Things have seemed to turn fast this year. We've gone from the heat and humidity of high summer to cool, crisp weather that feels like fall. And all of a sudden, it's the last week of racing at the two premier summer meets, Saratoga and Del Mar. They are both dark until tomorrow, so we'll wet our handicapping whistle with a few plays at Indiana Grand in suburban Indianapolis. We expect fine late summer weather there, and fast dirt and firm turf. Let's go.
Indiana Grand, Race 2, 2:43 pm
$5,000 Maiden Claiming, 1 mile, dirt, Indiana-bred Fillies & Mares 3 & up
Seven drew into this one, most of them coming out of cheap maiden claimers like this one. We like 6-Matildas Magic, who finished far back in a maiden-special sprint two weeks ago, but now drops into a maiden claimer. This is a huge drop, like from the penthouse to the sub-basement, and while she will have to improve off her last to win this, she is not going to have to be the second coming of Ruffian to do so. We think she's the best bet in the field; we will bet her to win at 6-1. The bet: Indiana Grand, Race 2, $20 to win on 6-Matildas Magic.
Indiana Grand, Race 5, 4:07 pm
Allowance, 6 furlongs, dirt, 3 & up
A good group of seven first-level allowance runners goes here. We like the favorite, 6-Firecrow, and we like him very much: he has never run a bad race, and he just missed in an identical spot three weeks ago. He has a huge edge in early speed, and we think he uses that zip to dominate this one from start to finish. We will bet him at 8/5. The bet: Indiana Grand, Race 5, $40 to win on 6-Firecrow.
Indiana Grand, Race 7, 5:03 pm
$20,000 Claiming, 7 1/2 furlongs, turf, 3 & up
Nine drew into this one, plus one main-track-only entrant. We expect a quick early pace, as there are a few confirmed front-runners in the field. That makes us look to a horse who has shown the ability to come from off the pace. We think that's 8-Approvethismessage. We think he sits toward the back of the pack,and takes it with a strong stretch run. He won his last race in exactly this fashion, and though he's moving up in class, from $10k to $20k claiming company, we think he is capable of a repeat. He's a big price, 10-1 on the morning line, so we will bet him to win and to place. The bet: Indiana Grand, Race 7, $15 to win and place on 8-Approvethismessage.
That's all for today. Good luck at the windows.