Surgical Strike Key to Centaur Stakes day at Indiana Grand

Profile Picture: Ed DeRosa

Ed DeRosa

September 7th, 2016

Surgical Strike appeared on my radar when winning the Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park. I liked that race so much that I bet him to win the Kentucky Derby ahead of his Spiral Stakes try. A third-place finish there derailed his Triple Crown hopes, but he has been an active participant of the three-year-old turf division--finishing third in the American Turf on Kentucky Derby day before winning the Arlington Classic and finishing unplaced in a pair of Grade 1 races at 1 1/4 miles: The Belmont Derby and Secretariat Stakes.

Now the son of Red Giant cuts back to a mile and gets considerable class relief when testing nine other three-year-olds in the $200,000 Centaur Stakes on Wednesday at Indiana Grand.

And I'm here to tell you that as the 5-to-2 favorite against some Saratoga stakes performers, I'll try to beat him.

The Centaur Stakes is the 2nd leg of the late Pick 4 that begins in race 5 and also includes the $100,000 A. J. Foyt S. Stakes for older Indiana breds on turf, and I'll be leaning heavily on that aforementioned Saratoga stakes experience with #6 Holding Gold & #7 Giant Run. The former won the Quick Call Stakes sprinting on turf, but should have no trouble stretching out to a mile being by Lonhro out of a Golden Missile mare. The latter is already a multiple stakes winner who tried to make all in the Hall of Fame Stakes and reunites with jockey Joe Bravo.

Day to day, Indiana Grand has a great multi-race wagering menu that includes a pair of $0.50 Pick 4s among rolling Pick 3s. Today's early sequence goes stakes-maiden-stakes-maiden while the late sequence goes maiden-stakes-maiden-stakes, making the fifth race maiden special weight race a part of both Pick 4s. Why Indiana Grand could not make a stakes race part of both Pick 4s instead is anyone's guess.

The heaviest lean in the early sequence is in leg 2 (race 3) where #5 Vickies Dream has the race covered early and #8 Equitable has it covered late. The track profile for six furlongs on the dirt favors early speed, and there's no doubt Vickies Dream has it based on her recent starts at Prairie Meadows. Equitable showed some signs of life last out when turning back and has raced against several next-out winners. A repeat of her last gets the job done here. Based on the morning line, firsters #3 Illusion Artist and #6 Eight Grand are well meant, but we're late in the three-year-old season for hot debuts, and I see experience as an asset here.

For those who just want to win, baby, is offering 1-million points to those who win at least $100 on win bets throughout the 10-race card (the late double is out of the Pick 4 bus is active for the promo and includes a maiden Quarter Horse race to end the day).