Kentucky Derby Prep Preview: 2023 Lecomte Stakes

A short but competitive field lines up for the Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds. We see a few minor flaws with the morning-line favorite Instant Coffee. Here’s the race analysis from our Racetrack Super Scout (RTSS) report:

False Favorite: Instant Coffee (5-2).

Reason: He blasted through the late stages to win the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes in November. But the winning time was slower than both a maiden race and allowance race on the same day. His late-running style and outside post aren’t favorable on this course. Also, he found himself far back against classy horses in the Grade 1 Breeders Futurity and was a nonfactor. He might relive that experience if there’s a true Kentucky Derby caliber rival in this race.

BET #4 Confidence Game (8-1). A bargain purchase at $25,000, this Keith Desormeaux trainee continues to show flashes of brilliance. He broke his maiden in a Churchill Downs sprint, leading all the way and drawing away by 5 lengths after running an opening quarter in :21.3. He ended his 2-year-old campaign by finishing second to a Pletcher monster named Forbidden Secret, who had just won a maiden race by 9.5 lengths. In his most recent start, fill-in rider Brian Hernandez pushed him to the lead in a Churchill allowance race in fast fractions. His winning time in that race was faster than the time for the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes that took place three races later. He owns a pace and final time advantage over all rivals here that have competed around two turns. That makes him our top pick.