W. S. Farish and Lora Jean Kilroy’s homebred Guest Suite closed from mid-pack to win Saturday’s G3 Lecomte Stakes at the Fair Grounds, earning 10 points toward the Kentucky Derby with his one-length victory. The sophomore son of Quality Road, ridden by Robby Albarado for trainer Neil Howard, covered 1 mile and 70 yards in 1:43.20 over the main track rated “good.”
“It’s great. Everyone has the same goals looking ahead after getting started in a race like this,” said Howard. “Obviously it was nothing short of great to see that kind of performance. Providing everything went well, we had (focused on this race) after Churchill. It’s hard because you try to give them a little bit of a break. I certainly think that everything is in front of him, but it’s too hard to tell. There are some really good ones out there, not the least of which is Ian’s horse (McCracken) who is very talented, but I thought this was a good gauge for him because it was a nice bunch of 3-year-olds. He has [turned a corner]. He has had a great schedule and hasn’t missed a beat training and has trained wonderfully down here.”
Phat Man took out to the lead from his inside post position, clocking the first quarter mile in :23.42. Running Mate came up that one’s outside to take the lead nearing the half-mile mark, as Takeoff and Untrapped tracked several lengths back in third and fourth. Guest Suite was between horses in sixth during the ealry running. After a half in 46.47, Running Mate continued to be pressured by Phat Man, and Untrapped began making up ground entering the far turn.
At the top of the stretch, Albarado had moved Guest Suite out to make a four-wide rally toward the leaders. Takeoff briefly took over the lead, but Guest Suite flew past that rival with ease. Albarado wrapped up on the colt during the final 100 yards, allowing the margin of victory to shrink to just a length over a late-running Untrapped. Takeoff had to settle for third.
“I had a great trip,” Albarado said. “He’s a nice horse and Neil has done an exceptional job with him. He’s growing up. He’s a smart horse and it makes it easy. He’s been training forwardly. I just show up for the races, they do all the work, the Howard stable.”
Bred in Kentucky, Guest Suite is out of a daughter of Ghostzapper. The colt had never finished worse than third in four career starts, but the Lecomte is his first black-type win. With three wins from five starts, Guest Suite now boasts earnings of just over $ 200,000.
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