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Saturday Stakes: Spotlighting the Indiana Derby and Diana Stakes
SATURDAY, JULY 13, 2019
by: Rich Bieglmeier
It's a busy day of stakes racing with 18 offering more than $100,000 in prize money. Indiana Grand is the centerpiece with six big races, including the Indiana Oaks and Indiana Derby. The two richest races of the day are the Indiana Derby and Diana Stakes at Saratoga. Both outings have a half-million on the table.
The Indiana Derby is a full field with 11 horses running 1 1/16 miles on Indiana Grand's main track. Two of the horses made the run the first Saturday of May on the other side of the Ohio River. GRAY MAGICIAN (PP: 3 ML 8-1) and LONG RANGE TODDY (PP: 9 ML 12-1) both ran in the Kentucky Derby, finishing 19th and 17th, respectively. Certainly, the pair hope a border and a river are the difference.
LONG RANGE TODDY might have the better chance of the two as the distance/surface heavily favors early speed. One hundred percent of the 12 Indian Grand winners at 1 1/16 miles were labeled early speed. LONG RANGE TODDY tends to be closer to the front than GRAY MAGICIAN.
Both will need to get past the 6/5 pre-race favorite MR. MONEY (PP: 11). The Bret Calhoun trainee has improved four races in row after returning to work following three months in the barn. In his last effort, MR. MONEY cut more than two seconds off his final 1 1/16 miles time compared to his previous outing at the distance. In doing so, he hit triple digits on the speed gun. The only entrant in the field to ever top the century mark.
Mr. Money winning the Pat Day Mile
Reaching new heights combined with faster race times usually points to a horse in peak form. Our handicapper agrees, putting MR. MONEY at the top of the pack in our Pro Subscriber's Bonus Commentary.
"MR. MONEY has pounded the competition in his last two races, winning by 6 1/2 and 5 1/4 lengths in G3s. LONG RANGE TODDY runs his best on a fast track with four wins, a second, and two thirds in eight starts. The lone miss was his debut. MATH WIZARD came off the bench to run his best speed figure, an angle we like. GRAY MAGICIAN bombed in his last race, the Kentucky Derby. His recent workouts are OK, but back-class says he needs to be considered."
A very competitive crew of six will race for their share of a half-mil in the ninth at Saratoga, the GRADE I DIANA STAKES. Our handicapper believes any of our top four picks can hit the wire first.
The defending DIANA STAKES champ and morning-line favorite, SISTERCHARLIE, has made a trio of trips to the winners' circle in her last three starts and is a head away from the five Ws in a row. She ran her highest speed figure in last year's DIANA STAKES. The five-year old mare has been on break since winning the Breeders' Cup Fillies and Mares Turf, but she should be good to go as she's won coming off a nine-month layoff.
SISTERCHARLIE might have the DIANA Crown and most impressive wins, but RUSHING FALL has the most impressive record. RUSHING FALL (PP: 2 ML 9/5) has won eight of her nine starts. She finished second by a neck in the lone miss, getting clipped at the wire. RUSHING FALL ran the highest last race speed figure by a wide margin in her last start and first since mid-April. Her history says she'll be even better in her second start off the bench.
Rushing Fall at Keeneland
MITCHELL ROAD (PP: 3 ML 8-1) takes a backseat to none while riding a four-race win streak. She just missed in her pair of second place finishes, falling short by a 1/2 length and a neck in her debut. MITCHELL ROAD will be pressing the lead with RUSHING FALL and will need to prove she can make the jump from a Grade III to the Grade I ranks.
HOMERIQUE (PP: 6 ML 5/2) doesn't know what it's like to lose in the USA after making her first six starts in France. She's hit the wire first in her first two on this side of the Atlantic, both on Belmont's inner turf course. Her speed ratings have been light compared to the three mentioned above, but we cannot ignore the late power moves she's made since landing in New York. If HOMERIQUE is within a few lengths coming into the stretch, she could run by all of them.
Here is how we line them up in our Pro Subscriber's Bonus Commentary.
"Any of our top four could come home first. RUSHING FALL is a neck away from being undefeated in nine starts. SISTERCHARLIE is a head and neck away from being undefeated in her six starts since coming to the US from France. HOMERIQUE has won both of her races as the favorite since coming from France, too. MITCHELL ROAD is on a four-race win streak."
Good luck at the races!
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