The Brad Cox-trained Instant Coffee can emerge as one of leading contenders for the Kentucky Derby when he leaves the starting gate in the 2023 Lecomte Stakes on Saturday at Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans. A winner of two races in three career starts, Instant Coffee enters Saturday as a 40-1 shot in the latest Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool. A victory in the Lecomte would lower those odds considerably. For Saturday Instant Coffee is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the 2023 Lecomte Stakes odds. Two Phil's is second in the odds in the eight-horse Lecomte Stakes 2023 field. The winner of the Lecomte Stakes 2023 will receive 20 qualifying points toward the Kentucky Derby. 

Post time for the Lecomte is 7:30 p.m. ET. With eight lightly raced 3-year-olds set to enter the starting gate on Saturday, you'll want to see what SportsLine writer Gene Menez has to say before making any 2023 Lecomte Stakes picks.

A former reporter and editor at Sports Illustrated, Menez covered an array of sports, including horse racing, for the magazine and its website for almost 14 years. Between 2010 and 2012, he served as SI's handicapper for the Triple Crown races and correctly predicted Super Saver to win the Kentucky Derby in 2010. In 2015, while writing for Sports on Earth, Menez accurately gave out the Kentucky Derby superfecta (American Pharoah, Firing Line, Dortmund and Frosted), which paid $1,268.20 for $2. Then in 2017, he tweeted out his Kentucky Derby picks, including Always Dreaming to win, and hit the Pick 4, which paid almost $6,900 on a $1 bet.

Now, he has handicapped the 2023 Lecomte Stakes lineup, made his picks and constructed his bets. Head to SportsLine to see them

Top Lecomte Stakes picks

One surprise: Menez who did a deep dive on each of the eight horses in the field, is completely throwing out Two Phil's, even though he is the second on the morning-line at 4-1. A 3-year-old son of Hard Spun, Two Phil's has three wins in five career starts. He is coming off a win in the Street Sense Stakes at Churchill Downs on Oct. 30.

But that race was run on the slop, and bettors should always be skeptical of horses coming off big wins in the slop. Also, Two Phil's zig-zagged down the stretch in that race, showing he still has much maturing to do. Menez is not including Two Phil's in any of his wagers. See who it is at SportsLine.

How to make Lecomte Stakes selections

Menez's top pick is a horse who "has been working well in the mornings." He also is high on a longshot who "provides solid value." He is including these horses in his wagers, and so should you. He's sharing which horses to back only at SportsLine.

So who wins the Lecomte Stakes? What longshot is a must-back? And how has Menez constructed his wagers? Check out the latest Lecomte Stakes odds below, then visit SportsLine to see Menez's picks for the Lecomte Stakes.

2023 Lecomte Stakes odds, post positions

Prg #HorseOddsProjection
1Echo Again6-1SEE PICKS
2Denington8-1SEE PICKS
3Bromley5-1SEE PICKS
4Confidence Game8-1SEE PICKS
5Tapit's Conquest9-2SCRATCH 
6Itzos10-1SEE PICKS
7Instant Coffee5-2SEE PICKS
8Two Phil's4-1SEE PICKS