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2023 Indiana Derby Preview & FREE Picks | Has Verifying Finally Found A Stakes He Can Win?
Verifying (Coady Photography)

2023 Indiana Derby Preview & FREE Picks | Has Verifying Finally Found A Stakes He Can Win?

Vinny from Real Dynasty Picks previews the 2023 Indiana Derby (G3) from Horseshoe Indianapolis, then gives his top picks & long shots. After coming close several times earlier this year, including in the Blue Grass Stakes (G1), has the Brad Cox-trained Verifying finally found a stakes he can win? Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!

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The press release:

Brad Cox, whose horses’ 2023 purse earnings of $15.28 million lead North America, shoots for his second victory in the Grade 3, $300,000 Indiana Derby with Verifying this Saturday at Horseshoe Indianapolis.

The two-time Eclipse Award winner as North America’s outstanding trainer won the 2020 Indiana Derby with Shared Sense, was third in 2021 with Fulsome and second by a half-length with Best Actor last year. 

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Verifying seeks his first stakes win in the 1 1/16-mile Indiana Derby after finishing second in last year’s Grade 1 Champagne, second by a neck to Tampa Bay Derby (G2) winner Tapit Trice in this spring’s Toyota Blue Grass (G1) at Keeneland and second again by a half-length to Disarm in Churchill Downs’ Matt Winn (G3). Between the Blue Grass and Matt Winn, Verifying faded to 16th in the Kentucky Derby after setting a wilting pace. Disarm was a beneficiary of that hot pace, coming on to finish fourth.

“He’s doing really well,” Cox, who has maintained a large division at Horseshoe Indianapolis for a long time, said of Verifying. “I love how he came out of the Matt Winn. It will be back in 27 days, but he’s a horse we felt we needed to get a race under his belt. He’s just got the two wins. He’s run really well, just was narrowly defeated in the Matt Winn, the Blue Grass. His Derby was a throw-out with the pace, going too quick too early. But he’s a nice horse, he’s doing well physically, looks amazing.”

Verifying worked five-eighths of a mile Saturday at Churchill Downs in 1:00.60, third fastest of 19 workouts at the distance that morning. Marcelino Pedroza, who is second in the Horseshoe Indy standings with 34 victories heading into Monday’s card, gains the mount.

“We have a lot of luck with Marcelino,” Cox said. 

A son of the 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify, Verifying was purchased for $775,000 as a yearling by the international Coolmore racing and breeding conglomerate that stands Justify at its Ashford Stud in Central Kentucky. Verifying won his debut at Saratoga last summer. Off his Champagne second in his second start, he ran in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland, checking in sixth after a difficult trip. He started off his 3-year-old season with an Oaklawn Park allowance victory before taking fourth in the Rebel Stakes (G2).