9 entered for Saturday’s LeComte// Get Happy Mister transferred to Von Hemel, will he ever stretch out?// Avare arrives at Oaklawn

It’s interesting to see what angle the major horse racing publications use when previewing a race with no clear-cut favorite. Nine entries were drawn for the LeComte (G3) this Saturday at the Fair Grounds, while Oxbow, Circle Unbroken, Avie’s Quality, Malibu High, and Golden Soul all received first paragraph attention.  The LeComte field represents a diverse cast in both accomplishments and geography.  The entries have raced in California, New York, Canada, Kentucky, and West Virginia.  Accomplishments range from maiden wins (Oxbow, Hawaakom, Golden Soul, Ive Struck a Nerve), allowance winners (Malibu High, Fear the Kitten, Heitei), a listed stakes winner (Avie’s Quality), and a graded stakes winner (Circle Unbroken)// With Calvin Borel on the sidelines with a wrist injury, Miguel Mena gets the temporary assignment aboard undefeated Malibu High.  I’m sure he’s happy to fill in for a $200,000 stakes race, but knowing he’s only a stopgap replacement will surely damper his enthusiasm if the colt performs well. Full entries and a link to free PPs for the LeComte can be found below// Palace Malice, last seen in August easily winning a Saratoga maiden contest, was entered in an allowance Saturday at Gulfstream. Todd Pletcher most likely has bigger plans for him after that// Undefeated Get Happy Mister was transferred to Kelly Von Hemel’s barn and pointing for the six-furlong Gazebo Stakes March 3 at Oaklawn. I normally wouldn’t pay much attention to a sprinter from Arapahoe Park, but the fact he’s won his four races by a combined 31 1/4 lengths and sired by Fountain Of Youth winner First Samurai I’ll keep him on my watch list.  You would hope his connections would at least try to stretch him out// More ink for Brown Almighty who will be making his dirt debut in the Smarty Jones Stakes on Monday.  The buzz generated for this slightly above-average turf runner is astounding, but apparently his trainer Tim Ice feels he’ll show a new dimension on dirt.  Among the challengers Brown Almighty will face is another buzz horse Avare. The Doug O’Neill trained sophomore is a recent winner of the Eddie Logan Stakes at Santa Anita and just arrived at Oaklawn// more…

LeComte Stakes (G3)- Fair Grounds- 1M 70 yards- 5:55 ET
Derby Points 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th: 10, 4, 2, 1
Preview Articles: Bloodhorse / DRF / Brisnet /

Pedigree Profile: Vyjack (Horse Racing Nation)

Heitei- EVT- 4F- 51:15- B- 2/10
Oxbow- OP- 4F- 50:20- B- 5/9

Photo of Avare at Oaklawn by Nick Hines via Twitter: