Oxbow broke well from the gate, set the early pace through splits of 24.44, 48.58 and 1:13.34 for six furlongs, and then pulled away from the field to win the Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes at the Fair Grounds by open lengths. Golden Soul closed from last to finish second, while Fear the Kitten rounded out the trifecta.
The Lecomte Stakes is the first of three Kentucky Derby prep races at the Fair Grounds this winter/spring. The next race is the Risen Star on Feb. 23, followed by the $1 million Louisiana Derby on March 30.
Circle Unbroken, an impressive juvenile sprinter last summer and the second choice on the morning line, didn't show any speed in his first start in five months, which was part of the reason Oxbow had little company in the early stages of the race. Relegated towards the rear of the field right from the gate, Circle Unbroken struggled to mount any kind of serious challenge.
Morning line and post time favorite Avie's Quality, making the first start on a dirt surface of his career, ran poorly and finished out of the money.
The Lecomte Stakes is an official "Road to the Kentucky Derby" prep race with the top four finishers earning points to determine the 20 horses in the starting gate on the first Saturday in May. For their efforts, Oxbow earns 10 points, Golden Soul four points, Fear the Kitten two points, and fourth place finisher Ive Struck a Nerve earns one point.
Oxbow is a three-year-old colt by Awesome Again out of a Cee's Tizzy mare (Tizamazing), trained by Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas and ridden by Jon Court. This is the first graded stakes victory for Oxbow; he finished fourth in his only other graded race, the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park on Dec. 15.
Below are the payouts, fractions and internal splits for the Lecomte Stakes:
|3-Fear the Kitten||$4.20|
|Base||Bet||Combo||Payout||Pays to -|