The Indiana Derby has become part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby with the altered schedule as a result of COVID-19. What we have is a Grade 3 points race now on July 8 at Indiana Grand in Shelbyville. It will be a late post on Wednesday night at 7:45 p.m. ET for the 10-horse field.
This is a 20-8-4-2 race, so it isn’t exactly one of the heavy hitters on the Road to the Kentucky Derby calendar, but this race certainly has some significance as we inch closer to the Kentucky Derby on September 5.
With the shift to make this part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby, the race will be run at 1 1/8 miles for the first time.
Let’s break it all down with a look at the 10 contenders and an analysis of the field:
|1||No Getting Over Me||S. Joseph Jr.||M. Mena||12/1|
|2||Extraordinary||R. Brisset||L. Saez||10/1|
|3||Taishan||R. Baltas||R. Bejarano||6/1|
|4||Earner||S. Asmussen||S. Elliott||8/1|
|5||Shared Sense||B. Cox||F. Geroux||4/1|
|6||Background||M. Puhich||T. Baze||20/1|
|7||Juggernaut||K. Desormeaux||D. Parker||15/1|
|8||Major Fed||G. Foley||J. Graham||7/2|
|9||Winning Impression||D. Stewart||J. Leparoux||3/1|
|10||Necker Island||C. Hartman||M. Murrill||20/1|
Winning Impression drew the morning line favorite role at time of post at 3/1, but it is a rather precarious favorite role with Major Fed at 7/2 and Shared Sense at 4/1. All in all, this looks like a pretty open field, which is no surprise with a stronger three-year-old crop at Keeneland for the Blue Grass Stakes this weekend.
We’ll scan through all 10 horses and put together a $10 bet slip for the Indiana Derby:
- No Getting Over Me (12/1) – The Saffie Joseph Jr. and Miguel Mena tandem will send out Florida-bred No Getting Over Me. This will be Mena’s first ride atop the three-year-old who will go 1 1/8 miles for the first time. After a maiden win in November at Tampa Bay Downs, No Getting Over Me has hit the board four times, but has failed to win. A disappointing finish 16 3/4 lengths back in the Stephen F. Davis led to a drop in class for a couple of low-money allowance optional claimings that still did not result in a win.
It is tough to see this horse, which has some of the lowest speed figures in the field, being a primary factor.
- Extraordinary (10/1) – The lightly-raced son of Speightstown and Fiftyshadesofhay won his maiden back on March 14 at Gulfstream and has finished second and fourth since. In fairness, the fourth-place finish on June 12 wasn’t a bad run. Show finisher Dean Martini just won the Ohio Derby on June 27. There was a lot of speed in that race and Rodolphe Brisset’s colt was just a tick behind.
Rider Florent Geroux teams back up with Brad Cox, so Brisset has recruited Luis Saez for the mount. This horse has had some strong speed efforts and would seem to be more of a factor than No Getting Over Me. Extraordinary also just ran at 1 1/8 miles, something most of the horses in the field have not done.
- Taishan (6/1) – Taishan might get a new lease on life here. A good place finish in the Oaklawn Stakes led into a really disappointing run in the Arkansas Derby. The son of Twirling Candy has not run since May 2, so we’ll see if the layoff was the answer. Stakes races have not gone well for Taishan, but finishing behind Mr. Big News and Farmington Road in the Oaklawn is nothing to scoff at and neither is finishing fourth to a group that included Authentic and Azul Coast in the Sham.
New rider Rafael Bejarano has a horse that has put up some good top-end speed, but just hasn’t been very consistent. That is the hard part about backing Taishan here. While the field is not loaded with speed, we don’t know what we’re going to get. Taishan does, however, have two data points at this distance.
- Earner (8/1) – Unraced as a two-year-old, Earner has been third, first, and second to this point, but this is the stakes debut for the son of Carpe Diem. Trainer Steve Asmussen will not have Ricardo Santana Jr. in the mount this time and he is the only rider to have run Earner in a race. The recent workouts have been rather disappointing as a whole. This might be a horse that gets used underneath a little bit, but it would be a bit of a shock if Earner had enough to win. After all, his worst speed figure came in his only win, where he went off as a clear-cut favorite.
- Shared Sense (4/1) – Anytime Brad Cox and Florent Geroux are teamed up, that horse is one you want to pay close attention to and this one is no different. Or is it? The 4/1 price implies that Shared Sense has a great chance to win, but he only has two wins lifetime. In two stakes races, with Geroux in the irons, Shared Sense has finished sixth.
This race doesn’t have the speed of previous races and this is a horse still owned by Godolphin, but the son of Street Sense just hasn’t fulfilled his potential. This could be the race and he could be sitting on a big speed performance, especially in a race without speed, but there aren’t a lot of data points that inspire confidence, but the distance might help. Street Sense was certainly a distance runner and this will be Shared Sense’s debut at 1 1/8 miles.
- Background (20/1) – There are only two true long shots here and this is one of them. Background has a win and three third-place finishes in four races, but the speed figures just aren’t there. A ninth-place finish on the muddy Oaklawn Stakes track was the only stakes race in Background’s background and he went off at 70/1 in that one.
- Juggernaut (15/1) – The son of Goldencents just put together a massive speed figure in finishing second to Angelus Warrior at Churchill Downs on June 18. Unfortunately, that was on turf. Perhaps this is a turf horse. Maybe we’ll know more this week. In one past race at 1 1/16, Juggernaut finished nearly 20 lengths back. That was the $200,000 Iroquois Stakes at Churchill and this race is longer. Judging by the one turf run and the past dirt runs, turf is the way to go with this horse.
- Major Fed (7/2) – Major Fed could very well close the favorite here and probably will. The son of Ghostzapper had an admirable second-place run behind Modernist in the Risen Star Stakes and ran fourth in the Louisiana Derby with some decent closing speed. The most recent 10th-place finish in the 10-horse field for the Matt Winn Stakes is the reason why he isn’t the favorite.
The speed in this race won’t be nearly what the speed was in the other races, when Major Fed finished behind legit Kentucky Derby candidates like Wells Bayou, Ny Traffic, Pneumatic, and what should have been one in Maxfield. He’ll be a very popular pick on Wednesday.
- Winning Impression (3/1) – Did Winning Impression really deserve to be the morning line favorite? In seven career races, Winning Impression has one official win. His win on April 4 at Oaklawn Park was wiped from the board as the result of a DQ. His next effort was the Arkansas Derby and he posted the best speed figure of his career, but it wasn’t good enough to top Charlatan, Basin, or Governeur Morris.
This field is a lot weaker than that one, but this has not really been a money horse throughout its career, with less than $70,000 in earnings. This seems like a bad morning line. The real favorite here is Major Fed.
- Necker Island (20/1) – The other long shot is Necker Island for Chris Hartman. Hartman recently just took over as the trainer, so we’ll see how that goes for the son of Hard Spun. After showing a lot of promise as a two-year-old with back-to-back wins, he hasn’t hit the board in five straight runs, four of which were stakes races.
Perhaps the light comes on here with Hartman as the trainer instead of Stanley Hough, but that is a big ask at this price. Disappointing fifth-place finishes in the Matt Winn, Gotham, and Swale have certainly soured opinions on this colt.
Major Fed should win this race. It is set up for him to win because this race does not have elite speed and he’s run well in some of the best fields. The distance will not be a problem either.
Extraordinary and Shared Sense are the other two that I like here, with the long shot maybe a more approachable option.
$1 Exacta Box – 2/5/8
$4 Win – 8