Mr Bowling Holds on in Lecomte Thriller

It was Jockey Robby Albarado’s intent to give his colt a clear shot down the stretch and let him work for home.  And that’s exactly what Mr. Bowling did. Never trailing far back from the pace set by Alexander TheGreat who clocked early fractions 23.21 and 47.22, Mr. Bowling was in a great position to make a move. At the top of lane is where Robby Albarado made that move and cleared Mr. Bowling for home.

At the final sixteenth mark Mr. Bowling had established the lead by a half-length over Z Dager to his near outside. His gutsy hold on the lead and Z Dager’s failed attempt to pass is what led to Mr. Bowling scoring the win by a head.  Shared Property, who overcame the hardest post (13) was storming down the stretch on the far outside but flamed out in the final yards. It left him a half-length behind Z Dager for a 3rd place finish.

G3 LeComte Stakes | Purse $175,000 | 1 Mile, 70 yards | Dirt | 143.49 – Track: Fast

  1. Mr. Bowling          $9.20    $4.80    $4.00
  2. Z Dager                                 $4.80    $3.60
  3. Shared Property                                 $3.80

$2 Exacta $43.20      $2 Trifecta 242.40     $2 Superfecta $4,552.20

  • Also ran (in order of finish) Dan and Sheila, Hero of Order, Hammers Terror, Capetown Devil, Alexander TheGreat, Ted’s Folly, Adena’s Chance, Exfactor, Seven Lively Sins, Chalybeate Springs – EQUIBASE CHART            

In a nutshell that is your race results and details.  But let’s take a look at what this race means for the performers and their trail towards the first Saturday in May.

Mr. Bowling  Owner Brereton Jones – Trainer Larry Jones – Jockey Robby Albarado

This win was a big statement. If he wasn’t before, Mr. Bowling should now be looked at as a legitimate Derby Contender and Qualifier.  The win notches him his 3rd in 5 career starts. The LeComte becomes his first career graded stakes victory.  His first 2 career races were both at 6 Furlongs – 4th followed by 1st.  In both of those races his style didn’t match one of a sprinter. So when Larry Jones moved him to the Dover  Stakes at a distance of 1 Mile, his impressive win confirmed that he’s a horse that is capable of developing towards the Kentucky Derby distance of 1 1/4 Mile.

The next and final step for Mr. Bowling in his 2-yr-old campaign was the Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs.  Although he finished 3rd, it should still be regarded as a solid finish.  The biggest plus side to Mr. Bowling when looking at his last 3 races is the Two Turn Factor. When the race set the field up for having to race through two turns, Mr. Bowling won. When it did not in the Iroquois, Mr. Bowling finished 3rd. Seeing this horse handle two turns so well is a good sign at this stage of the Derby Trail.

Congratulations to Trainer Larry Jones for scoring his third career LeComte Stakes – Friesan Fire ’09 and Hard Spun ’07. Born and Bred in the Bluegrass State, Larry Jones endured gut wrenching defeat after finishing 2nd in the Kentucky Derby two years in a row – Hard Spun ’07 and Eight Belles ’08. He’s a fine trainer and very capable of making it over the hump and into the winners circle at the Kentucky Derby. So keep an eye on his derby contenders in 2012 and the years ahead.

Next Race. Not confirmed but it is very likely that Larry Jones will keep Mr. Bowling at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans for the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes on Feb. 25.

Z Dager  Owner Zayat Stables – Trainer Steve Asmussen – Jockey Shane Sellers

There isn’t a whole lot to look at here. So far at least. Racing against a very healthy field in only his third career start, Z Dager’s performance was pretty good. Even though he officially began racing at Churchill last October, his racing career picked up at the Fairgrounds when he scored his first win at a distance of 1 mile, 70 yards last December. So for a horse that seems to be improving and handling two turns very well, we’ll have to wait to see him again before we make a better guess on his derby contender status.

One thing about this horse is that his owners desire a Kentucky Derby more than anyone.  Just like Trainer Larry Jones, Zayat Stables has also experienced the heartbreak of two 2nd place finishes in the Kentucky Derby. In 2009 it was Pioneerof the Nile and just last year it was Nehro who both fought gamely but not enough to outclip the winners.  So if not Z Dager it’s a good idea to keep an eye on any of the Zayat Stables derby contenders. There co-entry Dan and Sheila, trained by Todd Pletcher, finished 4th in only his second career start. Not sure what direction he’ll be pointed but don’t be surprised if we see him again in any of the upcoming derby preps. 

Next Race: Not sure, I would guess it may be the G2 Risen Star or the G3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park. 

Shared Property  Owner Jerry Namy – Trainer Thomas Amoss – Jockey Leandro Goncalves

Because Shared Property flattened in the final yards his handle on the Kentucky Derby distance should not be considered. The main reason is because Jockey Leandro Goncalves wasn’t left with any other option but to race wide. Post Position 13 in a thirteen horse field isn’t ideal so overall Shared Property gets a solid grade from me.  The other thing that needs to be considered was that this race was after a 3 month layoff.

That race , G3 Arlington-Washington Futurity at Arlington Park, was a big win for the young colt. Couple that with his third place finish here and that’s good amount of Graded Stakes earnings at this stage of the derby trail. 

Next Race: Nothing has been confirmed so I’m only guessing that Shared Property will also remain in New Orleans and return for the G3 Risen Star Stakes on Feb. 25.

To Close to Call

The two horses that had a pair of disappointing trips were Seven Lively Sins and Exfactor.  Seven Lively Sins entered the LeComte as an experienced graded stakes horse that already raced over distances up to and exceeding 1 Mile.  That coupled with a 2nd place finish in the Iroquios where he beat Mr. Bowling alined him to be in the hunt in this race.  However, a 12th place finish was far from it. We haven’t come across any reports of minor injuries so his chances of qualifying for the Kentuck Derby rest on a big time rebound in any upcoming derpy preps. 

Exfactor on the other hand may have had  his career path confirmed.  Entering on a hot streak, 3 for his last 3, the only thing that Exfactor still needed to prove was his ability to handle two turns. You just don’t know if you don’t try but after an 11th place finish in his first ever race at distance over 6 Furlongs, I expect Exfactor to steer away from the Derby Trail.

It is only January and there is still a lot of time. Over the coming weeks there will be a focus on working out the kinks and continuting to progress. When things begin to click is when there is always another derby prep. So for any of the horses that were unable to fire today, there is still plenty of time to rebound. As for the LeComte Stakes performers we look forward to following their progression along the trail.

Written by: Little Brink

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