This Saturday sees the running of the premier race of the Indiana Grand race schedule, with the running if the Grade 3 Indiana Derby.
Claiming Crown Kicks Off With $110,000 Iron Horse
Opening day at Gulfstream Park begins Saturday, December 6 in grade style with the 16th running of The Claiming Crown an eight race stakes series sometimes referred to as the Blue Collar Breeders Cup. The action begins in race 3 with the $110,000 Iron Horse Stakes
The mile and one sixteenth Iron Horse is run on the main track and limited to horses which have started in a $7500 claiming race or less since 2013. This year’s renewal draws a field of ten and is led by 5/2 morning line favorite Gimmeadrink who is coming off a third place finish at seven furlongs against $16,000 allowance foes at Keeneland. The Dale Bennett was claimed February 1 at Tampa Bay Downs for Bennett and Savoy Stables, and went on to win five of eight races for his new connections including a $40,000 optional claiming score at Arlington Park.
Feisty Albert looks ready
Second choice, Feisty Albert (3/1), has recorded a win, a second, and a third in three starts for trainer Claudio Gonzalez, who ships in from Maryland after claiming the five year-old gelded son of North Light for $16,000 last August at Monmouth. Feisty Albert’s Beyer Speed Figures are among the best in the field, and he could find a comfortable stalking trip under jockey Gabriel Saez.
2013 Iron Horse runner-up back
4/1 choice Francois has competed admirably against $50,000 optional claiming foes in his last two starts at Hawthorne, and ships south for trainer Cheryl Winebaugh in sharp form. Francois has 11 wins in 40 lifetime starts and ran second in last year’s Iron Horse.
Players looking to create betting value in the 2016 Preakness May 21 at Pimlico face a familiar dilemma in horse racing: create value underneath the heavy favorite or decide whether the heavy favorite is beatable for the top spot.
On Thursday at Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Derby week festivities will begin with the $100,000 Kentucky Juvenile Stakes. The five-furlong contest has drawn a field of nine two-year-olds.
Likely a top three betting choice in the Kentucky Derby, Santa Anita Derby winner Exaggerator is a bit of a puzzling case as handicappers begin the process of sorting out contenders in the weeks leading up to the big race.