Saturday, January 21, 2012

LeComte Anybody’s Race

In the last ten years, the only horse to win the LeComte Stakes (G-3) at the Fairgrounds and persevere on the Triple Crown trail and beyond is Hard Spun. The son of Danzig gave a good account of himself as a member of a strong crop of three year olds that included the Champions Street Sense, Curlin and Rags To Riches.

This year’s edition of the LeComte doesn’t appear strong on paper. The race did attract the Arlington-Washington Futurity (G-3) winner Shared Property and Bashford Manor (G-3) hero Exfactor. Another contender that could have a say in the outcome of the LeComte is Ted’s Folly, a modestly bred gelding who has been victorious in his last six starts. Let’s take a closer look at the field.

ADENA'S CHANCE (Limehouse - Little Krissy, by Kris S.) has been bested by optional claimers in his last four starts. Adena’s Chance has a speed over stamina pedigree. His sire Limehouse gets precocious sprinter/miler types, while his damsire is noted for siring five Breeders’ Cup winners. Adena's Chance has a modest distaff family. The only blacktype is owned by the second dam, who is stakes placed.

TED'S FOLLY (Wild Tale - Tricksword, by SwordTedsFolly Dance (IRE)) is outrunning his pedigree. He’s on a six race win streak. Ted’s Folly is the first stakes winner produced by his sire. Wild Tale, a son of Tale of the Cat, is a Grade 3 placed sprinter. Ted’s Folly’s damsire is represented by eight stakes winners over dirt, but none have won a graded stakes over the surface. Ted’s Folly descends from a modest but hardy distaff line. He is the first stakes winner produced by his dam, Tricksword. She is a half-sister to a stakes placed runner.

Like Ted’s Folly, MR. BOWLING (Istan - Goldilock's Bear, by Irish Tower) is the first stakes winner produced by his first crop sire. Mr. Bowling has a miler pedigree. His damsire was a multiple stakes winner from seven furlongs to 1 1/8 miles and he is the damsire of Canadian Champion Filly Knight’s Templar and Dubai Golden Shaheen (G-1) hero Proud Tower Too. Mr. Bowling is the first stakes winner produced by his dam Goldilock's Bear. She is a half-sister to Grade 1 heroine Tarlow, as well as the dams of multiple graded stakes winners Yankee Fortune and Go Go Shoot. The second dam Madam Bear is also a stakes winner. Mr. Bowling enters off of a layoff, but fired a bullet work in his second to last breeze.

EXFACTOR (Exchange Rate - Bright Magic, byExfactor Prized) has won three of his last four starts, including the Bashford Manor (G-3) and the Sugarbowl Stakes as a prep for the LeComte. Exfactor’s sire is known more for producing stakes winning fillies than colts (Ermine, Swap Fliparoo). Exfactor’s dam Bright Magic, won four of twelve starts, including two listed sprints. None of Exfactor’s four half siblings have won anything of note, but their dam is a full sister to a stakes placed runner and a half-sister to Grade 3 stakes turf heroine Take The Ribbon.

DAN AND SHEILA (More Than Ready - Sheila's Prospect, by Not For Love) jumps up in class after winning first time out. He is by a versatile sire whose dirt oriented offspring are best up to 1 1/8 miles. His damsire’s daughters produce sprinters. Dan and Sheila’s dam Sheila's Prospect is a G-3 stakes winning sprinter. She’s a half-sister to a listed stakes winning sprinter. Another half-sister produced Pennsylvania Derby (G-2) hero Love Of Money (by Not For Love). Dan and Sheila is inbred to the blue hen Intriguing through the full sisters Playmate and Numbered Account.

Z DAGER (Mizzen Mast - Fees Waived, by Wavering Monarch) also enters the LeComte after a recent maiden score. He has a speed laden pedigree. His sire’s dirt runners are best up to a mile. Damsire Wavering Monarch won the Haskell Invitational, but as a broodmare sire, his best offspring are sprinter/milers. Z Dager’s unraced dam is a half-sister to two listed stakes winning sprinters.

SEVEN LIVELY SINS (Stormy Atlantic - Carson's Star, by Carson City) weakened slightly in the Iroquois (G-3), finishing second by only ¾ of a length. He showed little after changing his front running tactics in the Delta Jackpot. Seven Lively Sins is bred along the same lines as Norfolk Stakes (G1) hero Stormello and four other listed runners, including 2006 Delta Princess heroine Miss Atlantic City. Seven Lively Sins’ dam is a half-sister to two stakes winners, including G3 winner Jamar Rain, the dam of graded stakes placed Imperial Council.

ALEXANDER THEGREAT (Cat Thief - Daddy's Petunia, by Run Softly finally won his maiden after nine attempts. He is by Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Cat Thief. He’s the first foal produced by his dam, and there is no blacktype in the first three generations of his distaff family.

HAMMERS TERROR (Artie Schiller - Sister Baby, by Lord Avie) bested Adena’s Chance by 2 ¾ lengths in his first start against winners. His first crop sire gets winners over all surfaces. To date, his dirt progeny are miler types while the turf runners win up to 1 ½ miles. Hammers Terror’s unraced dam is a half-sister to the multiple graded stakes warrior Kingdom Found and his second dam won a listed stakes.

Similar to Alexander Thegreat, HERO OF ORDER (Sharp Humor - Ocean Sprite, by Ocean Crest) won his maiden last time out after multiple attempts. He has miler speed over stamina pedigree. His sire’s offspring win up to 1 1/16 miles. His damsire Ocean Crest, a son of Storm Bird, won the Del Mar Derby at 1 1/8 miles and his second damsire, Gato Del Sol is a Kentucky Derby hero. Hero of Order’s dam was unplaced in two starts, but she’s a half-sister to G1 winner Things Change.

After six consecutive fifth place finishes, CHALYBEATE SPRINGS (Dynaformer - Chaposa Springs, by Baldski) got the job done a week ago at Oaklawn Park. He is a son of an international sire and a multiple Grade 1 winning sprinter. His dam is a half-sister to Met Mile winner and sire You And I. Chalybeate Springs’s second dam was a Champion in Peru.

CAPETOWN DEVIL (Cape Town - Nureyev's Angel, by Nureyev) is undefeated in all three starts. Both his sire and damsire are top notch producers, but there are no stakes winners in the first three generations of Capetown Devil’s distaff line

SharedPropertyPhotoFourFootedFotosArlington-Washington Futurity hero SHARED PROPERTY (Scat Daddy - Yoursmineours, by Belong to Me)was unplaced in the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland. He is by the leading first crop sire. Scat Daddy’s offspring are winning over all surfaces, but the majority are winners over grass and Polytrack. Shared Property has quality in his distaff family. His dam won the Honeybee Stakes and his third dam produced Champion filly Epitome.


Track Bias: Overall, the Fairgrounds dirt is playing fair. Seven races have been held at the LeComte distance this week with horses winning from all positions.

Seven Lively Sins and Hero Of Order will likely set the pace in the LeComte. Seven other colts have pace pressing tactics, so they’ll have to sort themselves out. Capetown Devil, Shared Property and the stalker Ted’s Folly would benefit from a quick pace up front.

On paper, the race appears wide open, so let’s look at some prices. CAPETOWN DEVIL has the pedigree to get the distance and is undefeated in three starts. His speed figures have improved in each race. Z DAGER had a strong debut race, making two moves during the race. His entry mate DAN AND SHEILA has one of the better pedigrees in the race and goes out for the always formidable Pletcher barn. The morning line favorite, SEVEN LIVELY SINS also has a nice pedigree, but will likely have company on the front end. There are others in here that are capable of pulling an upset. Exfactor kicked his stall during the week. TED'S FOLLY is out-running his pedigree, but his speed figures have been declining every race. Still, it’s hard to leave such a determined competitor off the list.