The way the New Orleans road to the Kentucky Derby is starting, Fair Grounds needs to widen the path.
Fifteen were entered Friday for the 74th running of the Grade 3, $200,000 Lecomte Stakes, the featured event among six stakes on the Jan. 13 Road to the Derby Kickoff card.
There are nearly as many entrants as there are Kentucky Derby qualifying points on offer. As part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby program, the Lecomte awards a total of 17 points distributed 10-4-2-1 to the first four finishers.
Trigger Warning, the also-eligible, won't get the chance to earn Derby points unless one of the 14 in the field's main body comes out. The horses who made the field are Analyze This Jet, Believe in Royalty, Ciaran, Ebben, Instilled Regard, Kowboy Karma, Lone Sailor, Night Strike, Prince Lucky, Principe Guilherme, Snapper Sinclair, Wonder Gadot, Zeke, and Zing Zang.
Wonder Gadot, a filly, was cross-entered in the female-restricted Silverbulletday Stakes by trainer Mark Casse.
The Lecomte's leading duo is Instilled Regard and Principe Guilherme. Instilled Regard ships Wednesday from Southern California for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and will either be favored or the second choice on the strength of generally strong form that includes a second in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity. In that race, Instilled Regard finished third but was placed second when Solomini was disqualified from first to third. Javier Castellano will be in to ride Instilled Regard, a son of Arch.
Principe Guilherme, one of three entrants trained by Steve Assmussen, makes his stakes debut after romping victories in a Churchill Downs maiden sprint and a Fair Grounds first-level two-turn allowance. Principe Guilherme is a Three Chimneys Farm homebred by Tapit.
Asmussen's other entrants are Zing Zang, an eye-catching recent two-turn maiden-race winner at Fair Grounds, and Snapper Sinclair, a high-level turf performer as a 2-year-old.
Wonder Gadot, who won the Grade 2 Demoiselle at Aqueduct in her most recent start, was entered in the Lecomte because Casse has several stakes-class 3-year-old fillies he is trying to separate, among them Heavenly Love.
Heavenly Love won the Grade 1 Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland before turning in a poor performance in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. She and Wonder Gadot are among a dozen Silverbulletday entrants. The others in the race are America's Tale, Blonde Bomber, Missive, Noblame, Remember Daisy, She's Our Fastest, Stellar Moon, Stronger Than Ever, and Terra's Angel. Blonde Bomber makes her first start since finishing a closing third in the BC Juvenile Fillies.
The $125,000 Col. E.R. Bradley, a turf race for older horses that recently was downgraded from a Grade 3 to a listed stakes, drew a field of 10 headed by Tower of Texas, Monster Bea, Dimension, and Granny's Kitten.
The Player could be favored in the $75,000 Louisiana Stakes, a dirt route for older horses, while Yockey's Warrior certainly will be favored in the $75,000 Duncan F. Kenner, a dirt sprint for older horses. A well-matched group of 11 older turf females was entered in the Marie Krantz Memorial.