss Code West (9-2) won’t be omitted following a sharp tally over open rivals in the Trapeze S. at Remington Park. A convincing winner of her first three starts over statebred rivals, the Oklahoma-bred miss showed improved speed leading wire to wire last time, drawing off spectacularly late while under wraps, and she ran nearly a second faster than Kentucky Derby prospect Otto the Conqueror, winner of the Springboard Mile a race later. I expect to see regular rider Floyd Wethey Jr. hustling Miss Code West from the starting gate.

Race 11 – Colonel E.R. Bradley

I’m not keen on the top two choices on the morning line, Beatbox and Strong Quality. #5 English Tavern (6-1), who has run well in his last two turf outings, rates the edge, and #6 Who Took the Money (8-1) and #8 Rising Empire (5-1) will also be included.

Race 12 – Louisiana (G3)

#3 Saudi Crown (8-5) came to hand after last year’s Triple Crown, recording a nose second to Forte in the Jim Dandy (G2) prior to winning the Pennsylvania Derby (G1), and longer distances will be the key for him as a four-year-old. Saturday’s 1 1/16-mile trip has proven favorable for the gray colt, and I like his chances on the front end here with Florent Geroux.