Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Lecomte draws field of nine

GOOD LUCK!! and have A GREAT DAY!!!

Saturday is "Road to the Derby" Kickoff Day at the historic New Orleans Fair Grounds, with nine promising three-year-olds entered in the $100,000 Lecomte S. (G3). The one-mile contest is the first of three local preps for the May 2 Kentucky Derby (G1). The Lecomte is followed by the $200,000 Risen Star S. (G3) on February 7 and the $600,000 Louisiana Derby (G2) on March 14, both at 1 1/16 miles.

Smashing Churchill Downs maiden winner INDYGO MOUNTAIN (A.P. Indy) has been installed as the 3-1 favorite on the Lecomte morning line. In that mile maiden, the Bret Calhoun trainee commanded attention when romping by 6 1/4 lengths in a final time of 1:35 2/5. The chestnut was supposed to take part in an entry-level allowance at Fair Grounds on December 18, but he was scratched during the post parade because of a minor foot problem.

Indygo Mountain missed only a few days of training, and since that hiccup, he has recorded two works at Fair Grounds. On Monday, he turned in his final major move for the Lecomte, breezing five furlongs in 1:03 2/5 on the sloppy track. Jamie Theriot, who guided Indygo Mountain to his impressive score beneath the Twin Spires, will be back aboard Saturday.

The top two finishers from the mile allowance that went off without Indygo Mountain -- UNO MAS (Macho Uno) and FRIESAN FIRE (A.P. Indy), respectively -- will renew rivalry in the Lecomte.

The Larry Jones-trained Friesan Fire was dispatched as the 2-5 favorite that day, largely on the strength of his third in the Futurity S. (G2) and fourth in the Nashua S. (G3). Friesan Fire held a daylight lead early in the allowance, but he was ultimately overtaken by Uno Mas and settled for second, 11 1/4 lengths clear of the third-place finisher. The bay will try to turn the tables in the Lecomte, where he will break from the rail beneath new rider Gabriel Saez.

Friesan Fire also posted a Monday drill at Fair Grounds, splashing a half-mile in a quick :48 3/5, tying for the second-fastest of 69 works at the distance.

Uno Mas opened his career with three losses on Polytrack, but the Steve Asmussen pupil is two-for-two since switching to the dirt at Fair Grounds. A 4 1/4-length maiden winner going six furlongs, the bay successfully stepped up in trip to defeat Friesan Fire by 2 1/4 lengths. Uno Mas will once again team up with jockey Shaun Bridgmohan.

Asmussen will also saddle PROFESSOR Z (Grand Slam), who brings a two-race winning streak from Aqueduct. After breaking his maiden by 2 1/2 lengths in a seven-furlong event, the Zayat Stables colt stretched out to one mile and 70 yards and rolled to a 5 3/4-length tally in allowance/optional claiming company. Professor Z represents the same owner/trainer combination as last year's Lecomte winner, Z Fortune (Siphon [Brz]), who had also raced in New York before shipping to Fair Grounds. Brian Hernandez Jr. picks up the mount.

AU MOON (Malibu Moon) comes off an eye-catching maiden victory at Churchill. The David Carroll charge galloped by 5 3/4 lengths in that 1 1/8-mile event, and he will be cutting back in distance here with regular rider Julien Leparoux. Au Moon covered four furlongs in :50 2/5 on the Fair Grounds slop Monday.

PATENA (Seeking the Gold), a game winner of the 1 1/16-mile Display S. on Woodbine's Polytrack, will be trying dirt for the first time. So will DYNAMIC FORCE (Dance Master), a Woodbine maiden winner who captured a turf allowance in his Fair Grounds debut.

Completing the field are the sprinters BIG PUSH (Black Mambo) and CITIZEN (City Zip), the respective second- and fourth-place finishers in the six-furlong Sugar Bowl S. at this venue.

GOOD LUCK!! and have A GREAT DAY!!!

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