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Indiana Derby, Oaks & Pick 4

Indiana Derby Day at Indiana Downs

Indiana DownsSaturday, October 5th is a huge day of racing at Indiana Downs which includes the Indiana Oaks and the Indiana Derby. Indiana Downs boasts “19 Years of Racing Tradition in the 19th State” and although Indiana Downs has not been one of my favorite tracks to wager on in the past, this meet has had me looking at the track in Central Indiana in a different light. In this article we will preview both the Indiana Oaks and the Indiana Derby for your wagering consideration, but there is also a $50,000 Guaranteed Pick 4 for stakes races 8-11, so before we get into the Oaks or the Derby let’s make a quick recap of races 8 and 9 and give you our selections for this Pick 4.

The Mari Hulman George Stakes

Don't Tell SophiaRace 8 is the $100,000 Mari Hulman George Stakes for fillies and mares 3 years old and older going 1 1/16 of a mile. The 8/5 morning line favorite is the coupled entry of Trans Continental and Don’t Tell Sophia. Don’t Tell Sophia is the favored of this entry. The 5 year old mare has wins in the Pippin and the Bayakoa Stakes as well as a 2nd place finish in the Grade 3 Azeri and a 3rd place show in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom Handicap, all at Oaklawn Park. She has the highest speed figure in this race for her win in the Bayakoa, but hasn’t matched that effort since. She has also not raced since her outing in the Apple Blossom back in April, which concerns me. My value play here is Magic Hour. If she is left out on the lead alone, she could very well run this one in alone. She has the speed and endurance to do it, too. For a longshot, I like Layali Dubai at 12 to 1 on the morning line. She completely bounced in her last outing in the Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon Stakes and just couldn’t get going. I can forgive her for this and her 5th place finish in the Ontario Matron at Woodbine. She had some great wins in England about this time last year and I look for her to return to that form here.

The Michael G Schaefer Memorial Stakes

TaptowneRace 9 is the $100,000 Michael G Schaefer Memorial Stakes that will host a field of 12 three year olds and older traveling 1mile and 70 yards. The 7/2 morning line favorite is Seruni. Seruni is fully capable of winning this one; I’m just not convinced that he will. His last outing was in the Firecracker at Churchill where Wise Dan worked his magic in trouble and won by 2 ½ lengths under much weight. Of course getting beat by Wise Dan is no shocker, but Lea also beat him in that race and he ran 3rd. Because he can be explosive and is due for that type of run, I will leave him in my Pick 4 selections. I’m also a Jon Court fan and since he has the mount, I like Seruni’s chances. I think Taptowne has the best shot here and will be my value play. In his 8 starts this year he has run 4th once, 3rd once, 2nd four times and 1st twice. His last win was in the West Virginia Governor’s Stakes at Mountaineer and he followed that with a 2nd place finish in the Ack Ack at Churchill. With Calvin Borel on his back and in post position 2, I look for a rail trip and a win here. For a longshot play, I like Whatthecatdrugin at ML 20 to 1. His last two outings have been poor, but he did run 2nd to Taptowne in the West Virgina Governor’s and I look for him to improve here.

Indiana Oaks

FiftyshadesofhayRace 10 brings us to the $200,000 Grade 2 Indiana Oaks. Set at 1 1/16 of a mile, this event will host a field of 8 three year old fillies. The even money morning line favorite is Fiftyshadesofhay.  The Bob Baffert trained filly will definitely be the one to beat here and they will have a tough time doing it. In the Pick 4 this would be a great race for the single play because Fiftyshadesofhay has been pretty consistent all year and stands out like a sore thumb in this crowd. If I have any concerns about an upset, I look for it to come from Seaneen Girl at 9/2 on the morning line. She has a pattern of bouncing in one race and running big in the next. In the Kentucky Oaks she ran 9th, but in her next race she ran 2nd. She runs 7th in the Regret and follows that up with a 2nd place finish in the Iowa Oaks. She comes back with a 6th place finish in the Arlington Oaks, but then dominates with a 6 length win in the Monmouth Oaks. Her last outing she flopped in the Cotillion at Parx, running 7th. If she follows that pattern in this race, I look for a big run from her with a slight chance of an upset.

Indiana Derby

Holy LuteFinally in our Pick 4 we have the 11th race on the card at Indiana Downs with the $500,000 Grade 2 Indiana Derby. Set at 1 1/16 of a mile, the Indiana Derby has a full field of 12 with 3 also eligible horses in the wings. The 3 to 1 morning line favorite is Power Broker trained by Bob Baffert. Power Broker was last year’s Frontrunner Stakes winner as well as the Easy Goer Stakes at Belmont in June. He followed that win up with a 2nd place finish in the Haskell, 9 ¾ lengths behind Verrazano. I look for a big effort from this horse here. The coupled entry of Midnight Taboo and Micromanage looks good here, too. The favor is going to Micromanage here for his 3rd place finish in the Haskell, but I’m not so sure he can outrun Power Broker here. I also like Midnight Taboo, although I don’t think we’ve seen the best from this horse yet. Unfortunately he has scratched from this one. For value, I like Uncaptured. He’s fully capable of “capturing” this win. His works are hot and his experience in stakes races will help him here. For my longshot play, I really like Holy Lute at 12 to 1 on the ML. Although he has only been out 3 times and lacks experience especially never having gone at this distance, his speed figures are improving and I feel with this pace set up he will get there. He has only raced on synthetic, but as a son of Midnight Lute, he should handle the dirt like a beast and upset this field.  Throw in his recent bullet workout of 58 and 3 over 5 furlongs, running first out of 47 at Santa Anita and I think Holy Lute could very well dazzle us in this one.

Indiana Pick 4 Selections (Races 8-11)

Race 8- Don’t Tell Sophia/Magic Hour/Layali Dubai

Race 9- Taptowne/Whatthecatdrugin/Seruni

Race 10- Fiftyshadesofhay/Seaneen Girl

Race 11- Holy Lute/Uncaptured/Power Broker/Micromanage

 

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Mike Jr, eldest son of Mike Lane Sr, is co-lead author at HandicapHorseRacing.com and was raised on thoroughbred horse racing and handicapping. Although father and son often butt heads on their selections, they both have much love and admiration for the sport. Mike Jr. brings a new, fresh perspective to horse racing and is often in search of new angles to try.

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