Player Quick Pick: Fairgrounds for 1/17/2015

Profile Picture: D.S. Williamson

D.S. Williamson

January 17th, 2015

The three-year-old prep races start off in full force this Saturday with the ever popular LeComte Stakes at the Fairgrounds in Louisiana. The favorite is the Neil Howard trained Eagle. But, Eagle breaks from post-position 11 and as every horseplayer who knows the Triple Crown will tell you, three-year-olds can get very good in a hurry. By no means is the chalk a lock in this competitive three-year-old race.

Fairgrounds 11 6:24 pm ET

G3 LeComte Stakes for 3 year olds going 1 mi. 70yds

6 – Savoy Stomp – 8/1 – This $875,000 purchase is trained by Todd Pletcher and was sired by the fantastic Medaglia D’Oro, who has produced 11 Grade 1 winners and stands for $125,000 at Darley in Lexington, Kentucky. Savoy Stomp broke his maiden in fine fashion but he failed miserably when finishing fifth and losing by 21 lengths to the ultra-impressive Blofeld in the Grade 2 Nashua at Aqueduct in his second lifetime race. In his third lifetime race, Savoy Stomp finished third by 7 lengths in a $75,000 optional claimer. This is the first time that he’ll be running with Lasix and jockey Mike Smith flies in from the West Coast to take the call. The price tag implies that Pletcher saw something in him. He looks like a good one to build a few exotic tickets around if you believe improvement is imminent.

2 – Tiznow RJ – 5/1 – This Steve Asmussen trainee was sired by the venerable Tiznow, the only two time winner of the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Tiznow was a late-blooming three-year-old, he won the Affirmed Stakes while his peers were running in the Triple Crown races, but Tiznow RJ might be altogether different since he broke his maiden in his last start by an impressive 13 lengths in front-running fashion. He will need to improve; every horse entered will have to in order to win the LeComte, but that could happen on Saturday. Tiznow RJ has been working extremely well at the Fairgrounds and Asmussen has been putting a bottom underneath him with plenty of 4 furlong and 5 furlong moves and a stunning 6 furlong move in 1:13.2 on January 5. His natural speed should put him in the hunt early if not on the lead. If the 6 furlong work did the trick, a gate-to-wire win is not impossible.

7- Runhappy – 8/1 – This Laura Wholers trainee could definitely be in over his head, but he showed such incredible acceleration in his maiden winning score, his first lifetime race, that it’s difficult to keep him out of the mix in this. Runhappy, a $200,000 Keeneland September purchase in 2013 sired by Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver, was in fifth place by 2.5 lengths in a maiden race over the artificial surface at Turfway Park at the first call. By the second call, Runhappy was ahead by 5 lengths. He ended up winning the race by 8 lengths. He’s been working steadily for this and even though the odds will be high, they should since he only has the maiden race to his credit, Runhappy could simply be one of those freakishly good horses. At off odds likely higher than the 8 to 1 morning line, the Wholers trainee deserves a long look to win the LeComte on Saturday.