It's Breeders Cup Week. We will be doing some extra work this week, posts looking at handicapping the Breeders Cup in general, and looking at individual races, as we get closer to the event itself, which is Friday at Saturday at Santa Anita Park in suburban Los Angeles. While the publicity surrounding the horse deaths at Santa Anita has imbued the event with a sense of trepidation, and perhaps even dread, we are going to ignore all that, because there's nothing we can do about it.
Today, however, we will not be talking Breeders Cup, but will rather take a look at a couple of races at Indiana Grand in suburban Indianapolis. We expect fast and firm; let's go.
Indiana Grand, Race 3, 3:11 pm ET
$5,000 claiming, 6 furlongs, dirt, Indiana-Breds 3 & Up
A field of nine goes in this meat-and-potatoes dirt claimer. We like a class dropper here, and it's the horse on the outside, 9-Five Grand. This colt has been running in allowance races, where he's been well-beaten, but drops in for a rock-bottom, $5k claiming price here. The last time he ran against claimers, in July, he won easily -- and that was against $20,000 horses. Here, we think he'll take this one easily. He has an edge in speed figures and the coveted outside post; this means go to the windows. Plus, how can we not like a horse named Five Grand in a $5,000 claiming race? We will bet him to win at 2-1. We will also, just for the hell of it, wheel him in the Daily Double, and hope for chaos in the next race. The bets: Indiana Grand, Race 3, $40 to win on 9-Five Grand; $2 double, 9 (Five Grand) with All. The double ticket will cost $24.
Indiana Grand, Race 4, 3:39 pm ET
Maiden Special Weight, 1 mile, turf, Indiana-Breds 3 & Up
This maiden turf race drew a full field of twelve. We like the favorite, 8-Darkness Beauty. This modestly-bred 3-year-old colt is winless in seven career starts, but five of them have been on dirt. On turf, he's run quite well: he finished fifth in a maiden race in July, and second in his last, also a maiden race, where he had the lead in deep stretch and got caught late. We don't think he'll be caught today, as the field is quite weak. We will bet him to win at 8/5. The bet: Indiana Grand, Race 4, $30 to win on 8-Darkness Beauty.
Indiana Grand, Race 6, 4:35 pm ET
Allowance/Optional Claiming, 1 mile, turf, 3 & Up
This turf race is another Indiana Grand race with a big field -- there are twelve runners -- and while the first pass through the past performances makes it look like wide open, a closer look reveals a strong pick: it's 5-Artie's Rumor. This guy has been running deceptively well at a slightly lower level, and today jumps in class, which is aggressive move that we like from trainer Bernard Flint. Top rider Martin Pedroza stays on, which is a good sign. We think he gets a good stalking trip from his middle post position, and then takes over the race late, with a strong stretch run. We will bet him to win at 3-1. The bet: Indiana Grand, Race 6, $25 to win on 5-Artie's Rumor.
That's all for today. Good luck at the windows.