LeComte leads the way on Louisiana’s Derby trail

New Orleans’ Fair Grounds racecourse is the site for the Grade III, $200,000 LeComte Stakes this Saturday. A field of 12 with Kentucky Derby ambitions will go a mile and 70 yards on the main oval. Scheduled as the program’s 11th race, post time is estimated at 6:00 p.m. EST. Don’t forget to check out FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!

#4 SHAREHOLDER VALUE (6-1) looks like the most appealing option in the LeComte. He exits an open-length allowance win for preeminent local connections Tom Amoss and Shaun Bridgmohan (who keeps the jockey assignment). SHAREHOLDER VALUE’s exceptionally wide journey in that heat makes his win all the more impressive. Prior to that he had a rough trip in his first career stakes try; the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club. He should give a much better account of himself here. There are plenty of speed-types entered against him, so look for SHAREHOLDER VALUE to come from off the pace. He’s also handled an off-track in the past, and that could be important as there’s rain the forecast for Saturday.

#5 UNTRAPPED is the 9-2 favorite for trainer Steve Asmussen and jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. UNTRAPPED ran into Smarty Jones winner Uncontested in his debut but was able to graduate with gusto next time out. This will be his first start around two turns, but his breeding does not preclude him from going this far. Having never even participated in a stakes before, UNTRAPPED will get a weight break from most of his competition. If he can get out of the gate a bit better than usual, he could find himself in the perfect spot to take advantage of the tiring leaders.

#8 GUEST SUITE (5-1) was last seen romping at Churchill Downs in a one-mile allowance event for two-year-olds. He’ll make his seasonal debut as well as his Fair Grounds debut under Robby Albarado in the LeComte. GUEST SUITE’s lone loss going long was to the highly-regarded McCraken in the Street Sense Stakes. The versatile colt could find himself on the lead or as far back as mid-pack.

The play: $3 exacta box 4/5, $2 exacta 4,5/8 ($10)

DFJ analysis: Shaun Bridgmohan looks set to build on what’s already been a highly successful meet (winning at 26%). Bridgmohan has the call on several live stakes runners on Saturday in addition to SHAREHOLDER VALUE. They are Carve (Louisiana Stakes), Western Reserve (Bradley Handicap), and Cash Control (Krantz Memorial Stakes).

Robby Albarado having a good day would not be a surprise. All but one of his nine mounts are above 8-1 in odds. His live stakes mounts, in addition to GUEST SUITE, include Dazzling Gem (Louisiana), Greengrassofyoming (Bradley), Summertime Sky (Silverbulletday), and Cambodia (Krantz).

Though Bridgmohan and Albarado are not likely to sweep those races from the other, they could both hit the board in each, and those points will add up quickly.

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