OXO Equine's Instilled Regard shipped from Southern California to take on a 13-wide field of sophomore colts in Saturday's G3 LeComte Stakes. The Jerry Hollendorfer trainee drew Hall of Fame rider Javier Castellano from the opposite side of the country, and required 1:42.59 to prove his talent at the Fair Grounds. A son of Arch, Instilled Regard was never worse than fourth in the early going, and took over in mid-stretch to cruise to a comfortable 3 3/4-length winning margin over the one mile and 70 yard course. Off at odds of 2-1, the colt earned 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby by defeating favorite Principe Guilherme, Snapper Sinclair, and Zing Zang.
“I didn't want to dictate the pace it was only his third time going two turns,” Castellano said. “He put himself in good track position. “I could've gone to the whip and I didn't want people chasing me. I wanted to save it for the finish. He's a great horse and he's got a great mind and I like the way that he conducted himself.”
Instilled Regard broke well for Castellano, tracking alongside Snapper Sinclair and Believe in Royalty in a battle for the lead. The latter pair took over through the first turn, but Believe in Royalty refused to settle until he had drawn away to a 1 1/2-length lead over Snapper Sinclair. Castellano got a good spot out in the clear in third, with Lone Sailor keeping his mount company from the rail position.
After fractions of :23.48 and :47.52, Snapper Sinclair engaged Believe in Royalty on the front end. Instilled Regard kept close tabs on those leaders as favorite Principe Guilherme began making up ground from the back half of the field.
Snapper Sinclair grabbed the lead at the top of the stretch, but Instilled Regard was able to put away that rival in a matter of strides. It was a one-horse race to the finish from there, with Castellano barely having to encourage Instilled Regard through the wire 3 3/4 lengths in front. Principe Guilherme got up to finish second over Snapper Sinclair, while Zing Zang also closed late to finish fourth.
“I didn't want (Principe Guilherme) to get beat, but it happened,” said trainer Steve Asmussen, who saddled the second through fourth-place finishers. “That was a pretty tough trip to win from. He stayed on nicely. Obviously, I'd have liked for him to gotten over in front of them (going into the first turn). He ran solid but not great. I thought he handled that well, the kickback. He was a little tucked in down the backside. As smooth as his first two races went, there was a lot of variables in it for him there (today).”
Bred in Kentucky by KatieRich Farms, Instilled Regard is out of the winning Forestry mare Enhancing. His second dam is champion Heavenly Prize, the dam of Grade 1 winner Good Reward, G2 winner Pure Prize and stakes winner Cosmic. The colt was an RNA for $110,000 at the Keeneland September sale, but after breezing a quarter in :20 4/5 at the OBS March sale he brought a final bid of $1,050,000. Instilled Regard needed three starts to break his maiden, but he finished a good second in the G1 CashCall Futurity after significant bumping in the lane.
Overall, Instilled Regard has two wins, two seconds and a third from five starts and earnings of nearly $230,000.
“I'm very grateful to be here,” Hollendorfer said. “I talked it over with (owner Larry Best) and we came up with the decision to bring him to the Fair Grounds mostly because it was Larry's idea and it was a good idea as we can see it worked out. We haven't been around here much but it was a good race to run in and the time was good, too. The best thing about him other than his raw talent is that nothing bothers him. He ships well and settles in wherever he goes.”
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