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Indygo Mountain Slight Choice in Saturday's Lecomte

NEW ORLEANS, La. (January 5, 2009) - Clarence Scharbauer Jr.'s Indygo Mountain is the 3-1 morning-line favorite among the field of nine 3-year-olds entered Monday for the $100,000 Grade III Lecomte Stakes, the featured event of a six-stakes program Saturday at Fair Grounds.

The 65th Lecomte, which starts the Louisiana Derby Series, is the ninth race on an 11-race "Road to the Derby" Kickoff Day program. First post Saturday is 12:30 p.m. CST, with the Lecomte scheduled for 4:29.

Trained by Bret Calhoun, Indygo Mountain was scratched during the post parade of a Dec. 18 allowance race at Fair Grounds due to a minor foot problem, but has had a pair of workouts since, including a five-furlong breeze Monday morning at Fair Grounds in 1:03.40 over sloppy going.

The son of A. P. Indy won his last start Nov. 19 at Churchill Downs by an impressive 6 1/4-length margin. He was second in his first career start in October at Keeneland.

Scharbauer, whose family raced 1987 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Alysheba, purchased Indygo Mountain for $600,000 out of the 2007 Keeneland September sale. Jamie Theriot, seeking a second consecutive Fair Grounds riding title, will break Indygo Mountain from the outside post.

Capable of providing strong competition for Indygo Mountain is John and Glen Sikura and Dominic Dilalla's Patena, who captured the Display Stakes at Woodbine by a head in his last trip to the post Dec. 6.  Conditioned by Josie Carroll, Patena is by Seeking the Gold and out of the A. P. Indy mare Handpainted, who was also trained by Carroll and won the 2004 Pan Zareta Stakes at Fair Grounds.

Six-time Fair Grounds leading rider Robby Albarado gets the mount on Patena, who will break from post No. 4, is the 4-1 early second choice.

Co-third choices in the morning line at 5-1 are Uno Mas and Friesan Fire, the 1-2 finishers in that one-mile Dec. 18 allowance.

Uno Mas, who is 2-for-2 at this meet, gets the services of jockey Shaun Bridgmohan for seven-time Fair Grounds leading trainer Steve Asmussen, who won the Lecomte last year with Z Fortune.

Friesan Fire, who was third in Belmont's Grade II Futurity Sept. 13 and fourth in Aqueduct's Grade III Nashua Nov. 2, has Gabriel Saez up for trainer Larry Jones, who saddled 2007 Lecomte winner Hard Spun.

From the rail out, the Lecomte field with jockeys and odds includes: Friesan Fire, Saez (5-1); Au Moon, Julien Leparoux (8-1); Citizen, Francisco Torres (20-1); Patena, Albarado (4-1); Big Push, Miguel Mena (8-1); Dynamic Force, Jesse Campbell (10-1); Professor Z, Brian Hernandez Jr. (6-1); Uno Mas, Bridgmohan (5-1); and Indygo Mountain, Theriot (3-1).

Fans of multi-leg wagers will have more options to wager on Saturday's card, including a Pick 5 on Races 5-9; a third Pick 4 beginning on Race 6; and a 3-year-old daily double on the Tiffany Lass Stakes, for fillies, and the Lecomte.  The Pick 6, usually offered on the final six races of the day, has been moved to cover the six stakes, beginning with Race 4.

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, the nation's third-oldest Thoroughbred racing facility, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, Fair Grounds is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN); it also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and nine off-track betting parlors throughout southeast Louisiana. Fair Grounds' 137th Thoroughbred season will run from Nov. 14, 2008, through March 29, 2009, and its inaugural Quarter Horse meet was conducted from Aug. 20-24, 2008. Information about Fair Grounds can be found on the Internet at www.fairgroundsracecourse.com.