Solid program carded for Indiana Derby Day

Profile Picture:

TwinSpires Staff

July 14th, 2017

by Scott Shapiro

It is Indiana Derby Day at Indiana Grand Racing and Casino on Saturday and that means a solid 10-race card filled with quality stakes action and solid opportunities for horseplayers all evening long.

Click here to find Scott Shapiro’s full card Daily Selections for Indiana Grand and the Southern California circuit

For those of you that like to play horizontals, Indiana Grand is offering a third Pick 4 on their big summer card. In addition to the regular sequences that commence in Race 2 and Race 5, a third all stakes four-race slate begins in Race 6 and concludes with the 23rd running of the Grade 3 Indiana Derby.

All three Pick 4 sequences are attractive given the field sizes and quality of racing, but let’s dive into the wager that includes both the Indiana Oaks and the Indiana Derby.

Race 6

The 8th running of the Mari Hulman George Stakes for fillies and mares contested at 1 1/16 miles for a purse of $100,000 gets things started in the final Pick 4 of the card.

Big World (#5) is the deserving 2-1-morning-line favorite for trainer Tom Amoss. The four-year-old filly had rattled off four straight victories, including a win over the slop in the Grade 2 La Troienne back on Oaks Day, but finished a disappointing fourth in the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis Handicap to the impressive Forever Unbridled last time out.

The Maggi Moss-owned daughter of Custom for Carlos gets some class relief on Saturday in the non-graded, two-turn event for fillies and mares, and should be able to use her tactical speed to work out a clean stalking voyage under jockey Ricardo Santana Jr.

I will rely heavily on Big World, but also give outside chances to Cced (#1), Twenty in One (#2), Miner’s Cat (#7) and Brooklynsway (#9).

Race 7

The 18th running of the Michael G. Schaeffer Memorial for three-year-olds and upward is up next.

I will take a stand against 5-2-morning-line favorite Eagle (#2) in this $100,000 event run at a mile and 70 yards over the main track. Sure, the son of Candy Ride exits the best races, but he has not won since last April and his lack of early speed is once again likely to leave Brian Hernandez Jr. too much to do late.

I will use a few horses, but my top choice is Abraham (#3). This seven-year-old gelding has won three-of-four, including a victory via disqualification back on May 30 and enters his first try against stakes company since September 2015 in fine form for trainer Paul Holthus. His affinity for the Indiana Grand surface and his likely stalking trip make him quite appealing at 12-1 on the morning line.

I also give chances to Fear the Cowboy (#1), Mo Tom (#6) and Money Flows (#7) in a race where a solid case can be made for all runners outside of Warden of the West (#5), who appears outclassed.

Race 8

The Grade 3 Indiana Oaks makes up the third leg of the additional Pick 4. It is a $200,000 event for three-year-old fillies run at 1 1/16 miles.

Majestic Quality (#4) has yet to defeat winners, but I think Saturday is the day for the daughter of Quality Road.

Trainer Keith Desormeaux has always believed in this filly and she has really started to come around of late. I envision Keith’s brother Kent working out a perfect off the pace voyage and running down favorite Mopotism (#8) in the final furlong. 

If you are looking to include a filly at a price, perhaps Awestruck (#5) can step up and be competitive with the top two on the morning line. The daughter of Tapit has shown serious talent for trainer Rusty Arnold and could move forward on the stretch out to 1 1/16 miles.

Race 9

The sequence concludes with the featured Indiana Derby. The event for three-year-olds is headlined by 8-5-morning-line favorite Irap (#2).

The winner of the Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland and the Grade 3 Ohio Derby last month at Thistledown comes in with the strongest resume and off the best race. The Reddam Racing colt struggled to win races on the West Coast but has come to life of late and is the clear one to beat on paper.

I respect Irap in this spot, but have my concerns. Firstly, Julien Leparoux has been aboard him in both graded stakes wins, but trainer Doug O’Neill turns back to regular rider Mario Gutierrez on Saturday. Gutierrez will have to avoid traffic trouble from his inside draw and have enough late to put away a competitive group in the lane.

Additionally, Irap has never put back-to-back races together.  The son of Tiznow ran hard to nose out Girvin in Ohio. He may be a horse that is continuing to improve with each start, but there is also a possibility of him regressing at a short price in the Indiana Derby. I think he is one of the likeliest winners, but is worth taking a shot against due to a likely lack of value.

My top choice in the big race is Awesome Saturday (#8). The lightly raced colt takes on stakes competition for the initial time after a three-length victory against high-level optional claimers last month. He is a late bloomer according to his connections that has always had superior talent, but is starting to understand the mental portion of the game.

I will also include late running Hollywood Handsome (#5). The son of Tapizar never got a fair shake in the Belmont Stakes and should be rolling late if they go too fast early on.

Here is how I will attack the late Pick 4:

Ticket 1 ($1 wager)
5 with 1+3+6+7 with 4+5+8 with 5+8 = $24

Ticket 2  ($1 wager)
1+2+5+7+9 with 1+3+6+7 with 4 with 5+8 = $40

Ticket 3 ($2 wager)
5 with 1+3+6+7 with 4 with 5+8 = $16

Total Budget = $80

Good luck at the windows!