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HomeHorse RacingIndiana DerbyIndiana Derby Preview: Building a Pace Meltdown Trifecta

Indiana Derby Preview: Building a Pace Meltdown Trifecta

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Saturday’s $300,000 Indiana Derby (G3) at Horseshoe Indianapolis drew an interesting mix of three-year-olds. Brad Cox’s Verifying is the deserving 9-5 favorite on the morning line, and will likely go off around even money. Raise Cain and Hayes Strike have been grinding it out across the country and will both be making their sixth stakes-start of the year. Cagliostro’s connections have had derby dreams since the winter, and he looks to be sitting on a big effort as his last outing was a prep for this. None of the rest of the field of nine has more than five races under their belts, but one has to suspect that their connections believe their best race is yet to come.


I see four horses who could be tussling out front, wearing each other out, and setting up for the closers to do their thing. But can they beat Verifying?


Some project Verifying to be on the lead, but I believe the Kentucky Derby pacesetter prefers to press the leaders. He drew outside two live front runners in Transect and Act a Fool, which could work out alright, but he drew inside Stayinyourlane who is stretching out for the first time and will likely be sharp from the gate and in Verifying’s way as they scramble for early position. I think there is a good chance Verifying will run a race very similar to his effort in the Rebel last February where he had to settle behind the front runners, chase fast fractions, and then lacked a late bid as the traffic gathered up around him. 


As strong as Verifying’s speed figures look on paper, he has only two wins–neither at the Indiana Derby’s 1 1/16 miles distance. He had a perfect trip last out in the Matt Winn (G2) but couldn’t get it done. With Marcelino Pedroza Jr. aboard, the local top jock, Verifying is in good hands. Still, I see an opportunity here to beat him.


Both the two speeds, Transect and Act a Fool, have a similar low carriage and looked live on the lead in their previous outings. How they don’t lock heads and duel through the early stages is beyond me. I see this race as an opportunity to play vertical exotics (exacta, trifecta, superfecta) that try to capitalize on a pace meltdown. If the pace heats up, midpack travelers Cagliostro, Rasie Cain, and Georgie W could have first run on the tiring leaders, and both Hayes Strike and Onthestage could be flying late.


I will build my bets around a horse I like a lot in this spot. Cagliostro. With his crazy antics, he’s been a project for the DeVaux barn, but everytime I’ve checked in, he’s maturing more and more. After breaking through the gate and running a hopeless race from off-the-pace in the paceless Louisiana Derby (G2), he freshened up and made his comeback in a prep race at Churchill Downs in June. He looked amazing. The pace should set up nicely for him, as he will likely find a spot midpack and unleash with a late run. 


Hayes Strike runs best at this distance. Heavily campaigned, he’s a well-known commodity and I don’t think he can step forward, but the likely hot pace could play into his hands, so I want to use him in here but mainly underneath. 


I am tempted to fade Raise Cain as well. I don’t think the Gotham-winner has anything more to show us. He’s hit his ceiling. But, he could work out a perfect trip with the inside draw, save ground, and be in a good position to take down tiring speedsters. I’ve learned not to be too precise when aiming for a big score, and that’s what I’m doing here. He could easily be in the mix late if there is a pace meltdown, so I’ll use him similarly to Hayes Strike.


Onthestage looked very professional in his last outing. I like his form, his barn is hot, and I think he could have a good pace setup. 


Georgie W is a wildcard in terms of trip. He exits a race where he sat behind his three foes before soundly putting them to bed. It was a weak field and he only has two starts. He draws far outside the field of nine and I think this is too much to ask of him. Underneath only.


In terms of speed, Stayinyourlane is a toss. I’ll tell you I did get some pushes on this horse when he debuted at Fair Grounds, so maybe there is some talent there waiting to pop. He has had tough set-ups with wide draws, and he did gallop out in front in his last race after some minor trip trouble. No one will be betting this horse, which is why I want to use him, but only underneath.


With a $50 budget, I’ll play a pace meltdown trifecta that fades Verifying. I’ll use the other two front runners Transect and Act a Fool, in case they hold on for a piece. I’ll also play Cagliostro to win.


$1 trifecta: 8 with 2,4,7 with 2,4,6,7,9 = $12


Three 50-cent trifectas: 2,4,7 with 8 with 2,4,6,7,9 = $6

8 with 1,3 with 2,4,7 = $3

            8 with 2,4,7 with 1,3 = $3

$25 on 8 to win 

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