The post positions were drawn Wednesday for the 25th running of the $500,000 Grade III Indiana Derby, which will be held Saturday at Indiana Grand.
I remember when the Indiana Derby was first run, and the field was mostly made up of horses that had careers go awry in preparation for the Triple Crown events or horses that were never even on that path.
Times have changed.
Mr. Money has been placed as the early morning favorite. He had a rough start to his 3-year-old campaign and wasn’t a part of the Triple Crown picture. But he has since rebounded and has a couple of Grade III level wins, each one coming in his last two starts.
The downside is the horse drew the far outside post of 11 and his trainer, Bret Calhoun, is obviously hoping his early speed will get him to the front before taking that first turn. Otherwise his task becomes much more difficult as the race unfolds.
It will up to rider Gabriel Saez to make sure that doesn’t happen and that if he can’t get to the front right away, he will find a rail position not far off the pace.
But he won’t be my pick for the win. I believe it will be Long Range Toddy who comes to the wire first. He will be ridden by Jon Court, who has two past Indiana Derby wins under his belt and was a consistent winner when the thoroughbreds raced at Hoosier Park.
Long Range Toddy, I believe, had a very good chance to be the Kentucky Derby winner had it not been for the unfortunate and dangerous bumping incident that led to the Kentucky Derby winner being taken down for the first time in that race’s illustrious history.
Court thought so, too, and told me the same in a telephone interview just days after the Kentucky Derby. The morning-line odds on Long Range Toddy are 12-1, which I hope hold up until post time, but I doubt it.
Long Range Toddy was third in the $500,000 Ohio Derby his last time out. Earlier this season, he won the $750,000 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park. The horse has over $900,000 in earnings and is trained by Steve Asmussen.
Gray Magician, ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr., hasn’t raced since the Kentucky Derby. He is trained by Pete Miller. He is listed as 8-1 in the morning line, and the long layoff since May will give some bettors pause.
Roiland is another horse that hasn’t been active since early May’s fifth-place finish in the $300,000 Oaklawn Invitational Stakes. He drew the inside post and is also listed at 12-1 on the morning line. Tom Amoss trains, and he has been the leading trainer at Indiana Grand six times so he knows how to get a horse ready for this track.
The field for the Indiana Derby with jockey and odds is: 1. Roiland (DeShawn Parker, 12-1); 2. Hero Tiger (Ezequiel Lara, 30-1); 3. Gray Magician (Ricardo Santana Jr., 8-1); 4. Market Garden (Santo Sanjur, 30-1); 5. Frolic More (Corey Lanerie, 15-1); 6. Alwaysmining (Julian Pimentel, 8-1); 7. Eskenforit (Julien Leparoux, 20-1); 8. Chess Chief (Brian Hernandez Jr., 12-1); 9. Long Range Toddy (Jon Court, 12-1); 10. Math Wizard (Edgard Zayas, 9-2); and 11. Mr. Money (Gabriel Saez, 6-5).
The scheduled post time for the race is 10:02 p.m.