©2017 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.
The Road to the Kentucky Derby takes us to Louisiana, Saturday, where Untrapped will go to the starting gate as the lukewarm 9-2 morning-line favorite in the 73rd running of the $200,000 LeComte Stakes (G3) at the Fair Grounds Race Course.
Untrapped has yet to run in a route race and he’s stepping up in class for trainer Steve Asmussen. He comes into this race with a 1-1-0 record in two starts including a win in his last race by 5¼ lengths. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
UNTRAPPED ducked out sharply at the start, stalked the pace early, swung into the six path in the turn, took over command in the stretch and drew off late under a steady drive.
Untrapped chased the leaders who set fast fractions and then convincingly took over in the stretch. His breeding suggests that the increased distance will not be a problem.
Trappe Shot, the sire of Untrapped, raced mostly in sprints from the age of two to four, compiling a 6-2-0 record in 12 starts with $703,884 in career earnings. However, he did stretch out to route racing winning the 8½ furlong Long Branch Stakes and finishing second in the nine furlong Izod Haskell Invitational (G1).
Trappe Shot’s best runners to date on the Kentucky Derby Trail have been My Man Sam who finished second in the nine furlong 2016 Toyota Blue Grass (G1) stakes and Wild Shot who finished third last fall in the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity Stakes (G1) and second in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2).
Untrapped has room to improve in his first start as a three year old and I look for him to be competitive.
In four starts, Guest Suite (5-1) has always finished in the money and comes into this race with a 2-0-2 record for trainer Neil Howard including a 6¼ length romp in his last race. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
GUEST SUITE stalked the pace early, made a bid between horses entering the lane, took over command in the stretch and drew off late under a steady drive.
Guest Suite looked good when he drew away at the quarter pole and his finish time of 1:36.36 is what I like to see in a young horse on the Derby trail. In addition, he’s battle tested finishing a respectable third to McCraken (ranked ninth in Derby point standings) in the Street Sense Stakes.
Quality Road, the sire of Guest Suite, easily won his maiden debut, and only race as a two year old, in November of 2008. In his debut as a three year old, he finished second in an allowance race at Gulfstream Park in January. He followed that in February with a 4¼ length win in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) and in March, Quality Road ran to a 1¾ length win over Dunkirk in the Florida Derby (G1).
In late April, Quality Road developed a quarter crack on his right front foot and that prevented him from running in the Kentucky Derby. After a three month break, Quality Road returned to racing to win the Amsterdam Stakes (G2).
Quality Road completed his racing career with wins in the Hal’s Hope Stakes (G3), Donn Handicap (G1), Metropolitan Handicap (G1) and Woodward Stakes (G1). He finished third in the Travers Stakes (G1) and second in both the Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes (G1) and Whitney Handiciap (G1).
Guest Suite has yet to earn graded stakes honors but a repeat of his win at Churchill Downs last November will make him tough in the LeComte Stakes (G3).
Saint’s Fan (5-1) comes into this race undefeated in two starts for owner and trainer Dallas Stewart including a two length victory in the Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile Stakes. Here’s the video and chart call of his last race:
SAINT’S FAN broke about two lengths slow, settled outside under some urging, was urged along four wide on the turn, rallied outside into upper stretch, closed well to make a bid under left-handed whip at the eighth-pole, switched to a right-handed whip at the sixteenth-pole then moved clear under a hand ride in a quality score.
Saint’s Fan has yet to run in a route race and he’s stepping up in class. However, his C Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® makes him competitive in this race.
Tale of Ekati, the sire of Saint’s Fan, was a multiple graded stakes winner that compiled a 5-1-0 record in 15 starts with $1,182,992 in career earnings.
As a two year old, Tale of Ekati was 2-1-0 in three stars with a win in the Futurity Stakes (G2) and a second-place finish in the Sanford Stakes (G2).
As a three year old, Tale of Ekati was 3-0-0 in eight starts with a win in the 9-furlong Wood Memorial Stakes (G1) in route to a fourth-place finish in the 2008 Kentucky Derby. His other stakes wins include the one mile Jerome Handicap (G2) and the Hill ‘N’ Dale Cigar Mile Handicap (G1).
Tale of Ekati made three starts as a four year old but did not finish in the money.
Saint’s Fan has room to improve in his first start as a three year old and I look for him to run a good race.
A long shot I like is Totality (12-1) who comes into this race with a 1-1-0 record in three starts for trainer Steve Asmussen including a second-place finish in the Remington Springboard Mile Stakes. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
TOTALITY was unhurried early then saved ground on the far turn then was inside for the stretch and was second best in the best.
Totality raced mid pack until the top of the stretch when he made his move but it was not enough to secure the win. With an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® score Totality is the best bred colt in this race but it appears that has yet to fully live up to his breeding and he’ll need to be more engaged in the LeComte.
Tapit, the sire of Totality, was undefeated in two starts as a 2-year-old including a win in the Laurel Futurity (G3). As a 3-year-old, Tapit was troubled by a lung infection for much of the season but did win the nine-furlong Wood Memorial Stakes (G1) in route to a ninth-place finish in the 2004 Kentucky Derby.
Totality has room to improve in his first start as a three year old and I look for him to be competitive.
Under the points system implemented by Churchill Downs to determine which horses will qualify to enter the Kentucky Derby starting gate, the winner of the LeComte Stakes (G3) will receive 10 points, the second-place finisher will receive 4 points, the third-place finisher will receive 2 points and the fourth-place finisher will receive one point. Here’s a look at the current top twenty Derby qualifiers:
2017 KENTUCKY DERBY LEADERBOARD
Ranking, total points, Trainer, Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1. Classic Empire, 30, Mark Casse, $1,459,520
2. Gormley, 20, John Sherriffs, $260,000
3. Practical Joke, 14, Chad Brown, $690,000
4. Uncontested, 11, Wayne Catalano, $99,300
5. Gunnevera, 10, Antonio Sano, $738,600
6. Lookin At Lee, 10, Steve Asmussen, $275,600
7. Mastery, 10, Bob Baffert, $240,000
8. Mo Town, 10, Tony Dutrow, $180,000
9. McCraken, 10, Ian Wilkes, $165,048
10. El Areeb, 10, Cathal Lynch, $150,000
11. Wild Shot, 6, Rusty Arnold, II, $87,200
12. No Dozing, 5, Arnaud Delacour, $85,000
13. Klimt, 4, Art Sherman, $380,000
14. Hot Sean, 4, Bob Baffert, $180,000
15. Dangerfield, 2, Doug O’Neill, $168,500
16. Syndergaard, 4, Todd Pletcher, $160,000
17. Irap, 4, Doug O’Neill, $60,000
18. Petrov, 4, Ron Moquett, $50,000
19. Bonus Points, 4, Todd Pletcher, $40,000
20. American Anthem, 4, Bob Baffert, $20,000
x-Not This Time, retired to stud at Taylor Made Farm.
In addition to the current top 20, Churchill Downs has partnered with the Japan Racing Association to feature the Cattleya Sho Stakes and Hayacinth Stakes as two qualifying races in the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby. The horse with the most points from those races will receive an invitation to compete in the 2017 Kentucky Derby.
2017 JAPAN ROAD TO KENTUCKY DERBY LEADERBOARD
Ranking, total points, Trainer, Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1. Mont Saint Legame (JPN), 40, Koji Maki, $90,154
2. Caucus (JPN), 16, Hideaki Fujiwara, $35,850
3. Blane Eclat, 8, Ryo Takei, $22,340
4. Lavapies (JPN), 4, Ryuji Okub, $52,163