The Road to the Kentucky Derby continues on Wednesday with the $300,000 Indiana Derby (G3), a great betting race with 10 talented 3-year-olds in the mix. The 1 1/8-mile race will award 34 Kentucky Derby qualification points to the top four finishers on a 20-8-4-2 basis.
Top Indiana Derby Picks
- #5 Shared Sense
- #2 Extraordinary
- #8 Major Fed
- #4 Earner
Indiana Derby Wagers
- $18 to Win on #5 Shared Sense
- $1 Trifecta: 5 with 2,4,8 with 2,3,4,8,10 ($12)
The Indiana Derby contenders
#1 No Getting Over Me has placed twice sprinting against stakes company, but he’s yet to crack the 90 Brisnet Speed rating plateau and enters off a pair of defeats in Florida-bred allowance races at Gulfstream. No Getting Over Me’s lone previous foray on the Road to the Kentucky Derby produced a fifth-place effort in the Sam F. Davis (G3), so he’ll need improvement to factor in the Indiana Derby.
#2 Extraordinary looms as an intriguing longshot play after overcoming a poor start to finish fourth in a 1 1/8-mile allowance race at Churchill Downs, just 2 1/4 lengths behind future Ohio Derby (G3) winner Dean Martini. Rallying late isn’t Extraordinary’s preferred style, considering he’s employed pace pressing/tracking tactics in his three other starts, including a powerful 6 1/4-length maiden win going a mile at Gulfstream. High-percentage jockey Luis Saez takes the mount for hot trainer Rodolphe Brisset (3-for-5 at Indiana Grand this meet), setting the stage for a big effort.
#3 Taishan fired off some big efforts over sloppy tracks at Oaklawn Park during the spring, including a third-place finish in the Oaklawn S. after making a premature rally into hot pace fractions. But Taishan faltered badly in the second division of the Arkansas Derby (G1), weakening to finish last of nine. Excuse this effort and Taishan’s form is solid, but he’ll need to shrug off his Arkansas Derby setback to contend in the Indiana Derby. A wet track would help his chances.
#4 Earner was a runaway maiden winner going 1 1/16 miles at Oaklawn and came back to finish ahead of Extraordinary in a 1 1/8-mile allowance race at Churchill Downs, beaten just half a length by subsequent Ohio Derby (G3) champion Dean Martini. Earner’s tactical speed is an asset for the hot trainer/jockey team of Steve Asmussen and Stewart Elliot (21% winners together over the last 60 days), but others have run faster and Earner will need another gear to challenge for the top spot.
#5 Shared Sense has shown flashes of talent under challenging circumstances this season, most recently rallying from behind a slow pace to finish second in a 1 1/16-mile allowance race at Churchill, earning a strong 95 Brisnet Speed rating and a 105 Brisnet Late Pace rating. Draw a line through his disappointing outings in the War Chant S. (an experiment on grass) and the Smarty Jones S. (where a speed-favoring muddy track hurt his chances), and the form of this Godolphin homebred looks rock-solid. Late-runner is bred to thrive over 1 1/8 miles and looms as the horse to beat.
#6 Background didn’t run badly when rounding out the trifecta behind Santa Anita Derby (G1) third-place finish Rushie and Fountain of Youth (G2) runner-up Candy Tycoon in a 1 1/16-mile allowance at Oaklawn, but the rest of his form is less inspiring. Chestnut gelding enters off a ninth-place effort in a 6 1/2-furlong allowance sprint at Churchill and was soundly beaten in the Oaklawn S., his only previous stakes attempt. The waters will get deeper in the Indiana Derby.
#7 Juggernaut has an abundance of speed and has set the pace in four of his rive starts while facing tough company, but his lone victory came in a 5 1/2-furlong sprint and he enters off a runner-up effort in a 1-mile turf allowance race. Son of top sprinter/miler Goldencents figures to carve out the pace under hot jockey Deshawn Parker, but tackling 1 1/8 miles might be more than he can handle.
#8 Major Fed would be hard to endorse off his last-place effort in the 1 1/16-mile Matt Winn (G3) at Churchill, but the son of Ghostzapper previously showed plenty of potential during the winter at Fair Grounds, rallying to hit the board in both the Risen Star (G2) and Louisiana Derby (G2). He might have challenged for victory in the latter race if not for a very poor break, yet he still managed to post a respectable 92 Brisnet Speed Rating. If you assume the Matt Winn was a fluke, Major Fed can challenge for a spot in the exotics.
#9 Winning Impression doesn’t have much tactical speed, but he’s made effective use of his late charge, crossing the wire first in a 1 1/16-mile allowance race at Oaklawn and finishing fourth in the first division of the Arkansas Derby (G1), earning a career-best 91 Brisnet Speed rating. Improving gelding figures to be gaining ground down the lane, but would be helped by a wet track—he’s crossed the wire first in both his starts over sloppy going.
#10 Necker Island probably isn’t up to winning a graded stakes race after finishing fourth or fifth in the Swale (G3), Gotham (G3), Unbridled S., and Matt Winn (G3), but at least we know this son of Hard Spun can vie for a spot on the board against this caliber of competition. Son of Hard Spun will make his first start for trainer Chris Hartman after being claimed out of a 1 1/16-mile allowance optional claiming event at Churchill, where he finished 3 1/4 lengths behind Shared Sense. Hartman wins at a 15% rate with recent claiming acquisitions, and only slight improvement is necessary for Necker Island to crack the superfecta.