This Saturday sees the running of the premier race of the Indiana Grand race schedule, with the running if the Grade 3 Indiana Derby.
Red Rifle Takes Aim at $125,000 Mineshaft Handicap
The first graded stakes on the loaded card on Saturday at Fair Grounds is the 30th running of the $125,000 Mineshaft Handicap. The Grade 3 race, scheduled to be run at a mile and a sixteenth on the main track, has drawn a wide-open field of twelve.
Red Rifle has been tabbed as the morning line favorite at odds of 3-1 for trainer Todd Pletcher. A five-year-old gelded son of Giant’s Causeway, he has won five of his thirteen starts and has been successful on turf, conventional dirt and synthetics. He has been on the shelf since winning the Hawthorne Gold Cup (G2) in November and has been training steadily for his return. Rafael Bejarano will be aboard and they will break from post position six.
Hard Aces getting a class test after local stakes win
Second choice at 9-2 on the morning line is Hard Aces, a locally-based son of Hard Spun trained by Larry Jones. Bred and owned by Dreamchaser Thorobreds, the five-year-old has won five of his nineteen starts and is stepping up to graded stakes company after winning the Louisiana Handicap last time out. He has been training steadily since that winning effort and will break from the rail under jockey Jose Riquelme.
Majestic Harbor trying to return to competitive form
Also in the field at morning line odds of 8-1 is Majestic Harbor who will be making his first start for trainer Paul McGee. A seven-year-old son of Rockport Harbor, he is a six-time career winner and has won multiple graded stakes including the Gold Cup (G1) at Santa Anita. He has not hit the board from five starts since that winning effort. Mike Smith will be back aboard from post position three.
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.