Equibase Analysis: Instilled Regard Tops LeComte Field

The 74th running of the Grade 3, $200,000 LeComte Stakes gives us a preview of some aspiring three year olds on the road to both the Louisiana Derby and other Kentucky Derby prep races. Leading the field is Instilled Regard, coming into the race off a close finish in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Futurity last month, moved up to second via the disqualification of the winner and a race from which the official winner McKinzie came out of to win the Sham Stakes last weekend. A full field of 14 is signed up, with one also-eligible to boot, foremost among the group Principe Guilherme, who is undefeated in two races, both won by many lengths. Principe Guilherme is trained by Steve Asmussen, who also saddles Snapper Sinclair (winner of the Turf Showcase Juvenile Stakes last summer) and recent local maiden winner Zing Zang. The contention doesn’t end there, with Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes winner Prince Lucky one of three saddled by Larry Jones, the other two being James F. Lewis Stakes runner-up Kowboy Karma and Believe in Royalty, the latter out of 2012 Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can. Lone Sailor missed by a head in the Street Sense Stakes last fall before a fifth place effort in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes and may be competitive, as might the filly Wonder Gadot, who won the Grade 1 Demoiselle Stakes last month but who is also entered in the Silverbulletday Stakes earlier on the card against her own gender.

Instilled Regard had run pretty well in the first two starts of his career, both sprints, when second and third, but when stretched out to two turns for the first time in October he won with authority. Earning a 92 Equibase Speed Figure with a four and one-quarter length win, Instilled Regard took another step forward a little over one month later when finishing third (moved up to second via a disqualification) in the Los Alamitos Futurity, earning a new career best 106 figure that is the best figure any horse in this field has earned to date. In the Futurity, Instilled Regard moved up from fifth with about three-eighths of a mile to go and then battled head-and-head for the rest of the race with Solomini and McKinzie, before settling for third and a head short of runner-up McKinzie. With McKinzie having come back to win the Sham Stakes last weekend, it is now Instilled Regard’s turn to improve out of that race and win a stakes race on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.

Prince Lucky has won three of his four races to date including his last two, both rather easily with gas left in the tank. His most recent win came in the Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes in which he rallied from fifth to win going away under mild handling. Prior to that, Prince Lucky earned a career best 99 figure, one which when considering how this colt has not run his best yet, could be vastly improved upon. Although he has never run farther than seven furlongs, Prince Lucky is bred to handle the added distance and it is notable that jockey Julien Leparoux takes over. With two very sharp workouts over the main track at Fair Grounds since races, one the third best of 109 on the day and the other the best of 60 on the day, Prince Lucky may be capable of posting the upset in this year’s LeComte Stakes.

Believe in Royalty finished third in his career debut last summer then won two straight races, both rather easily, earning a 92 figure in the best of the three races last November. As such, Believe in Royalty was well regarded by bettors at three-to-one in the Springboard Mile Stakes last month. After breaking from a poor outside post in that race, Believe in Royalty found himself four paths wide most of the way yet tried to make a bid, going from seventh to fourth, just over a length from the leader, before tiring and ending up sixth. With a much better post and from the same barn of trainer Larry Jones as Prince Lucky, Believe in Royalty has also put in two very strong local workouts since his most recent race. As a son of 2012 Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can, there is little doubt Believe in Royalty can run this far, and farther and so he is another colt with a chance to win this race.

Zing Zang is one of three entries from the barn of Steve Asmussen. Even though the other two, Principe Guilherme and Snapper Sinclair, have two career wins to date and Zing Zang has just one, I prefer him because of the manner in which he earned that win. In his third career start on December 16, Zing Zang rallied from 11th of 12 yet won going away with a 95 figure that is as good as every horse in the field except two (Instilled Regard and Principe Guilherme). That win came in a two-turn race at Fair Grounds and local experience, particularly positive experience, may be an edge over many of the other LeComte entrants so I believe Zing Zang can round out a quartet of win contenders.

Notes about two others: Principe Guilherme opens as the five-to-two morning line favorite and so he deserves mention, particularly as readers may wonder why I am not considering him a win contender. Principe Guilherme won his debut by six lengths around one turn and then won his second race by 11 lengths around two turns and at Fair Grounds, earning a 105 figure nearly as good as the one Instilled Regard earned when almost winning the Los Alamitos Futurity. However, Principe Guilherme earned both wins leading from start to finish, and there are horses here that may want the lead as well, some who are drawn inside of this colt. From the 12 post, Principe Guilherme may find it very difficult to secure the kind of easy early lead he has achieved in his two races to date, but if he wins he will have proven to be a horse to reckon with as we move towards the first Saturday in May.

Wonder Gadot is entered in the Silverbulletday Stakes earlier on this card but if her connections decide to run in the LeComte (for Road to the Derby points) she must be respected as she has won twice around two-turns and when she won the Demoiselle Stakes last month in New York, she ran farther than she’s being asked to run today. Wonder Gadot earned a 94 figure in the Demoiselle which stands up nicely against all the horse in this race except for Instilled Regard and Principe Guilherme, but she gets a great inside post and a five pound break in the weights.

The rest of the field, with their best representative Equibase Speed Figures, is Analyze This Jet (77), Ciaran (78), Ebben (89), Kowboy Karma (98), Lone Sailor (90), Night Strike (80), Snapper Sinclair (87), Trigger Warning (85), the lone also-eligible in the field, and Zeke (83).

My Selections:
Instilled Regard
Prince Lucky
Believe in Royalty
Zing Zang

The post Equibase Analysis: Instilled Regard Tops LeComte Field appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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