It’s the biggest day on the calendar in Shelbyville at Indiana Grand. The running of the Indiana Derby will take place on Wednesday, with a purse of $300,000 offered for the prestigious event. Not only is today Derby Day at Indiana Grand, but there’s also the Indiana Oaks for $200,000. If you’re busy during the afternoon, don’t worry the Indiana Oaks and Indiana Derby will not begin until after 7:00 p.m. EST. Along with the Indiana Derby and Oaks, there are four other stakes races at Indiana Grand on Wednesday. Keeneland will get the spotlight this weekend, as they’ll put on the Maker’s Mark Mile for $300,000 on Friday and Blue Grass Stakes for $600,000 and Ashland Stakes for $400,000 on Saturday.
The Indiana Derby is a prep race with a total of 34 points towards the Kentucky Derby. 20 points will be awarded to the winner. That’s not enough for an automatic ticket to the Kentucky Derby for a horse with no or limited points, but it could be for some horses. We have the Indiana Derby and Indiana Oaks covered you for today, along with a bonus selection. Head below for our free Indiana Derby pick and Indiana Grand picks for July 8, 2020.
Post Time: 4:30 p.m. EST
Distance: 1 1/16 Miles
This isn’t a stakes race, but there’s still a decent purse of $32,500 on offer in Race 5. The event will cover 1 1/16 miles on the turf at Indiana Grand. Day Trip and Stage Ready should be the most dangerous horses to win Race 5. Stage Ready will likely put a strong run together here after a layoff.
He hasn’t raced since finishing 8th on November 11, 2019 at Churchill Downs. Stage Ready was racing for a $31,000 purse. He had a really slow start and nothing ever developed for Stage Ready throughout the event. Stage Ready was 12th at the ¾ pole and wasn’t able to improve on that much.
This was after Stage Ready was consistently running near the front. He finished 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd before getting tied up in November. Stage Ready won last July at Ellis Park over Verse in a tricky $50,000 event. From there, Stage Steady stayed close to the front for finishes of 2nd, 2nd, 3rd in his next three races. Those were equally tough assignments for Stage Ready, but he handled them well.
The sudden wall that Stage Ready hit on November 11 wasn’t expected. His odds to win were better than most of the field, so finishing near the back was not what his connections foresaw. Some time off and solid workouts recently might be what cures him for Wednesday, though. He completed 4 furlongs with times of 48.60, 48.80, 47.60, and 49.20 seconds. Don’t expect to find Stage Ready at the back in this one.
He may struggle with the No. 8 horse, though. Day Trip won his debut on December 26, 2019 at Tampa Bay Downs. He beat Blame the Makers by 1 ½ lengths for an excellent win on the grass. The follow up wasn’t there for Day Trip, but it wasn’t a bad run at all. He was competing against 11 other horses and finished 4th. That was for a $51,000 purse so this is a step down in class. Day Trip has been quick in the morning, with a 4-furlong workout of 47.80 seconds and 5-furlong at 59.40 and 59.60 seconds. As long as Stage Ready doesn’t spoil the party, Day Trip should be going to the winner’s circle.
Race 10 – Indiana Oaks
Post Time: 7:10 p.m. EST
Distance:1 1/16 Miles
Before the main event of the evening, the running of the Indiana Oaks (Gr. 3) is scheduled to take place just after 7:00 p.m. EST. The Indiana Oaks offers a big payday to the winner, with a purse of $200,000. A win will require the quickest time over 1 1/16 miles on the dirt. Tempers Rising and Shedaresthedevil are on my shortlist in the Indiana Oaks. I give Tempers Rising a better than +1000 chances of winning here.
He’s an underdog on the morning-line, but I think Tempers Rising can run a solid event here. Tempers Rising should be in the mix despite the big odds. She is 1 for 9 in her career, opening up with solid finishes of 2nd, 3rd, 2nd, 2nd, 1st, 3rd. That promoted a jump in class to go stakes racing in the Rachel Alexandra Stakes (Gr. 2) and Fair Grounds Oaks (Gr. 2).
The Rachel Alexndra Stakes (Gr. 2) went alright, with Tempers Rising finishing outside the top-3 by a neck. She had to settle for 4th against six other competitors. It wasn’t the worst stakes debut and that was a big $300,000 race that Tempers Rising went after. She followed it up with a better performance in the Fair Grounds Oaks (Gr. 2).
Tempers Rising came 2 ½ lengths short of a win in the $400,000 event on March 21. She had the lead at the top of the stretch by a half length, but couldn’t hold on against Bonny South. Tempers Rising most recently finished 7th in a disappointing run in an Allowance race for $81,000. Tempers Rising was expected to win or place, but was a non-factor.
You have to like what you see from Tempers Rising in the morning recently. She completed 4 furlongs with times of 48 and 49.60 seconds. After getting tied up in that Allowance race, look for Tempers Rising to respond with a much better effort. Shedaresthedevil will be looking to block an upset on Wednesday in the Indiana Oaks.
Shedaresthedevil is 3 for 8 in her career and has already bagged a stakes win in the Honeybee Stakes (Gr. 3) on March 7. She won by ¾ lengths over Alta’s Award to take the biggest chunk out of a $300,000 purse. Shedaresthedevil followed up for 3rd in the Fantasy Stakes (Gr. 3) for a $400,000 purse on May 1. She got caught up in traffic around the ¼ to ½ pole and ran out of room in the stretch, though Shedaresthedevil came on strong with good kick.
In her tune-up race before the Indiana Oaks on June 5, Shedaresthedevil was sharp with a 6 length wire-to-wire win over Mizzen Beau to clear the field with ease. She was strong on July 1 in a workout of 5 furlongs. Shedaresthedevil recorded a time of 59.80 seconds to cement her leading claims in the Indiana Oaks. The $280,000 Shedaresthedevil should prove to be a tough runner on Wednesday.
Race 11 – Indiana Derby
Post Time: 7:45 p.m. EST
Distance:1 ⅛ Miles
In the main event of the day, ten horses are scheduled to run 1 ⅛ miles on the dirt track for a $300,000 purse. Indiana Grand doesn’t get to enjoy the spotlight often, but Wednesday is all about Shelbyville. My shortlist includes Earner, Major Fed, and Shared Sense. This should be an exciting race that comes down to the final furlong. Earner isn’t getting much respect on the morning-line, as the young colt goes into this one at +800.
The only thing holding Earner back is his lack of experience racing against top talent, which could prove to be a problem. In three events, Earner has finished 2nd, 1st, 3rd. In his win on April 11, Earner won by 3 ¾ lengths as a heavy favorite. That was for a $80,000 purse. In his most recent entry, Earner finished 3rd on June 12 for a $81,000 purse. You would like to see something better from Earner in his lead up race going into the Indiana Derby, but his consistency thus far in his career is something to like, especially at what should be a good price at post time.
Shared Sense is 2 for 7 in his career, with finishes of 4th, 2nd, 1st, 6th, 1st, 6th, 2nd. In his lone stakes race, Shared Sense finished 6th in the War Chant Stakes (Black Type) on May 23 at Churchill Downs. That event was for a $100,000 purse on the turf. He followed it up for 2nd on June 13 to finish 6 ½ lengths behind Art Collector. That was for a $100,000 Allowance Optional Claiming event. He should be in the mix.
Major Fed has raced in more big events than anyone entered in the Indiana Derby. Winning Impression was 4th in the Arkansas Derby, which we won, but Major Fed has made appearances in the Risen Star Stakes, Louisiana Derby, and Matt Winn Stakes. His best performance was for 4th in the Louisiana Derby on March 21. Not a bad performance, which saw Major Fed go from 14th at the ¼ pole to 4th. He was flying in the stretch, but ran out of real estate. We cashed Wells Bayou in that race back in March.
His outing in the Matt Winn Stakes was disappointing for dead last on May 23. We also found a winner in that race with Maxfield, which helped us cash our biggest win in a Pick 5 at Churchill Downs. I wouldn’t look down on Major Fed too much for that outing, though. He got caught in traffic and the ground broke out from under him. His best finish in a stakes race was in the $400,000 Risen Stars on February 15 to finish a length back of the winner, Modernist, for 2nd. A win for Major Fed and it should be an automatic trip to Churchill Downs on Labor Day Weekend. He enters today 17th on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard, with 20 more points likely securing a spot. I’ll trust in Major Fed here.