(Call Me Midnight wins the 2022 Lecomte Stakes at the Fair Grounds / Photo Courtesy of the Fair Grounds)

From the Fair Grounds Media Team:

This is the 79th running of the $200,000 Lecomte Stakes (G3) for 3-year-olds at a distance of 1 1/16 miles on the main track. It is followed in the sequence of Fair Grounds Kentucky Derby preps by the Risen Star (Feb. 18) and the Louisiana Derby (March 25)

·       The Lecomte is scheduled as the 14th and final race on Saturday, January 21, 2023. First post is noon CT. Lecomte post is 6:30 p.m. CT.

·       The Lecomte marks the next stage in the Road to the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve, with 20-8-6-4-2 points awarded to the top five finishers. Longines Kentucky Oaks points will be awarded in the same manor for the 3-year-old fillies in the Silverbulletday, which is race 12 on the card (5:30 p.m. CT).

·       Trainer Steve Asmussen has won the Lecomte three times, most recently with Midnight Bourbon in 2021. He finished second last year with Epicenter, who would go on to win both the Risen Star (G2) and Louisiana Derby (G2) en route to a second place finish behind 80-1 upsetter Rich Strike in Kentucky Derby 148. Epicenter would later win both the Jim Dandy (G2), Travers (G1) and he is one of the finalists for the Eclipse Award as the top 3-year-old of 2022. Asmussen starts Echo Again in this year’s Lecomte. Entering Monday’s races, he is 26 wins away from 10,000 in his career. Already the winningest trainer in the history of Thoroughbred racing, he will be the first ever to reach that mark.

·       Tyler Gaffalione, who rides Echo Again, won the 2019 Lecomte with War of Will, who also won the Risen Star (G2) and the Preakness (G1). He is the perennial leading rider at Churchill Downs.

·       Corey Lanerie, who rides Denington this year, won the 2016 Lecomte with Mo Tom for Gail and Tom Benson (GMB Racing).

·       OXO Equine LLC won the 2018 Lecomte with Instilled Regard (trainer Jerry Hollendorfer). That owner and their trainer Paulo Lobo has two horses entered in this year’s race – Bromley, who will be ridden by Javier Castellano (who rode Instilled Regard) and Itzos, who is a half-brother to the legendary Rachel Alexandra.

·       The Brad Cox-trained Mandaloun finished third in the 2021 Lecomte. He would later win the Risen Star (G2) and after crossing the finish line 2nd, he was the adjudicated winner of the Kentucky Derby 147 when Medina Spirit was disqualified. Cox has never won the Lecomte. He sends out the 5-2 morning line favorite Instant Coffee this year.

·       Trainer Keith Desormeaux, who was born in Maurice, LA, and jockey James Graham upset the mighty Epicenter last year with their 28-1 longshot Call Me Midnight. This year they are represented by Confidence Game, whose dam Eblouissante is a half sister to the legendary Zenyatta.