There's a lot of good action for a Wednesday. We are going to focus on Indiana Grand, which runs a quartet of state-bred stakes races, and we'll also take a peek at Belmont Park, which runs a twilight card with a 3 p.m. first post. We expect fast dirt and firm turf in both Indiana and New York; let's go.
Indiana Grand, Race 5, 4:07 pm ET
$100,000 City of Anderson Stakes, 6 furlongs, dirt, Indiana-bred 2-year-old fillies
Twelve drew into this one, and it is a fascinating race to handicap, primarily because of the presence of the horse on the outside, 12-Release the Heat. This filly earned an otherworldly 86 Beyer Speed Figure breaking her maiden over the Polytrack at Arlington Park on August 31. Put bluntly: if she runs anywhere near that figure today, she will win by a large margin.
But there are a couple of reasons to question the figure, and especially to question whether she will be able to replicate it today. The first is obvious: her maiden win was on a synthetic track, and today she will run on dirt. The second is the way she won the race at Arlington: she was 10 lengths in front after four furlongs, despite running a pedestrian half-mile in just under 46 seconds; and she beat only three other horses that day. She is going to find the waters much deeper today, and at a short price, she is a stone-cold play-against. We think it's better than even money that she finishes off the board.
We like 3-Nothinbutflowers. This Jeff Greenhill trainee won her debut smartly at Indiana Downs on July 26, stalking a quick pace and winning going away. We think forwardly-place stalking style is a perfect fit here, and her recent morning workouts suggest that she is fit, rested, and ready to improve in her second career start. We think that 9/2 is a square price; we will bet her to win. The bet: Indiana Grand, Race 5, $35 to win on 3-Nothingbutflowers.
Indiana Grand, Race 6, 4:35 pm ET
$100,000 Hillsdale Stakes, 6 furlongs, dirt, Indiana-bred 2-year-olds
2-Two Last Words is a strong win play here. His last race was not his best, but it was against much tougher, and it was at 7 furlongs, which was farther than he'd ever run before. He cuts back here to 6 furlongs, a distance at which he has run extremely well. He is not a speed horse, and will be making a move from the middle of the pack, but there appears to be enough early speed in this race for him to run at. We think he makes a powerful move at the top of the stretch to take this one, and we will bet him to win at 9/5. The bet: Indiana Grand, Race 6, $40 to win on 2-Two Last Words.
Indiana Grand, Race 8, 5:31 pm ET
$100,000 Brickyard Stakes, 6 furlongs, dirt, Indiana-breds 3 & up
There's an even-money favorite in here, 9-Double Tuff, and his credentials are legitimate: he's in good form, having won two races in a row, and will be ridden by top jockey Martin Pedroza. But we are going to take a shot at beating him, primarily because of price: taking odds-on in a competitive 11-horse field is unappealing to us. So we will look elsewhere.
We like 6-Wholelotachocolate. This Tom Amoss-trained 4-year-old was last seen going long on the turf, setting the pace and finishing last in the A.J. Foyt stakes at Indiana Grand, but we think he's better sprinting on the dirt. Amoss has an exceptionally good 27% win rate with horses switching from turf to dirt, and this guy looks to be sitting on a big race today. We will bet him to win at 6-1. The bet: Indiana Grand, Race 8, $25 to win on 6-Wholelotachocolate.
Belmont Park, Race 6, 5:40 pm ET
Allowance, 1 1/16 miles, dirt, New York-bred Fillies & Mares 3 & up
This tough second-level state-bred allowance drew a field of six. 6/5 Favorite 5-Ratajkowski a deserving favorite; this 5-year-old mare has improved in all four of her career starts, and that is a pattern that we like to see. She has an edge in figs, but we think she is vulnerable, as she is a speed horse who likes to win on the lead, and there is a horse just outside her, 6-Maiden Beauty, who has more early zip. We see a hot early pace, and a winner coming from behind.
The pick is 3-Beyond Discreet. She was claimed last out, and makes her first start for trainer Richard Schosberg, who has a good 25% win rate with horses making their first start in his barn. She also has a late-running style that is a fit here. And best of all, she's 15-1 on the morning line. We will bet her to win and place. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 6, $15 to win/place on 3-Beyond Discreet.
That's all for today. As always, good luck at the windows.