Indiana Grand Picks: Cox's Double in the Indiana Oaks and Derby

Trainer Brad Cox has a runner in both the Indiana Oaks and Derby that could notch him the 'Double.' See what J.N. Campbell thinks ...
Trainer Brad Cox has a runner in both the Indiana Oaks and Derby that could notch him the "Double." See what J.N. Campbell thinks ...

The Grade III Indiana Oaks and the Grade III Indiana Derby are a pair of "Features" on the Wednesday card at Indiana Grand. Our turf-man previews these contests, along with giving his selections for the entire card...

Free Horse Racing Picks

Race 11: Dirt, 1 1/16th, Indiana Oaks (G3), $200k, 3F

The Indiana “Signature Series” comes back around for 2021, and it should make for some interesting Wednesday Night wagering. The 1st Leg is for the “Ladies,” as this line-up has a few names that have contested some of the best in filly racing through the KYOaks Trail. A pair of favorites will contest for the top spot on the tote, just before this one goes off.

Willis Horton Racing’s Will’s Secret #1 from Dallas Stewart’s barn, and Raydelz Stable’s Soothsay #2 who is Richard Mandella’s charge, both look formidable based on where they have travelled. The former ran nicely on the engine in the Honeybee (G3) at Oaklawn, and though she finished 3rd in the Ashland (G1) at Keeneland, she did hit the board in the Oaks at Churchill. That was no small feat, but after a 2-month rest, it remains to be seen how sharp she will really be. As for Mandella’s entry, she won the Santa Anita Oaks (G2), and though she didn’t make the trip to Churchill for Derby Week, she did earn 2nd in another G2 on the same track in late May. Remember though, both of those races had an extremely short field (4), and that makes me think that a daunting field like this one will be a major challenge for her. Both of these homebreds look enticing, but I want to seek some value elsewhere.

For the most part, the other 9 drawn in here are class climbers, looking to claw their way into “G” Co. Certainly, a few like Li’l Tootsie #7, Lady Aces #9, Moon Swag #10, and Forever Boss #11 were up in the “big leagues” prior to running here, but they came up woefully short. Experience is experience, mind you, but finishing 14-lengths back in a G2 probably doesn’t qualify as ready for this much deeper end. Keeping this in our purview, I want to find a runner that is coming in hot, and has recency for a solid barn.

When it comes down to it, that nod goes to Brad Cox’s Marion Francis #8. Madaket Stables joined a consortium to buy this daughter of Constitution, and she has some battle-hardened contests under her belt already. When you run in an OC100k at Oaklawn, then that is very similar to a “Graded” event. Though she could not catch the eventual winner that day, it was a 2nd. Cox shipped her into a tough “wet track” OC75k go at Churchill, and she bounced back with a win. The conditioner just has so many weapons like this filly in his outfit’s midst, that it is an impressive depth chart, to be sure. I like the fact that Florent Geroux comes up to ride once again, and wouldn’t 12/1 be a heck of a price? I think so …

Let’s use her as the “Key” horse, and come up with some creative exotics that will help us to cash us a juicy ticket!

Wagering Recommendation: $2 Exacta Wheel, 8 w 1/2/7/9/10/11

Race 12: Dirt, 1 1/16th, Indiana Derby (G3), $300k, 3

A Brad Cox Oaks-Derby Double is not out of the question, especially since the accomplished trainer has Fulsome #1 riding in on a 3-race win streak. Last out, his score in the Marr Winn (G3) was a punctuation-type statement after he won the Oaklawn 300k before that. It looks like the switch to the dirt was a brilliant move, and maybe we could make the argument that it was all due to that contest at Keeneland which was taken off-the-turf. Had that not happened, Cox may not have pointed him to OP. Hmm … Regardless of the reasons “Why,” his trajectory is one that is on the “make.” These Into Mischief-types are special, and do not forget this is a Juddmonte homebred as well. The colt will be very hard to beat if he has his “A game.”

As for the rest of the field, I like 2 others which should suit you on a ticket. Bret Calhoun sends Mr. Wireless #7 into Indiana G, after his gelding missed down in Texas in their 300k Derby. The track was an absolute mess that night, and how anyone did any running is a mystery to be sure. Ramon Vasquez was on him that night, and he will ride once again for a barn that can be very impressive. The Dialed In colt was just that, previously at Oaklawn. Those pair of nose victories make one think he is a tough 3-yr-old. Whether he can match wits with Cox’s charge is going to be the question. I am not so sure he has the late mustard to really make a difference. Perhaps this time he will lose by a nose.

As for the rest of this field, Jack Sisterson’s Full Charge #6 is one I would use. The colt may not have the back class, but he won convincingly by 5-lengths on 19 June at Churchill. His conditioner is getting aggressive sending him into this spot, and Adam Beschizza will have the opportunity to prove his mettle, if he can get this one home. It will not be easy, but this is a Calumet homebred. That speaks well to breeding, and maybe he can post an all-time speed fig? It is going to take it up against the likes of these 2 favorites. Let’s use him, but cautiously.

I do not see anyone else that has the game …

Wagering Recommendation: $2 Trifecta Cold, 1/7/6


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