Three-Year-Old Stakes Highlight Road to the Derby Kickoff Day Presented by Hotel Monteleone
A pair of $100,000 stakes for 3-year-olds with Derby and Oaks aspirations highlight a 13-race program with six stakes on Road to the Derby Kickoff Day Presented by Hotel Monteleone this Saturday at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. To accommodate the super-sized program first post is set for a half-hour earlier than normal, at 12:10 p.m. CST.
Three of the six stakes carry six-figure purses. The $100,000 Lecomte Stakes, a Grade III event for 3-year-olds looking to accrue the graded stakes earnings necessary to make the Kentucky Derby, is contested at one mile and 40 yards. Probable starters include Justin Phillip, the leading locally based 3-year-old from trainer Steve Asmussen’s barn, and Wilkinson, a December maiden winner at Fair Grounds for trainer Neil Howard, who has attracted the services of Garrett Gomez, a two-time Eclipse Award-winning rider and one of the premier jockeys in big-money races nationally.
Three-year-old fillies start their “Road to the Oaks” in the $100,000 Silverbulletday Stakes, also at one mile and 40 yards. The deep field is topped by stakes winners Bouquet Booth and Seans Silverdancer, as well as dominant allowance winner Aide.
In the Grade III Colonel E.R. Bradley Handicap for older turf horses at 1 1/16 miles, several winners from earlier this season are likely to start, including Strike Again and Snakebite Kit.
There will be a $100,000-Guaranteed Pick Four.
Fans are encouraged to show up early on Saturday for two free special Road to the Derby Kickoff Day events. At 9:30 a.m. in the Horsemen’s Relations Lounge across from the 1/16-mile pole, trainer Dallas Stewart is the featured guest at a Horse Ownership Seminar for anyone who has ever dreamt of owning a piece of a Thoroughbred. At 11 a.m., Eclipse Award-winning journalist and former jockey Sean Clancy hosts a Handicapping Seminar on “How to Look at Horses,” detailing how appearance and behavior in the paddock and post parade can be used to your advantage at the betting windows.