As we look forward to this coming Saturday, which is a mammoth day of racing, featuring the Pennsylvania Derby and Cotillion at Parx Racing, we will keep our handicapping skills sharp by playing a few races at Indiana Grand in suburban Indianapolis. We expect fine weather, fast dirt, and firm turf. Let's go.
Indiana Grand, Race 3, 3:11 pm ET
Maiden Special Weight, 6 furlongs, dirt, Indiana-bred 2-year-old Fillies
The hot favorite here is 3-Elusive Justice, which is understandable, as she ran second in a similar spot on August 27. But her speed figures are light, and at 7/5, she looks like a big underlay to us. We are going to look for a winner elsewhere.
We like a first-time starter here, 7-Faceys First. She has trained like a runner in the morning, including a bullet (fastest of the day) 4-furlong workout on September 11. In a race that looks on paper to have little speed, we expect this Robert Gorham trainee to be forwardly placed, and from there it's just a matter of whether she's good enough. At a decent price, we will be betting that she is. We will bet her to win at 5-1. The bet: Indiana Grand, Race 3, $25 to win on 7-Faceys First.
Indiana Grand, Race 4, 3:39 pm ET
Allowance, 1 mile, turf, Indiana-bred filles & mares 3 & up
A full field of twelve goes in this competitive first-level allowance for state-bred females, with two of the entrants coupled because of common ownership. We like the horse on the rail, 2-Shacklelackalacka. This 3-year-old daughter of Shackleford has really done nothing wrong in her two career starts, both Maiden Special Weight races; she finished third in her first career start, a 5 1/2 furlong dirt sprint, and then won her next start going a mile and 70 yards, also on dirt. Now she switches from dirt to turf, but we like this move with her, as both her breeding and running style suggest that she will thrive on the sod. Trainer Brad Cox has excellent stats with horses making their first career turf start (23% win rate) and horses switching from dirt to turf (27% win rate). If Cox thinks she is ready for a big run on turf, that's enough for us. We will bet her to win at 5/2. The bet: Indiana Grand, Race 4, $40 to win on 2-Shacklelackalacka.
Indiana Grand, Race 6, 4:35 pm ET
$10,000 Maiden Claiming, 1 mile, turf, 3 & up
Seven go in this one, and it's the usual mixed bag of horses making distance and surface changes. We like the horse on the outside, 7-Repair the World. This 4-year-old son of Arch has proven turf form, and now drops to a level where he seems to outclass the rest of the field. He should be able to handle this group; we will bet him to win at 2-1. The bet: Indiana Grand, Race 6, $35 to win on 7-Repair the World.
That's all for today. Good luck at the windows.