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Pete’s Pick: Vicar’s in Trouble in The LeComte at Fair Grounds

Posted by Pete Mitchell on 1/18/2014 2:25:34 AM

Who: Thoroughbreds – Roman Unbridled, Got Shades, Gold Hawk, Albano, Vicar’s in Trouble

What: Horse Racing Betting Tips – The LeComte

Where: Fair Grounds

When: Saturday, January 18th

The 70th Running of The LeComte (Grade III) at Fair Grounds this Saturday is the first in a three-race series at that track serving as preparation for The Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May. The LeComte is followed by The Risen Star on February 22nd and The Louisiana Derby on March 29th. Let’s take a closer look at the major players in this race below.

#1-Roman Unbridled (8-1) won a stakes last out at Delta Downs in gate-to-wire fashion, earning a lofty Beyer Speed Figure of 95 in the process. He picks up 5 pounds off that effort and will be making his Fair Grounds debut. However, with speed types like Albano and Vicar’s in Trouble to his outside, he’ll have his work cut out. #3-Got Shades (8-1) has raced exclusively on grass, earning a stakes score three back at Louisiana Downs. Reports are that he handles the Fair Grounds main oval just fine, so his grass form could hold up in this spot. Interestingly, he’ll be racing without Lasix once again. #4-Gold Hawk (3-1) is the likely favorite after passing his initial 2-turn test last out vs. entry-level allowance runners. He’s bred to get better as the distances get longer, and he’ll have an honest pace to close into. The field’s three stakes winners will be spotting him weight, making their task that much tougher. Shaun Bridgmohan takes over the riding chores for Ricardo Santana, and should work out a nice trip. #5-Smarty’s Echo (8-1) didn’t do much running in his only dirt start, but it happened to be The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and he raced without Lasix that day (which won’t be the case here). Trainer Anne Smith will add blinkers to the colt’s arsenal in The LeComte, so perhaps he’ll be more prominent in the early stages. #6-Albano (7-2) has won his last pair, including the six-furlong Sugar Bowl most recently. Trainer Larry Jones says this colt compares favorably to the classy Mark Valeski, who finished second in both The Risen Star and The Louisiana Derby in 2012. Jones has confidence that Albano will find two-turns to his liking.

That brings us to my top selection, #7-Vicar’s in Trouble (9-2). The Mike Maker trainee broke his maiden here vs. Louisiana-breds last out on the front end by 13 widening lengths…and was geared down at the wire. He earned the field’s top Beyer of 98 in the process. He drops 4 pounds off that effort, and retains the services of jockey Rosie Napravnik, who’s having an outstanding meet. Most impressive about his win was the way he relaxed after breaking on top and waited for his cue from Napravnik. His Tomlinson Distance Figure of 420 suggests that two turns will suit him. He looks like the speed-of-the-speed and may well forget to stop. I’ll bet on #7-Vicar’s in Trouble to win and place at odds of 7-2 or better.

Those are my horse racing betting tips for this weekend. Best of luck and happy gambling!

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