By post time, Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Lecomte Stakes won’t include the full 14-horse field drawn a week ago. But the first 2019 Kentucky Derby prep at New Orleans’ Fair Grounds should remain a highly competitive betting race.

Plus Que Parfait, second in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2), is a lofty 9-2 on the morning line as the favorite. But news broke late Friday that second choice Mr. Money — fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in his last start — will miss the Lecomte after emerging from a final gallop with a cough.

“We scoped him this morning and really didn’t show much,” trainer Bret Calhoun said Friday. “It looked like he had a little scratch in his throat. Obviously we hoped that it was just little irritation, but we kept monitoring him as the day went on we were taking his temperature. The blood work confirmed that he had a white blood count.”

Admire, who drew the No. 14 post position, and West Texas, also-eligible and the horse set to inherit the outside stall, are both expected to scratch, too. Mo Speed is said to be a race day decision.

Here’s what’s left of the Lecomte field with War of Will and Tackett the next logical betting choice behind Plus Que Parfait. Regardless, the winner Saturday will add a first stakes victory to his resume.

Wicked Indeed (12-1)
2. Malpais (12-1)
3. Tackett (6-1)
4. Mr. Money (SCR)
5. Night Ops (30-1)
6. Hog Creek Hustle (12-1)
7. Roiland (12-1)
8. War of Will (6-1)
9. Mo Speed (20-1)
10. Chase the Ghost (12-1)
11. Tight Ten (8-1)
12. Plus Que Parfait (9-1)
13. Manny Wah (10-1)
14. Admire (SCR)
AE. West Texas (SCR)

Tune in

Post time for the Lecomte, Race 12 of 14 on a stakes-packed card, is 6:49 p.m. ET in New Orleans.
TVG will carry the race, or you can live stream it through advanced deposit wagering services such as NYRABets.

Also on the card

Five stakes support the Lecomte, and they run consecutively after some competitive races — none for claimers — in Races 1-7. Stakes action begins at 4:53 p.m. ET.

Race 8:
Marie G. Krantz Memorial

Race 9: Louisiana Stakes

Race 10: Colonel E. R. Bradley

Race 11: Silverbulletday Stakes

Race 12: Lecomte Stakes

Race 13: Duncan F. Kenner Stakes

Lecomte Stakes handicapping

 Expert Lecomte Stakes picks and predictions

 Free Lecomte Stakes past performances

 Going “price shopping” with Fair Grounds’ handicapper

 Super Screener: The longshot you can’t ignore

 Why Plus Que Parfait has the look of a winner


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