First post time is 3:51 pm EDT
It’s a surprisingly busy day for a Wednesday: it’s opening day of the special, and brief, Keeneland summer meet, and it’s the biggest day of horse racing all year in the Hoosier State, as this evening, they’ll run the Indiana Derby day at Indiana Grand. We’re expecting both tracks to be dry, the dirt fast and the turf firm. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get right to it.
Allowance, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, 3 & Up
This first-level allowance turf race drew a full field of 14. With a field this big, a quick early pace is a virtual certainty, which has us looking for a closer: the pick is 6-Lake Nakaru, a stretch-running 4-year-old son of Animal Kingdom who starts for trainer Vicky Oliver. Look for him to be toward the rear early, and moving late. We will bet him to win at 8-1. The bet: Keeneland, Race 6, $30 to win on 6-Lake Nakaru.
$75,000 Jonathan B. Schuster Memorial Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, 4 & Up
After scratches, seven will go to the post in this turf stakes race. We like 1-Argentello, an Irish-bred 6-year-old gelding trained by Conor Murphy. He had some pretty good races in 2018, at major English tracks like Ascot and Newmarket, but then he was away for a long time, over a year. This will be his third U.S. start, and his third start since returning from the layoff, and we think he looks poised to run a big one in the Schuster. We particularly like the effort he showed in his last start, when he earned good figures finishing a close fifth in a tough non-winners-of-three allowance. We will bet him to win at 20-1. The bet: Indiana Grand, Race 9, $40 to win on 1-Argentello.
Grade 3 Indiana Oaks, 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, 3-Year-Old Fillies
Eight fillies will go to the post in the Indiana Oaks. In a race where the most logical contenders seem pretty evenly matched, we’re going with a price, 11-Gibberish. She is a Saffie Joseph trainee who freaked out in her last race, winning a maiden race at Gulfstream Park in very fast time, and while it is possible that the big figure she earned in that race was due to the sloppy track, is it also possible that she has improved significantly going long on dirt. She has a couple of very fast workouts since her maiden win, and we think Gibberish has a big chance at very generous 20-1 odds. We will bet her to win. The bet: Indiana Grand, Race 10, $35 to win on 11-Gibberish.
Grade 3 Indiana Derby, 1 ⅛ miles, Dirt, 3-Year-Olds
The Indiana Derby drew a good field of ten. It’s a good betting race. We like 3-Taishan. He’s a 3-year-old who looks to us to have a lot more ability than he’s shown in his past few races: he was thoroughly outrun in the Arkansas Derby, which is no embarrassment, as it was the toughest prep race this spring. Before that, he ran well in his two prior starts, but they were both on sloppy tracks. He looks to us like a sleeper horse, who has been improving and maturing physically for months, but whose recent races, primarily because of bad racing and weather luck, do not reflect that improvement. We think he’s going to run big today, and that makes him a very serious threat to win the Indiana Derby, and to do so at a very square price of 6-1. We will bet him to win. The bet: Indiana Grand, Race 11, $35 to win on 3-Taishan.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and good luck at the windows.