Indiana Derby selections, jockey analysis; 7/15/17

The Grade III, $500,000 Indiana Derby takes place Saturday night at Indiana Grand race course. Notable runners from the Triple Crown trail such as IRAP, WILD SHOT and UNTRAPPED are present in the 11-horse field. Post time for the Indiana Derby, the ninth of 10 races, is 9:49 p.m. EST. They’ll go 1 1/16-miles on the main course under the lights. Several nationally-important jockeys are present, so this race will carry weight in FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!

#2 IRAP is the 8-5 morning-line favorite for trainer Doug O’Neill and jockey Mario Gutierrez. IRAP was last seen winning the Grade III Ohio Derby, earning a strong speed figure in the process. However, he seems beatable today, as his Ohio Derby effort could be chalked up to a seven-week freshening. The versatile colt should be good for an ITM finish, but others entice more.

#10 COLONELSDARKTEMPER (10-1) will be the top choice at generous odds. His first foray into graded company, the Grade III Pat Day Mile, was a dud but he gets a pass due to the wet surface. After that he won an allowance over AWESOME SATURDAY (more on him later), then checked in second behind McCraken in the Grade III Matt Winn. He’s blossomed into a nice horse at Churchill; we’ll see if he can step his game up on the road. Veteran jockey Jon Court has the call, as usual, on COLONELSDARKTEMPER.

#8 AWESOME SATURDAY (8-1) will try to live up to his name as he makes his stakes debut. He’s never been out of the money in five tries and was last seen romping in an allowance heat at Churchill over #11 WATCH ME WHIP. Brian Hernandez Jr. will be in the irons once more.

#9 UNTRAPPED (6-1) will look to better his third-place finish in the Ohio Derby at Indiana Grand. Though he likes to close, he could benefit from a cutback in distance in order to strengthen his late kick. Ricardo Santana Jr. sees fit to make the trip.

The play: $2 exacta 8,10/2,8,9,10 ($12)

DFJ analysis: Brian Hernandez Jr. has several live stakes mounts at Indiana Grand this Saturday. His first comes on 9-2 Linda in the Indiana General Assembly Distaff Stakes. Then he rides One Man Man (8-1) in the Warrior Veterans Stakes. He has Brooklynsway (7-2) in the following race, the Mari Hulman George, and 5-2 favorite Eagle in the Schaefer Memorial. Stonetacular gives Hernandez a 7-2 shot in the Grade III Indiana Oaks before he takes the reins on AWESOME SATURDAY in the Indiana Derby.

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