By Ryan Martin —-
INSTILLED REGARD INVADES FROM CALIFORNIA TO TAKE LECOMTE
NEW ORLEANS (January 13, 2018) – OXO Equine LLC’s California invader Instilled Regard lived up to the hype behind his lucrative $1.05 million purchase at the OBS March Sale in 2017 when shipping to the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots to defeat a salty bunch of 3-year-olds in the Grade III $200,000 Lecomte Stakes by 3¾ lengths under Javier Castellano.
Believe In Royalty broke out on top coming out of the gate and led the field in opening fractions of 23.48 and 47.52 with Snapper Sinclair tracking in second while the eventual winner sat in third position. With three-quarters of the journey covered, Snapper Sinclair gained control and led the way in 1:13.38 before Instilled Regard asserted his way to the front and opened up on the remainder of the field to victory in a time of 1:42.59 for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. The Steve Asmussen-trained trio of Principe Guilherme, Snapper Sinclair and Zing Zang ran second, third and fourth, respectively.
“I didn’t want to dictate the pace it was only his third time going two turns,” Castellano said. “He put himself in good track position. “I could’ve gone to the whip and I didn’t want people chasing me. I wanted to save it for the finish. He’s a great horse and he’s got a great mind and I like the way that he conducted himself.”
A son of Arch, Instilled Regard was third last time out in the Gr. I Los Alamitos Futurity in December, but was elevated to after the winner Solomini was disqualified for interference in the stretch. He has never finished off the board in five career starts. Instilled Regard earned 4 points on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard following said effort and earned 10 more after his triumph in the Lecomte. He now sits at No. 6 on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard.
“I’m very grateful to be here,” Hollendorfer said. “I talked it over with (owner Larry Best) and we came up with the decision to bring him to the Fair Grounds mostly because it was Larry’s idea and it was a good idea as we can see it worked out. We haven’t been around here much but it was a good race to run in and the time was good, too. The best thing about him other than his raw talent is that nothing bothers him. He ships well and settles in wherever he goes.”
Meanwhile, trainer Steve Asmussen spoke of his threesome of runners.
“I didn’t want (Principe Guilherme) to get beat, but it happened,” the Hall of Fame conditioner said following the race. “That was a pretty tough trip to win from. He stayed on nicely. Obviously, I’d have liked for him to gotten over in front of them (going into the first turn). He ran solid but not great. I thought he handled that well, the kickback. He was a little tucked in down the backside. As smooth as his first two races went, there was a lot of variables in it for him there (today).”
Principe Guilherme will more than likely continue to train at the Fair Grounds and prepare for the remaining local Kentucky Derby preps at the New Orleans oval.
“I was surprised to see him at 28-1. In the (Breeders’ Cup) Juvenile Turf at Del Mar,” Asmussen said of third-place finisher Snapper Sinclair. “He had no chance with the draw. I’ll talk with (owner) Jeff Bloom as far as what is next.”
Asmussen believes that fourth-place finisher Zing Zang wants more distance.
“He ran well,” Asmussen said. “I don’t think they write races as far he wants to run. Watching the replay, he seemed off the bridle but ended up running his best through the wire The good news is that the more money is longer.”
Instilled Regard earned $120,000 from his victory in the Lecomte which pushed his career bankroll to $228,000. He returned $6.60, $3.20 and $3 while runner-up Principe Guilherme brought back $3.20 and $2.80. Snapper Sinclair returned $9.60.
Rounding out the order of finish were Zing Zang, Kowboy Karma, Ebben, Prince Lucky, Night Strike, Lone Sailor, Zeke, Analyze This Jet, Believe In Royalty and Trigger Warning.
Ciaran and Wonder Gadot were scratched.
In the following stakes event, Godolphin LLC’s ultra-consistent Cedartown scored his second stakes victory in the Louisiana Stakes for trainer Mike Stidham.
Guided by Joe Bravo, the son of Candy Ride (Arg.) sat third off of a slow pace led by Shut The Box who set opening fractions of 24.51, 48.62, 1:13.71. Around the far turn, the pacesetter surrendered to the eventual winner who took the mile-and-a-sixteenth event by two lengths. Dirt marathon specialist Scuba ran second and last year’s Louisiana Stakes winner Hawaakom took the show spot.
“Don’t you love race horses?” a jubilant Bravo said. “This horse is really a fun young horse that has just kept stepping it up more and more. He’s always been first or second in every start he’s run in. You got to really love him, he’s just getting better and better. He’s been breezing lights out in the morning.”
Stidham could not be more proud of his now two-time stakes winner, who previously won the Zia Park Derby in November.
“His work last week was amazing,” Stidham said. “He has just gotten really consistent where he has never been worse than second in his life. He keeps stepping up every time we raise the bar. We’re lucky to have him. We’d love to win the (Gr. II $400,000) New Orleans Handicap (on March 24) so that’s what we’ll try to do.
Cedartown increased his lifetime earnings to $249,200 following the Louisiana Stakes and rewarded his backers in payouts of $8, $4.60 and $3.80. Runner-up Scuba returned $10.20 and $5.80 while Hawaakom returned $6.20.
The Player, Shut The Box, Cooptado (Arg.), Seattle Serenade, Guest Suite and December Seven completed the order of finish.
Dazzling Gem, Leofric and Rated R Superstar were scratched.
Cover Photo: Instilled Regard; Hodges Photography
About Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots
Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, the nation’s third-oldest racetrack, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, LA, Fair Grounds is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN); it also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and 11 off-track betting parlors throughout southeast Louisiana. The 146th Thoroughbred Racing Season – highlighted by the 105thrunning of the Louisiana Derby – will run from November 18, 2017 through March 31, 2018. More information can be found online.