2022 Lecomte Stakes Cheatsheet
By TwinSpires Editorial Team, Sponsored Content
By Vance Hanson (TwinSpires.com)
1. SURFER DUDE (15-1) – A nicely-bred colt, by Curlin and out of a Grade 1-winning mare. However, his speedy tendencies haven’t always been ideal. After a seemingly hard maiden win in his fifth try, he dueled early with Epicenter in the Dec. 26 Gun Runner and had nothing left to withstand that rival in the stretch. The margin of defeat was in line with their prior meeting at Churchill in November, thus it’s hard to like the chances of a complete form reversal in this spot.
2. UNIFIED REPORT (15-1) – Hard to knock as he’s 3-for-3 and steps up in class with momentum. However, there are some areas of concern class-wise. Maiden win occurred in a race restricted to horses that sold or RNAd at lower auction prices, and two subsequent wins, both stakes, were against Louisiana-breds. Flattered by Bron and Brow’s later win in the Louisiana Futurity (but not his more recent loss against state-bred allowance foes). Does have some two-turn experience at Delta, and best puts him in line for a minor share at the very least.
3. PAPPACAP (8-5) – If not for Corniche, he’d be a champion-in-waiting and an early Kentucky Derby (G1) favorite. Nothing wrong with either effort in the American Pharoah (G1) or Breeders’ Cup as Corniche was allowed to dictate on his terms both times, with this colt proving second best. Owns the experience and class edge in the race, and barn won this race in both 2019 and 2020. Main knock is that price now plummets on a colt winless beyond six panels and who’s lost ground in the final furlong of each run beyond that.
4. TRAFALGAR (5-1) – Distant runner-up to Classic Causeway first out, and that rival subsequently placed in both the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and Kentucky Jockey Club. Took advantage of a hot pace to win next out, but the pace scenario was certainly different for his two-turn debut and the result was a more workmanlike victory. Guessing the fractions won’t be as modest this time with Surfer Dude and Epicenter possibly reprising their Gun Runner performances, and doesn’t need a whole lot of improvement to be in the frame here.
5. EPICENTER (9-5) – After a disappointing debut, this colt has stepped up big time with two dominating efforts. In a class by himself in the Gun Runner, hounding Surfer Dude into submission and drawing away to a 6 1/2-length win. The race flow has the potential to repeat itself here, though Pappacap also figures to be prominent. Those two are the main players both on paper and on the morning line, and recent momentum could favor this colt, whose connections have done so well here in past Triple Crown preps.
6. CYBERKNIFE (6-1) – This colt has loads of potential, but the mental aspects of the game have limited his effectiveness. Erratic behavior in the stretch resulted in disqualification from a debut victory, and drifting cost him another score as an odds-on choice second out. Belatedly got the maiden win out of the way last time going two turns, albeit by only a half-length. Connections hoping blinkers today will aid in his keeping to task. Those wanting to side against the two favorites will find things to like.
7. BLUE KENTUCKY (20-1) – Reportedly will scratch.
8. CALL ME MIDNIGHT (20-1) – Like Surfer Dude, it took him awhile to get the first win out of the way. Tossed two weeks later into the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) in his first try against winners, he proved not up to the task when finishing 10 lengths adrift of Smile Happy. Although stranded in the widest post for that race, doubt that was enough of an excuse to think he’ll be a better fit in this spot. Outsider on paper.
9. PRESIDENTIAL (20-1) – Owns a tremendous pedigree. By Pioneerof the Nile, he’s out of a multiple stakes-winning half-sister to juvenile champion and Preakness (G1)-placed Classic Empire. Despite the bloodlines and the hefty auction price, connections seemingly tipped their hand by taking the Indiana Grand route to graduation, rather than at a more prominent venue. Certainly remains with potential, but needs to quicken by a number of lengths in this spot.