The second Kentucky prep race of 2019 takes place Saturday when the LaComte is run at the Fair Grounds in Louisiana.
The one mile and 70-yard race is the 12th race on the program and is set for 3:49 p.m. PST post.
There are 14 horses set to go to post in what looks like a pretty wide-open event. Following is a breakdown of the race.
The morning line favorite is Plus Que Parfait (9-2) out of the Brendan Walsh barn. The horse will be ridden by Julien Leparoux, the jockey who was up in his last start, a second in the Kentucky Jockey Club on November 24 at Churchill Downs. A key stat coming out of that race was it was contested over a sloppy track and with rain the forecast for Saturday, it may be another factor to like the horse that has one win in four starts.
Mr. Money (5-1) is the second choice for trainer William Calhoun and jockey Gabriel Saez. Saez has been up for all three starts, including the maiden score two back and the fourth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in November. He has been working well over the track, including a bullet work in the slop on Jan. 3 and a quick four-furlong drill on Jan. 12.
Tackett (6-1) and War of Will (6-1) are the co-third choices. Tackett is trained by Michael Stidham and ridden by Joe Bravo. The horse has won both starts, with both coming over the Fair Grounds track. The first was a seven-length maiden score and the second a nail-biter in an optional claimer on December 22.
War of Will is a Mark Casse runner to be ridden by Tyler Gaffalione. The horse has one win in five starts, a five-length in the slop on November 24 at Churchill. Gaffalione was up in the race, the lone start he has ridden the horse. Another that bears watching if it rains.
There are a couple of price horses that I felt worth watching in Roiland (12-1) and Manny Wah (10-1).
Roiland is trained by Thomas Amoss and will be ridden by Irish jockey James Graham. What peaks my interest here is the horse broke slow in the slop at Kentucky Jockey Club – last in a 14-horse field – but worked through the off-track to finish fifth. Before that, he had two wins and a second in his other three starts. The horse has also been turning in some sizzling works over the Fair Grounds. Might be worth a good look at a decent price.
Manny Wah, out of the Wayne Catalano barn and ridden by Channing Hill, was second in the Sugar Bowl over the Fair Grounds on December 22. The horse has hit the board five times in seven starts, including four stakes races, three under the guidance of Hill. He had a real strong work on January 12 and might be another price horse to take a gander at.
My thoughts: It’s tough this early in the Derby trail to have a good idea as so much is yet to play out and that’s why your favorite is 9-2. I am thinking about playing a three-horse box of Mr. Money, Plus Que Parfait and Roiland in both the exacta and trifecta, then playing a win bet on Roiland with the price. It early, so let’s take a chance.
By Dennis Miller