Friday, January 18, 2019

LeComte Stakes Racing Roundup

©2019 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.

The Road to the Kentucky Derby takes us to Louisiana, Saturday, where PLUS QUE PARFAIT will go to the starting gate as the lukewarm 9-2 morning-line favorite in the 75th running of the $200,000 LeComte Stakes (G3) at the Fair Grounds Race Course. Post time is 6:49 ET.
In four starts, Plus Que Parfait has never been out of the money for trainer Brendan Walsh and comes into this race off a second-place finish in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2). Here’s the video and chart call of that race:

PLUS QUE PARFAIT was unhurried early on, swung into the six path in the far turn, rallied into the lane, made a bid three wide in the stretch while under a drive but did not have enough in the late stages.

Plus Que Parfait ran toward the back of the herd going into the far turn when he made nice move and closed ground in the stretch but could not catch the leader in time to narrowly lose by a neck.
Point of Entry, the sire of Plus Que Parfait, was a multiple graded stakes winner that compiled a 9-3-1 record in 18 starts with $2,494,490 in career earnings.
Point of Entry did not race until he was three years old compiling a 2-2-1 record in eight starts with a fourth-place finish in the Curlin Stakes.
His best distance was at nine furlongs and beyond, and, at the age of four, Point of Entry was 5-1-0 in seven starts with graded-stakes wins in the Man o’ War Stakes (G1), Sword Dancer Invitational Stakes (G1), Joe Hirsch Turf Invitational Stakes (G1) and Elkhorn Stakes (G2). He finished second in the 12-furlong Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1).
At the age of five, Point of Entry was 2-0-0 in three starts with wins in the Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap (G1) and the Gulfstream Park Handicap (G1).
Plus Que Parfait has an A Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and he’s the third-best bred horse in this race.
I look for Plus Que Parfait to run a good race.
TIGHT TEN (8-1) comes into this race for trainer Steve Asmussen with a 1-2-0 record in four starts including a ninth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Stakes (G1) to close his racing season as a two-year-old. Here’s the video and chart call of that race.

TIGHT TEN steadied and hit the rail into the first turn and was done early.

Tight Ten is better than his juvenile performance indicates. When he was steadied in the first turn, he lost position and that may have impacted his will to win. In his three previous starts he had finished no worse than second and he ran second in both the Iroquois Stakes (G3) and Saratoga Special Stakes (G2).
Tapit, the sire of Tight Ten, was a multiple graded stakes winner that compiled a 3-0-0 record in six starts with $557,300 in career earnings.
As a two-year-old, Tapit was undefeated in two starts including a win in the Laurel Futurity (G3).  Tapit was troubled by a lung infection for much of his three-year-old season but he did win the nine-furlong Wood Memorial Stakes (G1) in route to a ninth-place finish in the 2004 Kentucky Derby.
At stud, Tapit has sired numerous graded stakes winners including the Belmont Stakes (G1) champions Tapwrit (2017), Creator (2016) and Tonalist (2014).
With an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® Tight Ten has the best breeding of all the horses in this herd and he has room to improve in his first start of the three-year-old racing season.
WAR OF WILL (6-1) comes into this race with a 1-1-1 record in five starts including a nice maiden win to close his two-year-old racing season for trainer Mark Casse. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:

WAR OF WILL stalked the pace early, shifted into the three path in the far turn then drew off down the lane while ridden out.

War of Will ran on the outside tracking the leaders to the far turn when he made a nice move and pulled away to win by an easy five lengths – still full of run.
War Front, the sire of War of Will, was a graded-stakes winner of the 8½-furlong Princelet Stakes which he won by 8-lengths in a final time of 1:41.79. However, most of War Front’s other races were in sprints where he had a penchant for finishing second. However, he did win the 6-furlong Alfred G. Vanderbilt Breeders’ Cup Handicap (G2) by 2½-lengths.
At stud, War Front sired Soldat, winner of the 2010 With Anticipation Stakes (G2) and second-place finisher in the 8-furlong Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Stakes (G2), and 8½-furlong Pilgrim Stakes (G3). Soldat went on as a three-year-old to win the 9-furlong Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2).
He also sired The Factor, a speedy colt who as a two-year-old won the 7-furlong San Vicente Stakes (G2) and went on as a three-year-old to win the 8½-furlong Rebel Stakes (G2).
War of Will has an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and his profile ranks him second in this herd of runners. He’s been training well at Fair Grounds and a recent bullet work out could have him ready to run a good race and, perhaps, upset at a nice price.
A long shot I like is MALPAIS (12-1) who comes into this race with a 1-0-1 record in two starts for trainer Joe Sharp including a nice maiden in last out. Here’s the video and chart call:

MALPAIS disputed the pace between horses, was eased back off the pace at the seven-sixteenths, chased two then three wide on the turn, made a bid at the quarter pole then took the advantage, kicked clear under a drive near the three sixteenths and drew away under steady urging.

Malpais showed good speed running just off the leaders then pulled away in the stretch to easily win by 5¾ lengths.
Hard Spun, the sire of Malpais, was undefeated in three starts as a two-year-old, including wins in the Port Penn Stakes and Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes. As a three-year-old on the Derby trail, Hard spun was 2-0-0 in three starts including wins in the Le Comte Stakes (G3) and Lane’s End Stakes (G2).
Hard Spun went on to finish second in the Kentucky Derby (G1), third in the Preakness Stakes (G1) and rounded out his classic campaign with a fourth-place finish in the Belmont Stakes (G1).
As a stallion, Hard Spun’s best runner on the Kentucky Derby trail was Wicked Strong who finished fourth in the 2014 Derby. His other top runners include: Le Romain, Hard Aces, Hard Not to Like, Someries, Gatting, King’s Spun, Promising Run, Questing and Hardest Core.
Malpais has an E Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® but his Behavior Index potentially moves him up, ranking him third in this race.
Honorable mention goes to Tackett (6-1), Admire (20-1), Night Ops (30-1) and Wicked Indeed (12-1) who could, perhaps, be a factor in the exotics.


A total of 35 prep races comprise the USA Road to the Kentucky Derby. In addition, there are seven races on the European road and four races on the Japan road to Derby glory.


Ranking, total points, Trainer, Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1. Game Winner, 30, Bob Baffert, $1,460,000
2. Knicks Go, 18, Ben Colebrook, $656,085
3. Signalman, 18, Ken McPeek, $392,840
4. Gunmetal Gray, 14, Jerry Hollendorfer, $180,000
5. Long Range Toddy, 10, Steve Asmussen, $300,000
6. Mind Control, 10, George Sacco, $295,000
7. Complexity, 10, Chad Brown, $275,000
8. Improbable, 10, Bob Baffert, $239,520
9. Maximus Mischief, 10, “Butch” Reid, Jr., $137,500
10. Cairo Cat, 10, Ken McPeek, $86,490
11. Mucho Gusto, 4, Bob Baffert, $120,000
12. Our Braintrust, 4, Cathal Lynch, $117,000
13. Code of Honor, 4, Shug McGaughey, $100,000
14. Network Effect, 4, Chad Brown, $90,000
15. Bankit, 4, Steve Asmussen, $80,000
16. Tight Ten, 4, Steve Asmussen, $67,900
17. Sueno, 4, Keith Desormeaux, $65,000
18. Plus Que Parfait, 4, Brendan Walsh, $36,400
19. Call Paul, 2, Jason Servis, $194,000
20. Mr. Money, 2, Bret Calhoun, $100,000


Ranking, total points, Trainer, Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1. Royal Marine (IRE), 10, Saeed bin Suroor, $264,968
2. Magna Grecia (IRE), 10, Aidan O’Brien, $185,000
3. Mohawk (IRE), 10, Aidan O’Brien, $128,702
4. Japan (GB), 10, Aidan O’Brien, $75,316
5. Phoenix of Spain (IRE), 4, Charlie Hill, $157,944
6. Broome (IRE), 4, Aidan O’Brien, $140,871
7. Sydney Opera House (GB), 4, Aidan O’Brien, $40,956
8. Mount Everest (IRE), 4, Aidan O’Brien, $24,254
9. Anodor (FR), 2, Freddie Head, $99,215
10. Western Australian (IRE), 2, Aidan O’Brien, $43,084
11. Cape of Good Hope (IRE), 2, Aidan O’Brien, $41,515
12. Power of Now (IRE), 2, Michael O’Callaghan, $11,489
13. Boitron (FR), 1, Richard Hannon, $44,917
14. Victory Command, (IRE), 1, Mark Johnston, $35,108
15. Circus Maximus (IRE), 1, Aidan O’Brien, $24,368
16. Sovereign (IRE), 1, Aiden O’Brien, $5,106


Ranking, total points, Trainer, Earnings
1. Nova Lenda (JPN), 20, Takashi Saito, $446,285
2. f-Make Happy, 12, Koichi Shinkai, $184,181
3. Derma Louvre (JPN), 8, Hirofumi Toda, $447,672
4. Gal Vihara, 4, Kiyoshi Hagiwara, $216,271
2. Kingen (JPN), 4, Kunihide Matsuda, $97,867
3. Johaan (JPN), 2, Yasuyuki Takahashi, $72,900
4. Romantico (JPN), 1, Kazuo Fujisawa, $91,245

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