Fair Grounds value plays for January 18
Spot Plays for Lecomte Stakes day!
A total of six stakes races will be contested on Saturday at Fair Grounds led by the $200,000 Lecomte S. (G3). The 13-race card offers a plethora of well-matched and talented fields, and I have a handful of value horses that I will be centering my day around.
Race 4 -- Fair Grounds Allowance
#1 Chestertown (4-1) is an imposing contender for Steve Asmussen. The $2 million purchase graduated at Aqueduct second time out, and the Tapit colt has trained well locally in the interim.
But I am siding with #6 Race Driver (7-2) on this occasion. Trained by Mark Casse, the improving son of Distorted Humor exits an allowance fourth against a deep field on the oval most recently, and he could get the best trip in the compact cast under Geroux.
Race 5 -- Fair Grounds Allowance
Turf tussle for the boys attracted an overflow field of 16. #5 Uncapped (15-1) is not in great current form, but I believe that he will make a big impact in the race at sizable odds. Grade 3-placed colt has never run long on the lawn and he will thrive with the added distance today.
Chestnut has a big turn of foot on his best day, and trainer Brendan Walsh has a lot of success with the sprint-to-route transition. Kentucky-bred will be closer to the pace than usual under Brian Hernandez, Jr.
Race 6 -- Fair Grounds Maiden Special Weight
Nine three-year-old fillies will vie in the 6-furlong affair. #3 Legal Limit (6-1) is the one I will be keying in the dash at an expected healthy price. Norm Casse pupil is bred to be a precocious one-turn type, and I love the pattern of works on the surface in advance of her debut. Gabe Saez riding the Into Mischief filly is a plus as well.
Race 8 -- Fair Grounds Maiden Special Weight
A field of nine sophomore colts will go 6 panels in a competitive field. #9 Lucky Curlin (4-1) was a clear second behind a sharp winner in his local debut last time out. Casse charge is winless from six career outings, but he looks like he is coming into his own in advance of this dash. The colt will offer good value from the outside post.
Race 13 -- Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds
Excellent field of 14 will vie in the feature. I loved the heart and athleticism that #7 Halo Again (15-1) displayed in the Coronation Futurity at Woodbine against a nice field in his 2019 finale. $600,000 son of Speightstown shows four solid morning moves in the interim and picks up Joe Talamo.
The Ontario-bred might need a bit more ground and seasoning to be at his peak, but I believe that he is the top prospect in the field and will put forth a huge effort at a square price.