If the quality of racing experience rather than its quantity is the true measure of a horse’s worth, there can be just one favorite in Saturday afternoon’s Indiana Derby.

With a total purse of at least $500,000 at stake at Hoosier Park in this Grade II race, even the No. 12 post won’t keep Pyro from leaving the gate as the betting favorite.

Pyro, trained by Steven M. Asmussen and ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan, doesn’t leave home for a race without a Grade before it. Pyro’s last five races include one Grade III, one Grade II and three Grade Is. One of those was a little-known Louisville race the first Saturday in May.

Certainly, his Kentucky Derby performance was less than ideal, as he finished 15 lengths behind winner Big Brown. That kept him from following the Triple Crown trail to the Preakness and the Belmont, but it didn’t derail owner Ron Winchell from sticking to the high-price spreads of stakes races.

Just six weeks following the Kentucky Derby, Pyro won the Northern Dancer. He was the favorite in the Grade II Jim Dandy but lost to Macho Again by half a length.

He went to the post for the Grade I Travers Aug. 23 as the favorite again and this time fell back to third, gaining positions but losing ground to the winner down the stretch.

The Indiana Derby is at 1 1/16 miles and Pyro has finished first 75 percent of the time he’s raced at that distance. Since Pyro shows no early speed, the fact that he’s going to be starting from the outside post will be no problem at all.

There’s no reason to think that Acai will do anything except draw a lot of attention from bettors and for reasons well beyond the name of his trainer.

Acai is trained by Richard E. Dutrow Jr., who also trains the aforementioned Big Brown. Acai’s April wasn’t nearly good enough to be a Derby contender but his last three races have been impressive.

Acai won two of those last three and on Aug. 23 was second by a neck in the Pennsylvania Derby to get a big share of the $1 million purse. That race was 1 1/8 miles, and he was caught at the finish. The Indiana Derby is just short of that distance and he might hang on this time.

Some bettors like to look for big workouts, especially those coming on the track over which the race will be contested. To that end a good price may be found on I. M Boomer, which has morning line odds of 12-1. He had a bullet workout on Tuesday at Hoosier Park.

Finally, the horse with the highest win percentage with more than three starts is Tin Cup Chalice. This horse has started eight times in his career, six of those this year. He has won all but one of them. Most of those starts were against company inferior to that collected for the Indiana Derby.

His lone loss was at Belmont Park three weeks ago, a race won by Famous Patriot, which is also a Derby starter Saturday.

I think a smart bet might be one to place or show on Chris Got Even. He has posted good speed numbers in three of the last four races, is trained by Nick Zito and is being ridden by Hoosier Park’s top jockey Leandro R. Goncalves.

His morning line is 10-1 and worth a look.

The full racing weekend actually begins today with the Indiana Oaks, also a Grade II event, which has an approximate post time of 7 p.m.

First post time today is 3 p.m. and the first post Saturday is 2 p.m.

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