We're back for a Wednesday, and we need to lead off with a mea culpa: we got our weeks mixed up yesterday, and it is not in fact Belmont week. We jumped the gun; the Belmont is next Saturday, June 8. We will say 10 Our Fathers, and 15 Hail Marys, and try to do better next time.
The major tracks today are all dark, so we are again going to take a look at the card at Indiana Grand in suburban Indianapolis, which has quietly been putting on some pretty decent racing, especially by middle-of-the-week standards. There is also a decent slate at Thistledown in Ohio, and we'll pop in for couple of races there.
The weather has been iffy there the past few days, with intermittent showers and thunderstorms, and even some tornadoes. We'll hope to dodge the raindrops in both Indiana and Ohio, and we've handicapped for fast and firm in both places. Let's go. . . .
Race 2 in Indiana is a conditioned $25,000 claimer at a mile on dirt for horses 3 and up. Post time is 2:43 p.m. (and as always, all times here are Eastern). Six are entered, but despite the short field, this is an interesting race to handicap. The two favorites, 6-Into My Dreams, who's 8/5, and 1-Money Trend, who's 2-1, are both in good form, but both are speed horses, and it looks to us like they are pretty evenly matched in terms of early zip. This should result in a speed duel, and it should set the race up for a horse coming from off the pace, and that is very clearly the third choice on the morning line, 3-1 3-Long Gray Line. This 4-year-old should get a nice mid-pack trip, from which he can watch the mutual pace destruction going on in front of him, and then seize control of the race when the two pace-setting favorites run each other into the ground. We see Long Gray Line making a move on the turn, seizing control of the race in the stretch, and winning going away. We will bet Long Gray Line to win at 3-1.
Indiana Grand Race 2
$25 to win on 3-Long Gray Line
The 5th at Indiana Grand is an allowance/optional claimer for fillies and mares 3 and up. It's at a 1 1/16 miles on the turf, with a listed post time of 4:07 p.m. A full field of 12 are entered. The class of the race is Mike Maker's 7-Shezaprado: this 5-year-old mare has been running in stakes company at in Florida and Kentucky. The drop here -- she last ran in the Grade 3 Orchid at Gulfstream Park, and here is entered for a $25,000 tag -- is concerning, but we think that it is not necessarily a negative sign, as she has not been competitive at the stakes level, and here drops to a level where she probably belongs. If she's sound, she wins this one, and we think that she probably is good to go, and we will make her our pick. We will bet her to win at 5/2.
Indiana Grand Race 5
$20 to win on 7-Shezaprado
Race 7 in Indiana (post time: 5:03 p.m.) is a one-mile turf affair, a Maiden Special for Indiana-breds 3 and older. We like 5-B R Cooper in here. This 4-year-old gelding is winless in 11 career starts, but they've mostly been on dirt, and he has fared better on turf (two seconds and a third in three career tries). Against a weak-looking group, it looks like he can get a good stalking trip, and grind his way to a workmanlike win. We will bet him to win at 4-1.
Indiana Grand Race 7
$25 to win on 5-B R Cooper
Over at Thistledown, the 1st race is a 5 1/2 furlong dirt race, a $12,500 claimer for horses 3 and older. Post time is 1:40 p.m. 5-Pray Hard is the kind of horse we love: this 8-year-old is a grizzled vet of these kinds of claiming races, and he's in good form now, with five consecutive solid efforts going back to February. He's got good tactical speed, and he is versatile with it: he can either go to the lead or stalk. We think he'll be pressing from the start, and we think he'll be able to stay in front all the way. We will bet him to win at 5/2.
Thistledown Race 1
$30 to win on 5-Pray Hard
Race 7 at Thistledown is a good third-level allowance race for Ohio-bred horses 3 and older. Post time is 4:40 p.m. This race has pace meltdown written all over it: there are some quality runners in here, but they're all speed types, and it sure looks like they're they're going to force a pace that is too fast, and which sets up the race for a closer. There are two in here we like, and normally we'd have a hard time separating them, but very conveniently, the two horses we fancy are coupled in an entry: they are 1-Rollin Way Over and 1A-Hansenation. Because they have the same owner, we do not have to choose: we get both for the price of one bet. So we will bet the entry to win, and look for them to be rolling late.
Thistledown Race 7
$35 to win on the 1/1A Entry
That's all for today. Good luck at the windows.