Brian Nadeau of Capital OTB and Horseplayer Now returns to take us through the major races on the road to this year’s Triple Crown. He’ll offer analysis and selections of Derby points races, hoping to make us all a little money as we head to the Belmont Stakes. Follow him on Twitter here.
Fair Grounds: The Grade III, $200,000 Lecomte at 1-mile 70 yards (Kentucky Derby qualifying points 10-4-2-1)
The path to the Louisiana Derby—and what many hope will be the Kentucky Derby—begins in earnest with the Lecomte, which drew an overflow field of 15, several of which are trying to show they belong on the national scene. Shopping for value seems imperative, as no one stands out on paper and many of these are untested in the graded stakes ranks, so let’s give #8 WAR OR WILL (6-1) top billing for Casse, as this son of War Front proved his class in a trio of graded stakes races on the turf as a 2yo then aired in his dirt debut, albeit in the slop, to break his maiden going two turns at Churchill Downs in his seasonal finale in November. The post is just brutal for #12 PLUS QUE PARFAIT (9-2), who seems best on paper after just missing to end his juvenile season in CD’s GII Kentucky Jockey Club in November, and it’s also worth noting this has to be considered a starting-off point to what Walsh wants to be a big campaign for this son of Point of Entry, so taking an underlaid price doesn’t really entice. The “now” horse looks like #3 TACKETT, who has won two straight locally and since being switched to two turns, is tactical enough to be placed anywhere, and goes for Stidham, who has enjoyed a fine meet, so you have to think this gelding is going to make his presence felt in his stakes debut. While the Calhoun barn is having a brutal start to the meet, #4 MR. MONEY (5-1) could right the ship if he’s ready off an underrated fifth in the BC Juvenile when last seen at CD in November, which built off a sharp MSW win there in September for this tactical son of Goldencents. Contention runs deep here, and several others have chances of making a dent, including #2 Malpais (12-1), #1 Wicked Indeed, #7 Roiland (12-1), #11 Tight Ten (8-1), and #13 Manny Wah (10-1) and #6 Hog Creek Hustle (12-1).
#8 War of Will
#12 Plus Que Parfait
#4 Mr. Money