The Lecomte Stakes

The 2023 Road To The Kentucky Derby heads back to the Louisiana portion of the path this Saturday, with the running of the Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes.

The Lecomte will be run at its customary 1 1/16-mile distance and will have a purse of $200,000 dollars.

The race will award 20 points to the Winner on the Road To The Kentucky Derby points schedule.

The race is named for LECOMTE, a dominant Louisiana-based horse in the 1850s. First held in 1943, the Lecomte Stakes became restricted to 3-year-olds in 1962 and was given Grade 3 status for the first time in 2003.

It has since taken its place as one of the first stops on the Derby trail and is a major stepping stone to the Louisiana Derby.

FRIESAN FIRE (2009) is the only horse that swept his way through Fair Grounds’ three Kentucky Derby preps. He was trained by Larry Jones, who also sent out the 2007 Lecomte Winner- HARD SPUN.

FRIESAN FIRE Won the Lecomte handily, stalking the pace and drawing off to a 1 ½-length Win.

He enjoyed another good trip in the Risen Star Stakes and picked up a two-length Victory.

In the Louisiana Derby, he went off as the 2-1 favorite and once again stalked the pace and pulled away to a dominant, 7 ¼-length Win.

Off those impressive Victories, he was made the 7-2 favorite in the Kentucky Derby.

He had an awkward break in the Derby but managed to settle into his usual stalking position. FRIESAN FIRE was asked for run on the final turn, but he came up empty and finished a distant 18th.

More recently, in the 2019 Lecomte the racing world took notice of WAR OF WILL. It was just his second lifetime start on dirt for trainer Mark Casse.

He Won his first start on the surface impressively at Churchill Downs, which gave encouragement to his connections to give the Lecomte a try.

Bettors made him the 8-5 favorite and their faith was well rewarded. He stalked the pace and Won by four lengths, immediately stamping himself a Kentucky Derby contender.

WAR OF WILL followed with a 2 ¼-length Risen Star Win but disappointed in both the Louisiana Derby and the Kentucky Derby– in which he had a rough trip.

In the Preakness he went off at 6-1 odds in a wide-open field. His supporters were rewarded as WAR OF WILL Won by 1 ¼ lengths to become just the second Lecomte Victor to Win a Triple Crown race, the first being OXBOW in the 2013 Preakness.

Fourteen months later, WAR OF WILL added a grass Grade 1 Victory to his resume when he Won the Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland. He became the first Preakness Champion to Win a Grade 1 on multiple surfaces since CALIFORNIA CHROME in 2014.

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