We are at a time of year in the racing calendar when just about every weekend gives us something to look forward to. This past weekend was the Pennsylvania Derby and Cotillion at Parx; this coming weekend is the Jockey Club Gold Cup and the Vosburg at Belmont; the weekend after that is even bigger, as it's when most of the top Breeders Cup prep races occur. It's tempting to look forward to the great racing that will be happening at the end of any given week.
But we will resist the temptation to live in the future, and we will do so with today's card at Indiana Grand. New age gurus suggest that one way to focus on living in the moment, to practice what they call mindfulness, is to focus on one's breathing; we will toss that notion like a losing ticket, because far better than focusing on something as boring as exhaling is locking in on a cheap claiming race featuring a horse with dominating early speed.
We expect fine weather, and fast dirt and firm turf, in Indiana today, so let's go.
Indiana Grand, Race 2, 2.43 pm ET
$5,000 Maiden Claiming, 6 furlongs, dirt, Indiana-breds, 3 & up
A field of ten goes in this bottom-level maiden claimer. This race is an example of the usefulness of Beyer Speed Figures; the figs allow us to eliminate seven of the runners, as they are simply too slow to have a chance to win. The three with superior figures are 1-Snapchatter, 2-Hoosier Monty, and 5-Chuy, who's the 7/5 morning line favorite. Of the three, we like Snapchatter. The other two are dropping from Maiden Special Weight to maiden claiming, which is an angle we normally like, but they both appear to want to go longer, and lack the early speed that Snapchatter has. We think Snapchatter will control this race on the front end, by virtue of his superior speed, and should win. We will bet him to win at 4-1, and we will also box the three of them in the trifecta.
The bets: Indiana Grand, Race 2, $25 to win on 1-Snapchatter; $1 trifecta box, 1, 2, 5. The trifecta box will cost $6.
Indiana Grand, Race 4, 3.39 pm ET
Allowance/Optional Claiming, 1 1/16 miles, turf, 3 & up
Bettors like big fields, and this race is a good example why: eleven will go to the post here, and that number provides better odds on all the runners. In particular, it will give better odds to the one we like, 4-Stratton. This grizzled veteran, a 7-year-old gelding, ships in from Turf Paradise, and is coming off a layoff, as his last race in Arizona was in May. He has enough stamina to run all day -- his last two races were minor stakes at 1 7/8 and 1 3/8 miles -- and he also has a very good late run, which we think will fit in this race, which appears to have enough early speed to guarantee a legitimate pace. We think Stratton is in with a big shot here, and because bettors in Indiana are unfamiliar with him, he's 8-1 on the morning line, and we would not be surprised if he goes off even higher. Look for this guy to be rolling late; we will bet him to win.
The bet: Indiana Grand, Race 4, $30 to win on 4-Stratton.
The last three Thoroughbred races of the day at Indiana Grand, Races 6-8, are good ones: it's three allowance races, on turf and dirt, with big, competitive fields. First post for race 6 is 4:35 pm Eastern, with the other two following roughly 30 and 60 minutes later.
We like the Pick 3 sequence, as the big fields may result in a big payout. We will play it as follows.
Race 6: 3 (My Bariley), 5 (California Swing), 7 (Baratti)
Race 7: 7 (Here Comes Doc), 8 (Flowerpecker)
Race 8: 4 (Appealing Way), 6 (Majestic Bold), 7 (Harbor Jedi)
We'll play these horses on a single ticket. There are 18 total combinations, so we'll play it with a $2 base wager, for a total investment of $36.
That's all for today. Good luck at the windows.