While the major summer tests for the 3-year-old male division may be on the horizon, a prep of sorts for them will take Saturday at Horseshoe Indianapolis. With a purse of $300,000 and a field of nine, the 1 1/16-mile Indiana Derby has the potential to be a stepping stone for one or two of the starters to Grade 1 stakes in August and September such as the Travers Stakes or the Pennsylvania Derby.
1. Transect (15-1 morning-line odds): Won on this track in his first start on a fast, dirt surface. Has speed from the rail and could hang on for a share of the purse if the pace is manageable.
2. Raise Cain (10-1): Skipped the Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets to run here. Was a creditable eighth in the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve and was a lopsided winner of the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct in March. Will be a major force if he can duplicate that form from the win at the Big A.
3. Act a Fool (6-1): Trainer Larry Rivelli was heart-broken when Kentucky Derby runner-up Two Phil’s suffered a career-ending injury but this son of Oscar Performance has the potential to lift his spirits. While he’s never run in a stakes on dirt, he has enough early speed to grab the early lead and be a factor throughout.
4. Onthestage (10-1): Has taken some big strides forward in his last two starts, breaking his maiden by a head and then romping by 6 1/2 lengths in an allowance race, both at Lone Star Park. Continued improvement can make him a top contender here.
5. Verifying (8-5): He has placed in multiple Grade 1 stakes as well as a Grade 3 but has yet to register a graded stakes win. After a strong second in the Matt Winn Stakes, that breakthrough win should come in this race.
6. Stayinyourlane (30-1): He’s still maiden after running in claimers in his last three starts. We’ll pass.
8. Cagliostro (8-1): Turned in a strong rally to finish second in a mile allowance race at Churchill Downs. He broke through the gate and was no factor in the Grade 2 Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby before that. His best effort should make a major contender here.
9. Georgie W (12-1): Won very nicely in his first dirt race here at Horseshoe Indianapolis but only faced three opponents that day. Will face a much tougher test in this field while breaking the outside and having to cope with the prospect of major ground loss.
THE PICK: Verifying
LIVE LONGSHOT: Transect