Fair Grounds Stakes Race Preview for Jan. 13, 2018

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D.S. Williamson

January 12th, 2018

3 big stakes races take place at the Fair Grounds this Saturday, Jan. 13. One of the stakes races is the Grade 3 LeComte Stakes. The LeComte is Fair Grounds' prep for the Louisiana Derby, one of the Kentucky Derby's most important prep races. Whomever wins the LeComte could go off as the favorite in the Louisiana Derby in March.

What's interesting about this year's Louisiana Derby is that great California trainer Jerry Hollendorfer has entered Instilled Regard, the official second place finisher in the Grade 1 Cash Call Futurity. Wonder Gadot is cross-entered in both the Silverbulletday Stakes and the LeComte Stakes.

Check out my analysis for all 3 of this Saturday's big stakes races at the Fair Grounds!

Race 7 - Silverbulletday Stakes

3-year-old fillies

1 mile 70 yards on dirt

Post: 5:05 pm ET

Analysis: If Wonder Gadot stays in the Silverbulletday, she figures to go off as the less than 2 to 1 favorite. Her morning line is 2 to 1. Whether Wonder Gadot stays in the race or not, I'm laying my money on 8 to 1 morning line America's Tale.

The daughter of Gio Ponti broke her maiden over Churchill's dirt in a $60K maiden special weight race on Nov. 19. She broke her maiden by burying the field by 13 lengths. Trainer Bernard Flint put a nice prep into America's Tale for this on Dec. 17. She won that race, at the 1 mile and 70 yards distance, by 8.75 lengths. I'll give her a huge shot to finish first on Saturday.

Stellar Moon is sired by Tapit. So far, she's been running at 6 furlongs or less. Because she's a Godolphin horse, and because she's trained by 24% at the meet horseman Michael Stidham, I believe she'll relish going a route of ground. I'm using her for sure.

If Wonder Gadot stays in the Silverbulletday, and she should, it's difficult to see her finishing worse than third. Third place BC Juvenile Fillies finisher Blonde Bomber might need a race.

1. America's Tale

2. Stellar Moon

3. Wonder Gadot

Race 8 - Colonel E.R. Bradley Handicap

4-year-olds and up

1 1/16 miles on turf

Post:  5:35 pm ET

Analysis: I've added the 2017 King Edwards Stakes where Tower of Texas finished third. Tower of Texas is a 7/2 shot to take home the Colonel E.R. Bradley Handicap on Saturday. This race is way too difficult to put money on the chalk.

After studying the Brisnet form, it sure appears as if 12 to 1 on the morning line Avanzare has as good of a shot as any to win The Colonel E.R. Bradley Stakes. Jockey Adam Beschizza has been fantastic since bringing his tack from the UK to the Fair Grounds. The trainer switch from Thomas Procter to excellent Louisiana horseman Karl Broberg doesn't bother me at all.

At 6 to 1 on the morning line, Monster Bea might go off at overlay odds on Jan. 13. The Mark Casse trained 5-year-old gelding picks up Johnny V. to ride. That alone gives me confidence of a Top 3 finish.

Who do I like for the show money? I'm going with Thatcher Street. Although he's got the outside post, I like that Brian Hernandez Jr. takes the call. Also, horses tend to break slowly in these stakes races on the lawn. That means Hernandez should be able to get to the rail without losing too much ground.

1. Avanzare

2. Monster Bea

3. Thatcher Street

Race 9 - Grade 3 LeComte Stakes


1 mile and 70 yards on dirt

Post:  6:03 pm ET

Analysis:  Instilled Regard is the 4 to 1 second choice to win the Grade 3 LeComte Stakes on Saturday. The favorite in the race is the Steve Asmussen trained Principe Guilherme. Three Chimney's Farm purchased the horse for $600,000.

Although Principe Guilherme has looked great so far in 2 straight wins, I can't choose him over Instilled Regard. The Jerry Hollendorfer trainee was fantastic versus two incredibly talented Bob Bafffert three-year-olds in Solemini and McKinzie in the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity in his last. McKiznie won the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita on Jan. 6. I think Instilled Regard is the real deal.

It's difficult to tell how talented Principe Guilherme is. The Tapit sired colt won an optional claimer at Churchill Downs by 11 lengths in his last. He looked great, but nobody challenged him. Just based on his perceived class, though, it's difficult to keep him out of the exacta.

My third place horse is Kowboy Karma. Trained by the venerable Larry Jones, Kowboy Karma has a good shot of picking up the pieces if Instilled Regard and Principe Guilherme get into a speed duel.  The son of Kodiak Kowboy posted a great work over the Fair Grounds dirt on Jan. 3 in preparation for this.

1. Instilled Regard

2. Principe Guilherme

3. Kowboy Karma


Good luck!