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Indiana Derby Preview: Mr. Money Goes for Three Straight

Mr. Money Winning the Pat Day Mile Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs (JennyPhoto / Racing Dudes)

The 25th running of the $500,000 Indiana Derby (G3) is set for this Saturday night at Indiana Grand and attracted a field of 11 sophomores for the event. The contest is the track’s feature race of the year and headlines a card that also includes five other stakes races, including the $200,000 Indiana Oaks (G3) for 3-year-old fillies. The card also features the Mexican Triple Crown winner Kukulkan, who is set to run in the $100,000 Michael G. Schaefer Memorial Stakes.

Topping this year’s field is the Bret Calhoun-trained Mr. Money, who has won two in a row coming into the event. After a poor winter/spring at Fair Grounds along the Kentucky Derby trail, the Goldencents colt has come alive recently, winning both the Pat Day Mile (G3) and the Matt Winn Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs in runaway fashion. Now, he’ll try to take his form on the road.

Math Wizard is another colt who will be sure to grab some attention in this spot after finishing second in the Ohio Derby (G3) last time out, narrowly losing to the highly-regarded Owendale. The former $25,000 claimer has performed well for his new connections, including a fourth-place finish in the difficult Wood Memorial Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct. He continues to improve as we progress down the road to several of the big summer races.

The UAE Derby (G2) runner-up Gray Magician will try to bounce back after finish last in the Kentucky Derby (G1). It has been an up-and-down year for the colt, who has several non-efforts on his resume. Trainer Peter Miller loves to take shots in these types of races, a gamble that seems to pay off at some point during the season.

The full field from the rail out for this year’s Indiana Derby: Roiland, Hero Tiger, Gray Magician, Market Garden, Frolic More, Alwaysmining, Eskenforit, Chess Chief, Long Range Toddy, Math Wizard, and Mr. Money.

Horse Racing Picks

Top Choice

#11 Mr. Money – Based on speed figures and his accomplishments in his last two starts, he looks to easily be the best horse in the race. Those blowout victories have made him one of the best 3-year-olds in the country, and this is not an overly difficult field by any means. The big question mark will be whether he can take his show on the road. His races away from Churchill Downs have left a lot to be desired and could make him vulnerable. Still, he’s strictly the one to beat.

Horses to Use in Multi-Race Wagers

#10 Math Wizard – It’s pretty amazing to think that this horse was claimed for $25,000 just five months ago. Since then, he moved way up in class and ran well in the Wood Memorial Stakes (G2), the Oaklawn Invitational Stakes, and the Ohio Derby (G3). He wasn’t able to pull off a win in any of those spots, but he did nearly win the Ohio Derby last time out. That race was the best of his career and shows that he could be improving with each of his starts. Another jump in speed figures could mean a victory for him here.

#5 Frolic More – This horse seems to be on his best form coming into this spot. Two races back, he was an impressive allowance winner at Churchill Downs going 1 mile before finishing second last time out in a similar race going 6 furlongs. More distance should suit him, and trainer Dallas Stewart knows how to pull off upsets in a race like this. There are enough positives signs to make him playable if he is a big enough price.

Exotic Plays

#3 Gray Magician – His claim to fame came at Meydan when he finished second in the UAE Derby (G2), but that race has come back fairly weak. Draw a line through his last-place Kentucky Derby (G1) effort because he bled, but he still needs to improve from his previous form to make an impact here.

Party Crashers

#9 Long Range Toddy – There was a time when this colt looked like a major contender; however, things have gone wrong in a hurry. Since winning the Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn Park, he performed poorly in the Arkansas Derby (G1), the Kentucky Derby (G1), and the Ohio Derby (G3). Until he shows that he can reverse that form, it will be hard to play him again; however, if his price floats way up, then he might be worth a small gamble that he can return to his top form.

Throw Outs

#6 Alwaysmining – After taking the racing world by storm at Laurel Park, his last two starts have been disasters. Two races back, he was totally demolished in the Preakness Stakes (G1), then ran a disappointing fourth in the Easy Goer Stakes at Belmont Park. He needs to show that he can compete at this level before deserving any kind of backing.

#1 Roiland – The late-running colt has shown no signs this season of making an impact in a race of this caliber, despite getting several chances. His only chance here is if a hot pace up front melts down in the late stages.

#8 Chess Chief – He’s a longshot to compete at this level after a couple of failed recent attempts. After breaking his maiden, he tried the Blue Grass Stakes (G2) and the Oaklawn Invitational Stakes, but he didn’t make much impact. He showed little improvement last time out as well, finishing fourth in an allowance event at Churchill Downs.

#7 Eskenforit – This would be an incredible story if he won, but there is no doubt that it’s unlikely. Two races back, he broke his maiden impressively at Churchill Downs against $2ok maiden claiming company. Last time out, he was second in a starter allowance event. This is obviously a major jump up in class.

#4 Market Garden – They’ll try him in this spot after he broke his maiden over this course last time out. While that race was solid, he looks to be overmatched in a race that is likely too much, too soon.

#2 Hero Tiger – He’s just 1-for-15, with his lone win coming in a maiden claiming race at Tampa Bay Downs. This will be his stakes debut after running in mostly claiming events throughout his career. This should be an easy toss.

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