Fair Grounds Barn Notes: Thursday, January 19

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· Saint’s Fan Works, Confirmed Out of Lecomte
· Lecomte Closer Shareholder Value Improving for Amoss
· Honorable Duty Seeks Second Stakes of the Meet
· Arklow Steps Up for Hot Barn in Lecomte

SAINT’S FAN WORKS, CONFIRMED OUT OF LECOMTE

Saint’s Fan, who was expected to go to post in Saturday’s Grade III $200,000 Lecomte Stakes as one of the favorites, will bypass the race, according to breeder-owner-trainer Dallas Stewart. The son of Tale of Ekati drew the outside 12-post in the mile and 70-yard event and was unraced since impressively taking the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile on Dec. 10. Saint’s Fan is undefeated in two starts, having also impressively won on debut in open company a month prior to his stakes victory. The Lecomte would have been his first start around two turns and beyond six furlongs.

“The post position for his first time going long is the main reason to come out,” Stewart said. “I didn’t think it was in his favor and was a lot going against him, especially going against horses with two-turn experience. I’m going to take a different plan. There’s a stakes race for Louisiana-breds at Delta Downs and if not we have the Risen Star. He’s a really nice horse and our first main goal with him is the Louisiana Derby. He worked this morning and worked very well.”

Saint’s Fan, who is out of Stewart’s only broodmare — the Sky Mesa mare Boy Crazy — worked a half-mile in an easy 50 flat on Thursday morning.

LECOMTE CLOSER SHAREHOLDER VALUE IMPROVING FOR AMOSS

Much like it did last year with G M B Racing’s Mo Tom, Saturday’s renewal of the Grade III $200,000 Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots appears to have ample pace and could set up for a talented closer.

This year, another son of Uncle Mo trained by Tom Amoss aims to power home victoriously in the first of three local Kentucky Derby preps in Klaravich Racing and William H. Lawrence’s Shareholder Value. A smart winner last time with a visually impressive turn of foot, the $190,000 Keeneland September 2015 purchase breaks from post four in the featured and final of six stakes events.

“I think he’s an improving horse and that’s the best thing he has going for him,” Amoss said. “He needs to improve to win a race like this. Visually his race last time was very good looking and particularly his finish. When it was measured by speed ratings, it was just average. I believe in those, but I think this that in (the Lecomte), a finishing kick is going to win the race.”

On Dec. 26 in allowance company, Shareholder Value defeated winners with an explosive kick at the top of the stretch. The victory was his second from five starts and followed a sixth-place finish in the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club four weeks prior.

HONORABLE DUTY SEEKS SECOND STAKES OF MEET

DARRS Inc.’s Honorable Duty looks to improve upon an impressive victory last time in the $75,000 Tenacious Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots when he goes to post as one of the logical choices in Saturday’s $75,000 Louisiana Stakes for older horses at 1 1/16 miles on the main track. The son of Distorted Humor, trained by Brendan Walsh, has continued to train forwardly since and is giving his Irish-born conditioner confidence in his chances of striking twice in a row in stakes company at the New Orleans oval.

“He’s really doing super,” Walsh said. “He’s training great, working well and physically looks just great. His last race (at a mile and 70 yards) was the shortest he needs to go, so any bit of an extension is going to help him. If he moves forward off that, which I think he will, he should be tough in there.

“I still don’t think we’ve seen the best of him,” Walsh continued. “I’ve always thought very highly of him and I think we’re only getting going with him. Since we gelded him and took the blinkers off he’s really moved forward.”

Honorable Duty drew post seven of eight in the Louisiana and has the return services of James Graham.

ARKLOW STEPS UP FOR HOT BARN IN LECOMTE

Leading trainer Brad Cox surprised some when he entered Donegal Racing’s Arklow in the Grade III $200,000 Lecomte Stakes, but the son of Arch will garner plenty of respect because of his record and connections. A maiden, the $160,000 Keeneland September 2015 purchase ran an impressive race last time when second a length to one of the Lecomte’s expected favorites — John C. Oxley’s Mark Casse-trained Takeoff — and hails from a barn that is batting 30% since the meet commenced on Nov. 19.

“He’s doing well,” Cox said. “He’s going to have to step forward, but I think it’s possible. I think he could definitely be 1-2-3 in the race and is a young 3-year-old who obviously is going to get better with time and distance. Hopefully he’s a horse who can do that. (Takeoff) is a good horse who beat him last time and he maybe had a cleaner and slightly more favorable trip last time.”

Jon Court picks up the ride from post two. He had drawn post three of nine last time in the course and distance maiden heat, an effort that followed two Churchill Downs maiden losses.

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