Lucky Towers Over Indiana Derby Rivals
Lookin at Lucky, who solidified his status as division leader with convincing victories in the Preakness Stakes and Haskell Invitational, will make an appearance at Hoosier Park on Saturday when he lines up for the G2 $500,000 Indiana Derby. The 1 1/16-mile event will serve as the colt’s final tune-up for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, and Lookin at Lucky should be an overwhelming favorite among nine rivals.
Lookin at Lucky may not have wound up at Hoosier Park if he hadn’t gotten sick after the Haskell, so his fitness level is at least a minor concern on Saturday. He does appear to be training forwardly since returning to the worktab on September 8, with four drills in advance of the Indiana Derby, including a six-furlong bullet in 1:11 1/5 at Hollywood Park on September 20, and he’ll be taking a significant class drop at the Anderson, Indiana, oval. Martin Garcia will retain the mount.
Thiskyhasnolimit rates as the biggest threat to the favorite. Winner of the G3 Iroquois Stakesat two, the Steve Asmussen-trained colt opened his three-year-old campaign with a victory in the May 15 Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs. He proceeded to finish a well-beaten second to Concord Point in the G3 Iowa Derby and fifth to the same rival in the G2 West Virginia Derby, but returned to the winner’s circle in the September 6 Smarty Jones Stakes last out, registering a career-best 100 BRIS Speed rating for the two-length decision at Philadelphia Park. Jamie Theriot rides the improving dark bay.
Wordly is only a maiden winner, but the Paul McGee pupil gets part often, finishing second in his last three starts. He was a neck back in the Northern Dancer Stakes two starts ago and missed by only a nose in the Ohio Derby most recently. Francisco Torres has the assignment. Litigation Risk and St. Maximus Gato will both step up in class following impressive allowance wins, and the Indiana Derby marks the U.S. debut for multiple Group 1 winner Uareoutlaw (Brz), who has competed exclusively in juvenile events in Brazil due to his Southern Hemisphere breeding.
Nacho Friend, Dabossman and Indy Bull will round out the field.
One race prior to the Indiana Derby, seven sophomore fillies will square off in the G2 $200,000 Indiana Oaks at 1 1/16 miles, and Baffert will be well-represented with Always A Princess. A debut maiden winner at Del Mar last year, Always a Princess recorded a runner-up finish when making her second career start in the G1 Oak Leaf and threatened to steal the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on the front end before weakening slightly to finish fifth, beaten 1 3/4 lengths. The chestnut returned from a 10-month layoff with a sharp two-length tally in an allowance/optional-claiming event on September 8, and she’ll look to keep her momentum rolling with Garcia.
Seeking The Title and Harissa , the top two respective finishers in the G3 Iowa Oaks, are logical contenders, and Ash Zee is an intriguing candidate for Asmussen following her 6 3/4-length allowance/optional-claiming score at Saratoga that netted her a 104 BRIS Speed rating.
The $100,000 Michael G. Schaefer Mile Stakes is also on tap Saturday night, and multiple Grade 3 winner Demarcation is the top draw in the 10-horse field. A respectable fifth in the G1 Stephen Foster Handicap two back, the McGee-trained gelding exits a 1 1/4-length score in the West Virginia Governor’s Stakes.