Mandaloun Would Be A Fitting Winner
Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire
By Emily Shields for TVG
The $200,000 Lecomte Stakes (G3) at the Fair Grounds in Louisiana on Saturday the 16th tops a big 13-race card, including six stakes races. The 2021 Kentucky Derby prep race for three-year-old colts and geldings drew 11 runners, including the unbeaten Mandaloun. A win by that runner would prove to be quite fitting.
On January 12, Prince Khalid bin Abdullah died, leaving a gaping hole in racing. He was the founder of Juddmonte Farms, which has campaigned such horses as Enable, Frankel, and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) hero Arrogate. Mandaloun is a Juddmonte Farms homebred, by Into Mischief and out of the Empire Maker mare Brooch. Brad Cox trains.
Mandaloun has won both his starts as the heavy favorite. He scored at Keeneland going six furlongs on debut, then stretched to seven panels at Churchill Downs in allowance company. He has not run since that November 28 race, but will retain jockey Flavien Prat and has been working steadily.
He will have to beat the pair from the Michael Stidham barn, including the royally-bred Proxy. A homebred for Godolphin, Proxy is by Tapit and out of the Grade 1-winning millionaire mare Panty Raid. Proxy debuted at Monmouth Park in October, running second by a neck, and has won as the favorite in his two Fair Grounds races since then. He has already scored over this same trip, and will be tough to beat. Stidham’s other runner is Manor House, who was a 12 ¼-length winner on debut at Laurel Park going a mile.
Drawing the rail for Steve Asmussen is Midnight Bourbon, a son of Tiznow that cost owner Winchell Thoroughbreds, LLC $525,000. He won second out at Ellis Park in August by more than five lengths, and has since been graded stakes placed twice, including running third in the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont Park. Ricardo Santana, Jr will ride the colt, who is out of the unraced Malibu Moon mare Catch the Moon. She is the dam of Grade 1 winner – and two-time Fair Grounds stakes winner – Girvin.
Dallas Stewart will send out Arabian Prince, by Mshawish. The dark bay colt broke his maiden at Churchill Downs first out in an off-turf event going a mile. He was fourth in the Street Sense Stakes there in October, then third in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes over this 1 1/16-mile trip. Brian Hernandez, Jr. will ride.
Trainer Keith Desormeaux will start two, including maiden winner Santa Cruiser. The son of Dialed In won at third asking going a mile at Churchill Downs; that was November 15 and he hasn’t run since. James Graham will ride the colt, who has steadily improved with each start. The other Desormeaux trainee is Dyn O Mite on the outside of the field; he was fifth in a pair of Grade 1 events in California before winning two in a row.
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