by Joe Kristufek
Indiana Grand has five stakes carded for Indiana Derby Day, Saturday, July 13, and TwinSpires had an exclusive VIP offer! Bet them all to insure your play. Get 25% back on losing win wagers up to $100. Opt in now!
Race 4 – Michael G. Schaefer Memorial
Just when it looked like this five-year-old gelded son of Stay Thirsty was headed in the wrong direction, he woke up out of nowhere to score a narrow victory over the classy American Anthem. That was a one-turn mile and he’s actually a better horse around two bends. I actually thought he had a legit chance to make an impact in the Stephen Foster Stakes (G2). He emptied out at the quarter pole, but managed to finish a respectable fifth of 12. This is a much easier spot and he should be forwardly placed in a race that isn’t overloaded with speed.
Race 5 – Mari Hulman George Memorial
Sterling Miss (#1) (9-2 ML)
Her ability to transfer the sprint form successfully around two turns is the obvious question, but this four-year-old daughter of Mutadda has never been better. The sire was more of a sprinter, but several of his siblings were classy routers and the dam was a successful miler type. This gal smoked the red-hot Headland while under a hand ride last out at Churchill Downs, and that talented foe returned to her winning ways in her very next start. Sterling Miss will show speed from the rail, but she doesn’t need to be on the lead.
Race 6 – Warrior Veterans Stakes
Lamartine (#1) (12-1 ML)
A Group 1 winner in his native Brazil, it’s taken this four-year-old son of Shanghai Bobby a few North American starts to get his bearings, and two starts back he did not get a fair crack at all. He enjoyed a pocket trip, but was blocked badly without an opportunity to shake free. Sent off as a huge 12-1 overlay in his most recent run, he lost four lengths at the start before rushing up into a perfect, pressing position. He responded when asked, got the jump on the closers, and held firm. He’s well drawn on the rail here and should sit another sweet trip.
All Right (#2) (9-2 ML)
A solid turf horse his entire 25-race career, this five-year-old son of Dominus is arguably better than ever. There are a couple of different ways to look at his 71-1 runner-up performance in the Wise Dan Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs. On the positive side, he ran huge. Covered up on the rail while stalking a hot pace, he split horses and led late, only to get run over by a high-flying closer. Conversely, the Wise Dan was a deep race, but it wasn’t Grade 2 caliber. At 9-2 I’m in, but that price might not hold.
Race 7 – Indiana General Assembly Distaff
Limari (#2) 1-1 ML)
Even-money on the morning-line is a little tough to swallow, but this lightly raced four-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro has a chance to be a star by year’s end. Odds on to win her fifth turf start in a row last out in the Mint Julep Stakes (G3), she seemingly lost all chance at the start. Off six lengths slow, this front-runner got shuffled to the back of the pack. Hung four-wide while in hand, she was forced six-wide on the turn for home. Miraculously she kept coming late and wound up getting beat less than a length in third. With a clean break here, chances are Limari and jockey Shaun Bridgmohan take it to them from an inside post.
Race 8 – Indiana Oaks (G3)
With Dignity (#10) (8-1 ML)
McCraken’s baby half-sister is very, very talented. When an Ian Wilkes trained debuter wins, they usually are. Up in time to win sprinting right out of the box, she stretched out to 1 1/16 miles in the follow-up start. In tight early and then steadied out while three-wide, she was forced to close into pedestrian fractions. Nudged on the turn, she unleashed a visually impressive rally and won under a hand ride. The concerns here are the outside post and the apparent lack of early speed signed on, but if you can get half her inflated morning-line, the risk would be worth the potential reward.
Kim K (#1) (6-1 ML)
She’s had some ups and downs in her young career, but this three-year-old daughter of Will Take Charge put it all together last out at Churchill Downs. After clearing the field from post nine of 11, got away on the backstretch through hot fractions and just kept going. The fractions were fast, but well under her control, and when asked, she had another gear to give. With an alert break, she had a great chance to play a winning game of “catch me if you can.”
PHOTO: With Dignity (c) Coady Photography/Churchill Downs