Despite the impressive victory by Guest Suite in Saturday’s LeComte Stakes, little has changed in regard to the Kentucky Derby picture.
As I documented in a column last week, only four previous Kentucky Derby winners even competed in a Louisiana prep race and exactly zero winners of the LeComte have ever worn the roses in Louisville — although both Oxbow (2013) and Linkage (1982) wound up adorned in Black-eyed Susans (the official flower of the Preakness Stakes).
Still, Guest Suite looked good in victory, matching the 101 Equibase speed figure of last year’s winner Mo Tom, while recording an early speed ration (ESR) of -8 and a late speed ration (LSR) of -10. Better still, he gained a ton of ground on the turn — something I always love seeing from a Derby contender.
However, the horse that impressed me most in the LeComte was Takeoff. After breaking his maiden in wire-to-wire fashion, Takeoff raced close to the blistering early pace (-15 ESR) being set by Phat Man and Running Mate while running wide, yet held on extremely well to finish third.