INDIAN WINTER (Indian Charlie) will test his mettle at two turns when he lines up for Saturday's $50,000 Turf Paradise Derby. Winner of the 6 1/2-furlong San Pedro S. in his 2011 debut, the three-year-old colt was re-directed to the 1 1/16-mile event after being scratched from last Sunday's seven-furlong San Vicente S. (G2) at Santa Anita. Martin Pedroza opted not to accompany him to Arizona, giving local rider Juan Rivera the mount, and Indian Water will break from the rail in the 10-horse field.
Co-owned and trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Indian Water concluded his juvenile season with a dead-heat third in the Del Mar Futurity (G1). He drew notice for the Kentucky Derby (G1) with an excellent performance in the January 17 San Pedro, rallying past rivals in the stretch to a half-length decision, but the Turf Paradise Derby is an unconventional approach for any serious prospect, especially one with only $22,500 in graded earnings. Indian Water probably needs a strong showing at two turns Saturday to continue along the Derby trail.
He will face a couple of familiar foes in ARCADIAN (Songandaprayer) and MR ARTISTIC M D (Mr. Greeley).
Arcadian was a slight favorite in the San Pedro following impressive wins in his first two starts at Turf Paradise, including a 6 1/2-length romp in the Lost in the Fog Juvenile, but weakened to sixth after dueling for the early lead. The Dan McFarlane-trained gelding rebounded from his first setback with a wire-to-wire allowance victory at Turf Paradise on February 5, winning his first start at two turns by a 1 3/4-length margin, and Arcadian will be the one to catch Saturday under regular rider Ry Eikleberry.
Mr Artistic M D has raced exclusively in Southern California, winning his first two starts over maiden special weight and allowance/optional claiming rivals before suffering his first loss with a fourth in the San Pedro. Formerly trained by Kathy Walsh, the Kentucky-bred gelding will make his first start under the direction of Sandi Gann and receives a jockey switch to Scott Stevens.
Southern California invader TWICE THE APPEAL (Successful Appeal) will make his stakes debut with a two-race win skein in tow, including a 4 3/4-length victory over starter allowance rivals most recently at Santa Anita. He's been transferred to conditioner Mike Chambers.
Laurel Park and Sunland Park will also offer non-graded stakes for three-year-olds on Saturday.
BANDBOX (Tapit), who suffered his first career loss when fourth behind To Honor and Serve (Bernardini) in the Remsen S. (G2) following a troubled trip, will make his sophomore bow in the $75,000 Miracle Wood S. at Laurel Park. The gray colt scored easy wins in his first three starts, including a 9 1/2-length romp in the Charles Town Juvenile S., but was forced to steady rounding the turn and then clipped heels with a rival before he even made it to the backstretch of the Remsen. The Rodney Jenkins trainee tired in the stretch run to be fourth and was given a month off before returning to the worktab in January.
Bandbox has posted five works since his return, four of which earned the bullet designation, and will have Travis Dunkelberger aboard for the seven-furlong Miracle Wood.
J J'S LUCKY TRAIN (Silver Train) already owns two starts this season, finishing second in the Whirlaway S. and Count Fleet S., and will attempt to return to the form that saw him take a pair of allowances to close out last year. Also entered in the Miracle Wood are the top four runners from the January 29 Dancing Count S. -- WICKED THUNDER (Thunder Gulch), DISKI DANCE (Songandaprayer), AFTERNOON ACTION (Action This Day) and CONCEALED IDENTITY (Smarty Jones), respectively. INDY KRIZZ (Congrats), who broke his maiden at Laurel before taking an allowance at Charles Town, completes the seven-horse field.
SPECIAL KID (Lemon Drop Kid), who exits a maiden special weight victory at Santa Anita, has been installed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite in Saturday's $100,000 Borderland Derby at Sunland Park. Trained by Doug O' Neil, the dark bay gelding will have a new pilot in Christian Santiago Reyes. Steve Asmussen has a top contender in EXPECTING CASH (Littleexpectations), who is listed at 3-1 following his third in the Jean Lafitte S. at Delta Downs. Other contenders include Riley Allison Futurity runner-up IT'S MY PARTY (Unbridled Energy), who exits a local allowance score, and Riley Allison third-placer R SKYDIVER (Benchmark). A field of 10 is entered in the 1 1/16-mile contest.