Fair Grounds: Betting exotic wagers in the Lecomte

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

January 13th, 2021

You can usually count on Fair Grounds to draw deep fields for their Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races, and Saturday’s renewal of the $200,000 Lecomte (G3) is no exception.

The 1 1/16-mile race has drawn an evenly matched field of 11, so exotic wagers like the trifecta and superfecta promise to produce big payoffs.

Let’s break down the key contenders and assemble exotic tickets on a $60 budget.

Top choice

#10 Mandaloun (3-1) has gone 2-for-2 for high-percentage trainer Brad Cox, most recently putting up a 92 Brisnet Speed rating when rallying to victory in a 7-furlong allowance sprint at Churchill Downs. The son of Into Mischief has stamina on the dam side of his pedigree, and Cox wins at a 27% rate with horses running long for the first time, so stretching out in distance shouldn’t be an issue. In terms of Brisnet Speed ratings, Mandaloun is already one of the fastest runners in the field, stamping the Juddmonte Farms homebred as the horse to beat with hot jockey Florent Geroux aboard.

In the money

#1 Midnight Bourbon (7-2) is the most accomplished horse in the field after placing in the Iroquois (G3) and Champagne (G1) on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. A half-brother to three graded stakes winner, including the Fair Grounds-loving Louisiana Derby (G2) winner Girvin, Midnight Bourbon is a logical candidate to finish in the money for two-time Lecomte-winning trainer Steve Asmussen.

#7 Santa Cruiser (6-1) was beaten by quality competition in his first two starts, then stretched out to a mile and wired a maiden race at Churchill Downs. The son of Dialed In set quick fractions to defeat fellow Lecomte entrant #5 Regular Guy (10-1) with a sharp 91 Brisnet Speed rating, and a repeat of this effort will make Santa Cruiser dangerous for hot trainer Keith Desormeaux.

#9 Manor House (8-1) smashed his debut at Laurel Park by 12 1/4 lengths, albeit while under a hard drive through most of the homestretch. The front-running colt could be any kind for trainer Michael Stidham (a 24% winner at Fair Grounds this meet), but he’s cross-entered in a Saturday allowance race at Fair Grounds and isn’t guaranteed to start in the Lecomte.

Fringe contenders

#2 Arabian Prince (6-1) has already made an impact on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, rallying to finish third in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) behind the multiple Grade 1-placed Keepmeinmind. But as a pure deep closer with little in the way of tactical speed, Arabian Prince will be at the mercy of the pace on Saturday, so a minor award may be the ceiling for his potential.

#4 Proxy (6-1) is 2-for-2 at Fair Grounds, winning maiden and allowance races by a minimum of two lengths. While not the fastest horse on paper, this Godolphin homebred is thoroughly proven racing around two turns and retains the services of Fair Grounds’ leading rider Murrill Mitchell. The only question is how this speedy front-runner will handle increased pace pressure, since he escaped with easy leads in both of his victories.

#11 Dyn O Mite (30-1) finished fifth in his two previous stakes starts, but he can be forgiven since he was facing quality competition in the Del Mar Futurity (G1) and American Pharoah (G1). The second Keith Desormeaux trainee enters off back-to-back victories, including a 1-mile allowance race at Fair Grounds, and won’t need a big step forward to finish on the board.

The tickets

$3 trifecta: 10 with 1,7,9 with 1,7,9 ($18)
$2 trifecta: 10 with 1,7,9 with 2,4,11 ($18)
$0.50-cent superfecta: 10 with 1,7,9 with 1,7,9 with 1,2,4,7,9,11 ($12)
$0.50-cent superfecta: 10 with 1,7,9 with 1,2,4,7,9,11 with 1,7,9 ($12)
Total: $60

Good luck!