The Road To The Triple Crown: Lecomte Stakes

The SportsNotebook’s coverage of the Road To The Triple Crown begins today, with the running of the Lecomte Stakes at The Fairgrounds in Louisiana. There’s a $175,000 purse at stake, as the entries try and pile up earnings and qualify for the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May.

Early favorites on the morning line include Seven Lively Sins (9-2), Shared Property (4-1), and Exfactor (5-1). The latter horse, obviously owned by a Bill O’Reilly fan, started to come on last year as a two-year old and won a pair of stakes races. Shared Property has also won a couple big races, but on the down side, turned in a clunker of race in the Breeders’ Cup last November.

Seven Lively Sins, in addition to having quite an interesting name, has a good jockey in Rosie Napravik, and a strong spring would put this horse in position to be the first Derby winner ridden by a female jock. Napravnik got her start on the Maryland circuit, which includes Laurel, along with Pimlico, where the Preakness is run. Now the Louisiana circuit is her home and we’ll see if home track advantage means anything.

This is a good race for bettors, with a 13-horse field meaning good odds—when you get a race where 9-2 is the lowest price on the morning line, that’s a good race if you’re a betting man. One horse outside the favorites to watch would be Dan and Sheila, getting a price of 6-1. He’s ridden by John Velazquez, one of the top riders in the country, and trained by Todd Pletcher, also one of the nation’s best. If you believe in watching the combination of jockey, trainer and odds, in order to find your best shot, then Dan and Sheila would be the play.

Legendary trainer D. Wayne Lukas has Chalybeate Spring entered at 20-1, and while that price would be tempting, if I were at the track today, my money would go on Dan and Sheila. But since I’m not at the track and not betting the race, I’d like to see Rosie win it aboard Seven Lively Sins.

The Lecomte Stakes goes at 5:55 PM EST and will likely be shown on the horse racing channels most packages carry, either TVG or HRTV. It’s a fun couple minutes of excitement if you find time to audible down from college hoops for a quick break.