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Roman Unbridled was a winner of the Big Drama Stakes (Photo courtesy of Coady Photography).

The Grade 3, $200,000 Lecomte Stakes is the first of two prep races on the road to the March 29, $1 million Louisiana Derby, the next being the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes on Feb. 22. The Lecomte brings together a field of nine 3-year-olds with potential to make their mark in the division. The field is highlighted by recent Big Drama Stakes winner Roman Unbridled, who led from start to finish and didn't give any of his rivals a chance when winning by 8 1/2 lengths. Albano enters the Lecomte off a stakes win as well, having won the Sugar Bowl Stakes last month at Fair Grounds. Got Shades, running on dirt for the first time in his sixth career start, is another horse with stakes winning credentials. He won both the Sunny's Halo Stakes and Sunday Silence Stakes last summer on the turf, his most recent effort a fifth of 13 finish (but with traffic trouble) in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf. Smarty's Echo made an impression in the division last fall when second in the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity and returns from two and a half months off following a lackluster 10th place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Both Rainbow Trip and Gold Hawk enter the Lecomte off allowance victories and might be able to step up into stakes company and compete well, while Vicar's In Trouble broke his maiden impressively by 13 lengths last month like a horse with a bright future. Plug Catcher finished third in the race won by Gold Hawk last month and has room to improve. Silent Ruler rounds out the field, still searching for his first career win as he was the original winner in a race last month only to be disqualified for interference.

Roman Unbridled gets the ground saving rail post for this two-turn race, which can be an edge for a horse with early speed. Roman Unbridled drew the rail for his last start, taking the lead from the moment the gates opened and leading handily by 8 ½ lengths to take the Big Drama Stakes with a career best and field high last race 102 Equibase Speed Figure. That being his first race as a 3-year-old and with improvement likely in his second race after a freshening, Roman Unbridled should be the one to beat, in this year's Lecomte Stakes.

Gold Hawk is a perfect two-for-two in his career, his most recent win coming on Dec. 27 at Fair Grounds and at the mile and seventy yard distance of the Lecomte. Certainly there is something to be said for having familiarity with the track and the distance. Having earned a strong 94 figure in that race, Gold Hawk could take another step forward and put his name in the hat to be a favorite for the Risen Star Stakes next month and the Louisiana Derby a month later.


Gold Hawk

Photo courtesy of Melissa Bauer-Herzog

Vicar's In Trouble was also very impressive in a victory last month, drawing off to win by 13 lengths after leading from the start. The 100 figure earned automatically makes him competitive with the main contenders in the Lecomte if he can repeat or improve upon it. That win came at the distance of six furlongs and although it was at Fair Grounds, Vicar's In Trouble is giving away a bit of distance experience to Roman Unbridled and to Gold Hawk, both who have won around two turns previously.

The rest of the field, with their best representative Equibase Speed Figures, is Albano (90), Got Shades (96), Plug Catcher (88), Rainbow Trip (88), Silent Ruler (76), and Smarty's Echo (89).

My Selections:

Roman Unbridled

Gold Hawk

Vicar's In Trouble

$200,000 Lecomte Stakes

January 18, Fair Grounds, Race 9, 5:23 p.m. E.T.

3-year-olds over 1 mile and yards on dirt







Roman Unbridled (KY)

K. Smith


Chad Cook


Rainbow Trip (KY)

C. Landeros


D. Pish


Got Shades (KY)

R. Albarado


D. Pish


Gold Hawk (KY)

S. Bridgmohan


S. Asmussen


Smarty's Echo (KY)

J. Graham


A. Smith


Albano (KY)

K. Clark


J. Jones


Vicar's In Trouble (LA)

R. Napravnik


M. Maker


Silent Ruler (KY)

M. Guidry


J. Desormeaux


Plug Catcher (KY)

M. Mena


W. Calhoun


Image Description

Ellis Starr

National Racing Analyst for Equibase, Fan Education Specialist, Bettor, Magister of Equine Prognostication (Handicapper).

Image Description

Ellis Starr

National Racing Analyst for Equibase, Fan Education Specialist, Bettor, Magister of Equine Prognostication (Handicapper).

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