On a busy Saturday of racing at Horseshoe Indianapolis, the $300,000 Indiana Derby (G3) and $200,000 Indiana Oaks (G3) produced contrasting results.
The Indiana Oaks was all about 3-10 favorite Interstatedaydream, an established stakes star with a victory in the Black-Eyed Susan S. (G2) and a third-place finish in the Ashland S. (G1) to her credit. The daughter of Classic Empire was widely expected to defeat half a dozen rivals at Horseshoe Indianapolis and didn’t disappoint, pressing Patna through fractions of :24.04, :48.26, and 1:12.55 before taking command and turning back a bid from runner-up Runaway Wife to prevail by 2 1/4 lengths.
Under the guidance of Florent Geroux, Interstatedaydream completed the 1 1/16-mile heat in 1:43.78 while Silverleaf, Sixtythreecaliber, Patna, Napa Candy, and North County completed the order of finish.
Trained by Brad Cox, Interstatedaydream races in the colors of Flurry Racing Stables. A return to Grade 1 company could be next after her sharp score at Horseshoe Indianapolis, with the Aug. 20 Alabama S. (G1) at Saratoga looming as a lucrative target.
If the Indiana Oaks was a showcase of established class, then the Indiana Derby was a stage for the up-and-coming Actuator to seize the spotlight.
Fresh off a maiden victory sprinting seven furlongs at Churchill Downs, Actuator handled stretching out in class and distance with aplomb. Jockey James Graham allowed Actuator to settle a length or two behind early pacesetter Trademark through modest fractions of :24.04, :48.66, and 1:13.10 before launching a wide rally to outkick Best Actor by half a length.
Actuator completed 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.48, slower than Interstatedaydream in the Indiana Oaks, though the modest early tempo may have played a part. Best Actor pulled 2 1/2 lengths clear of third-place finisher King Ottoman, followed by Trademark, Mowins, Fowler Blue, Rattle N Roll, and First Glimpse.
As a juvenile, Actuator went 0-for-2, but since returning from a long layoff as a sophomore he’s unbeaten in two starts. The son of Bodemeister still has upside for trainer Michael McCarthy and owners Black Type Thoroughbreds, Rags Racing Stable, Rick Howard, and Gavin O’Connor. Targets as wide-ranging as the July 30 Jim Dandy S. (G2), the Aug. 6 West Virginia Derby (G3), the Aug. 14 Ellis Park Derby, the Aug. 20 St. Louis Derby, or even the Aug. 27 Travers S. (G1) could be on the horizon.