All-stakes Pick 4 play and thoughts on the Indiana Derby

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

July 15th, 2017

SHELBYVILLE, Ind. -- Fans looking at Indiana Grand's big card on Saturday night will have noticed two all-stakes Pick 4s on offer: the one "wit" or "wit out" the Indiana Derby (G3), as our friends in Philly might say.

The one ending in the Indiana Derby is dubbed the "Royal Pick 4," but I'm inclined to go for the one "wit out" the Derby as that begins in a contentious renewal of the $100,000 Warrior Veterans (Race 5) for older horses on the grass. Here's how my ticket will look:

Race 5 - $100,000 Warrior Veterans -- I, too, think Special Ops (#2, 15-1) is an intriguing longshot for all the reasons Scott Shapiro has written about. Morning line favorite Chocolate Ride (#5, 3-1) has the back class to lead all the way if not pressured by Western Reserve (#8), but Conquest Typhoon (#6, 8-1), second in this race last year, has been facing tough fields in allowances all season and can factor late with a little help up front.

Race 6 -- $100,000 Mari Hulman George -- Big World (#5, 2-1) didn't have the track working in her favor last time in the Fleur de Lis H. (G2) as she did in the La Troienne (G1) two back, but she's still one of the classes of the field. I was initially inclined to toss Brooklynsway (#9, 7-2) based on what happened last week in the Iowa Distaff last week, but then again she did win this race last season by more than eight lengths.

Race 7 -- $100,000 Michael G. Schaefer Memorial -- Horse-for-the-course Bucchero (#4, 5-1) is an Indiana-bred who looks to be in a tad deep in this field, but the pace advantage he might have is potentially too strong to ignore. It is only a mile and 70 yards tonight. A more logical choice is Fear the Cowboy (#1, 3-1),  a Grade 3 winner this year who was narrowly beaten last time but the eventual winner of the Prairie Meadows Cornhusker H. (G3).

Race 8 -- $200,000 Indiana Oaks (G3) -- Mopotism (#8, 7-5) has placed behind divisional leaders Abel Tasman and Unique Bella during her young career, and just missed in the Summertime Oaks (G2) at Santa Anita last time. She looks like the class of the field and is my single in the sequence.

Here's the $1 ticket: 2/5/6 with 5/9 with 1/4 with 8 = $12.

As for the $500,000 Indiana Derby (Race 9), I'll go for chalk on top there, too, and take Irap (#2, 8-5). He's much improved since upsetting the Blue Grass (G2) as a maiden and is coming into his own at the right time. For an exacta kicker, I'll use Hollywood Handsome (#5, 8-1), who obviously didn't get any sort of chance in the Belmont S. (G1) last month after jockey Florent Geroux lost the irons early on.

Good luck to all, and be sure to follow @TwinSpires throughout the evening for on-site coverage of the Indiana Derby.

(Mopotism photo: Coady Photograpphy)