We'l head to Indiana Grand today, in Shelbyville, Indiana, where they have an excellent, very playable Tuesday card that includes a couple of state-bred stakes races. They'll also have something that we on the East Coast will not have: sunny skies and fine October weather. We expect fast dirt and firm turf; let's go.
Indiana Grand, Race 4, 3:39 pm ET
Allowance, 1 mile, turf, Indiana-breds 3 & up
This second-level allowance for state-breds drew a good and full field of eleven. The top three betting choices in the race are all speed horses, and that is pushing us to look for a horse coming from off the pace, as the speedballs appear fairly evenly matched; with none of them likely to be able to establish a clear early lead, they all will go too fast, leaving them with little energy in the race's later stages, and allowing one or more horses coming from behind to pass them.
We like a price in here, 11-Comes N Threes, to pick up the pieces. This 3-year-old colt has only one win in 11 career starts, primarily because he is at the mercy of how a race gets run: if the pace collapses in front of him, he can make his late move, but if it doesn't, he's up against it. That scenario does not happen most of the time at this level, but we think it just might today, and that makes him very live, at positively juicy 20-1 odds. He will be far back early, and will be flying late; the only question is whether he can get up in time. We think he can, so we will bet him to win and to place. The bet: Indiana Grand, Race 4, $15 to win and $10 to place on 11-Comes N Threes.
Indiana Grand, Race 5, 4:07 pm ET
$5,000 Claiming, 6 furlongs, dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
An even dozen go in this one, and 11-Hoppestry is a strong play. The field is weak, even by $5,000 claiming standards, and Hoppestry has been running consistently and well all year. She has a big edge in speed figures, high tactical speed, and a coveted outside post position. She's obvious, but sometimes the best thing to do is not to overthink things, and bet the horse who overwhelmingly looks the likeliest winner. We will do so here; we will bet Hoppestry to win at 5/2. The bet: Indiana Grand, Race 5, $35 to win on 11-Hoppestry.
Indiana Grand, Race 7, 5:03 pm ET
$100,000 Crown Ambassador Stakes, 6 furlongs, dirt, Indiana-bred 2-year-olds
A field of eight goes in this dirt sprint for state-bred juveniles. The hot favorite is 2-Cash Logistics, who's even money off a win in his debut, a maiden race in which he set a fast time, and earned a 59 Beyer Speed Figure, which is the best fig earned by any horse in the field. We cannot find fault with his form, but because of what we consider his undelaid odds, we are going to play against him. We cannot take even money, or even a bit less, on a horse who seems only slightly better than other contenders.
We are going with a speed play here, and it's with 5-Rampage. This horse has ample early speed, enough, in fact, that we expect him to establish a very easy early lead. It is very common that the ease with which a horse gets the lead is more important than the actual time he has to run to do so; we expect Rampage to go to the front of this field without even having to try all that hard. That will allow him to relax, and that will make him very tough to catch. We think 5-1 is an overlay on this horse, who won his first two starts in wire-to-wire fashion, before doing a speed-and-fade in his stakes debut last out. We think he wires this field, so we will bet him to win. The bet: Indiana Grand, Race 7, $35 to win on 5-Rampage.
Indiana Grand, Race 8, 5:31 pm ET
$100,000 Indiana Stallion Stakes, 6 furlongs, dirt, Indiana-bred 2-year-old Fillies
Eleven juvenile fillies will go to the post in the Indiana Stallion Stakes. It's an interesting race to handicap, as the field appears evenly matched. We are going with another speed play here, and it's with a long shot: 10-Sandy's Newsgirl is a maiden, winless in four career starts, but she's finished second in four of them, so she does not appear to be hopelessly overmatched. But more important, she has a big edge over the rest of the field in early speed, which suggests that she should be able to establish an easy early lead. The most dangerous horse in any dirt race is one who can set the pace without running too hard, and we think that is what is going to happen here. We think she will be in front at the top of the stretch; the question is whether she can last to the finish line. At 15-1, we will bet that she can. We will bet her to win and to place. The bet: Indiana Grand, $20 to win and $10 to place on 10-Sandy's Newsgirl.
That's all for today. As always, good luck at the windows.