Expert Pick of the Week: Indiana Derby

Jul 07, 2020 John Mucciolo/

A well-matched field of 10 sophomores will travel 1 1/8 miles in Wednesday’s $300,000 Indiana Derby (G3). The feature on a huge day of racing at Indiana Grand acts as a qualifying race on the 2020 Road to the Kentucky Derby challenge series, with points going to the first four finishers on a 20-8-4-2 basis.

I'm going to take a swing for a big upset in a race that could go to virtually any contender in the field. Necker Island makes his first start since being claimed for $100,000 at Churchill Downs on June 13, and he will reward his new connections with instant dividends. The Kentucky-bred is the Expert Pick of the Week. 

The son of Hard Spun has failed to hit the board in five assignments in 2020, but his form this campaign has been pretty solid nonetheless. Necker Island has run into some especially talented horses (e.g. Maxfield, Dr Post, Mischievous Alex, Art Collector) that seemed to be peaking when he crossed their paths, and the chestnut lands in a very winnable field lacking a true standout.

Necker Island draws widest in the cast and will make his first start for conditioner Chris Hartman. The Kentucky-bred 3-year-old has always shown tactical speed, and he could sit a good trip near midpack while in the clear around the backside under the guidance of Mitchell Murrill.

Major Fed is the likely one to beat for Greg Foley. The Ghostzapper colt didn’t fire in the recent Matt Winn (G3), but a runner-up result in a Risen Star (G2) division followed by a fourth in the subsequent Louisiana Derby (G2), proved that he possesses a lot of natural ability.

The Kentucky-bred sophomore comes in fresh with a pair of solid morning drills to his credit. He owns a strong turn of foot, and in a field where the pace figures to back up in the stretch, his running style could play perfectly in the Indiana Derby.

Expert Pick

An exacta with #10 Necker Island over #8 Major Fed is the Best Bet of the Week.

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