It’s a big day of racing in Louisiana on Saturday at Fair Grounds Race Course. The Road to the Kentucky Derby goes through Fair Grounds on Saturday with the running of the $200,000 Lecomte Stakes (Gr. 3). This race is only awarding 10 points to the winner, but that could be the difference in going to the Derby for a horse. It’s exciting that we’re already into prep race season. It feels like yesterday that the 2020 Kentucky Derby was completed. That was a win for Authentic, who proceeded to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic, too. We don’t have to wait for the Kentucky Derby for a big time race, though. The $3,000,000 Pegasus World Cup Invitational is coming up, while the $20,000,000 Saudi Cup is scheduled for next month in Saudi Arabia.
Along with the Lecomte Stakes, we have five other stakes races at Fair Grounds on Saturday. A total of $1,160,000 across 13 races are expected to be run today at Fair Grounds. Head below for our free Fair Grounds picks and Lecomte Stakes pick for January 15, 2021.
Race 9 – Marie G. Krantz Memorial Stakes
Post Time: 3:54 p.m. CST
Distance:1 1/16 Miles
Race 9 at Fair Grounds is the running of the $100,000 Marie G. Krantz Memorial Stakes. This 1 1/16 mile event is expected to feature nine horses vying for the top prize out of a $100,000 purse. A good one between Secret Message and Dalika should develop in the stretch. Secret Message is 6 for 20 in her career with plenty of stakes experience.
In her most recent win, Secret Message beat La Signare by a head in the $100,000 Old Forester Mint Julep on May 30. Since then, Secret Message has gone 6th, 3rd, 5th, 3rd, 3rd. In her most recent outing, she showed 3rd in the $75,000 Blushing D.K. Stakes on December 19. The $625,000 Secret Message has consistently performed near the front and should run a close race on Saturday as well.
Dalika participated in the Blushing D.K. Stakes and emerged as the winner. Dalika beat Curlin’s Journey by 2 ¼ lengths for the win. She was also a winner in the $300,000 One Dreamer Stakes on September 9. Dalika came back to finish 4th in the $350,000 First Lady Stakes (Gr. 1) on October 3 at Keeneland. That was too tough, but Dalika got right back into form on December 19. I’m on Dalika to get this assignment done.
Race 12 – Silverbulletday Stakes
Post Time: 5:20 p.m. CST
Distance:1 Mile 70 Yards
In the second biggest race at Fair Grounds on Saturday, the Silverbulletday Stakes has a $150,000 purse on offer. Nine horses are expected to run, with Souper Sensational and Sun Path hot contenders in my book. Souper Sensational should be involved in the stretch after opening her career with back-to-back wins to begin her career.
The $725,000 Souper Sensational looked amazing at Woodbine, with a 2 ¼ length win in a $126,800 event on September 26, and then a 4 length win over Javanica for a $100,000 purse in the Glorious Song Stakes on October 17. Souper Sensational has looked great in the morning, with recorded times of 47 and 48 seconds at 4 furlongs. Failing to acknowledge Souper Sensational in Race 12 would be foolish. Sun Path should be the one horse to provide Souper Sensational with pressure in the stretch.
She has finished 2nd, 1st, 1st in her career, placing 2nd behind Off We Go by 1 ¼ lengths in a $70,000 race on October 2. Sun Path responded to beat Peace Broker by 3 lengths in a $85,000 race on November 8 at Churchill Downs, and then a 12 ¾ length win in a blowout for $48,000. That had to be a tune-up for Sun Path going into the Silverbulletday Stakes. In two workouts, Sun Path completed 4 furlongs in 48.80 and 47.80 seconds. I like both horses, but I’m being pulled to Souper Glorious from the inside. She has looked really good above the $100,000 mark.
Race 13 – Lecomte Stakes
Post Time: 5:49 p.m. CST
Distance:1 1/16 Miles
The final race at Fair Grounds is the feature race, the $200,000 Lecomte Stakes, which comes with 10 points towards the Kentucky Derby. Midnight Bourbon and Mandaloun are likely going to get close for the 10 points and top prize out of the $200,000 purse. Midnight Bourbon has been in the top-3 in all four entries.
The young colt has finished 3rd, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, with a win on August 22 in a $46,200 assignment. In his most recent outing, Midnight Bourbon showed 3rd in the $250,000 Champagne Stakes (Gr. 1) on October 10 at Belmont Park. It was a good effort to finish behind two very strong horses in Reinvestment Risk and Jackie’s Warrior.
Mandaloun was a back-to-back winner to open his career on October 14 and November 28. It was an impressive debut for Mandaloun over Bob’s Edge by a half length at Keeneland for a $70,000 purse. He followed up to win on November 28 at Churchill Downs in a $87,000 event by 1 ¼ lengths over Twilight Blue. It was a tremendous effort by Mandalous, and puts him in great shape for the Lecomte Stakes.