On the biggest day in horse racing, with the world's best thoroughbred talent on display, it was a colt that prepped in the Indiana Derby that stole the show.
The Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile was dominated by Indiana Derby participants. The betting favorite in this grade I affair was Indiana Derby winner Wilburn. Indiana Derby favorite and 2nd place finisher Shackleford was 5-1, with Indiana Derby 3rd place finisher Caleb's Posse going off at odds of nearly 7-1.
Shackleford was prominant early, pressing the speed of The Factor through the beginning stages of the race. The Dale Romans trainee would pressure The Factor into submission, as the son of Forestry took the lead and spurted away at the top of the stretch, while Baffert’s colt faded badly.
Shackleford looked to be all but home, until Caleb's Posse imposed his presence. Under jockey Rajiv Maragh, Caleb's Posse stormed down the Churchill Downs stretch, quickly ending Shackleford's chance of a victory, as the son of Posse drew off to a 4 length victory. Wilburn never seemed comfortable while running on the rail, he quickly faded and finished a disappointing 7th.
Caleb's Posse's dominant performance in the grade I Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile earned him the highest Beyer speed figure (111) of any horse that competed in Breeders' Cup races. The Donnie Von Hemel trainee is being touted as a major contender for the Eclipse award for Champion 3-year-old Colt. He is also being mentioned as a contender for Champion Sprinter, you could even argue that he should be in the conversation for Horse of the Year.
Caleb's Posse, Shackleford, and Wilburn proved the depth and viability of the Indiana Derby when it comes to Breeders' Cup implications. Racing in the state of Indiana has improved by leaps and bounds in the past 5 years, the fact that we could have back-to-back Eclipse Award winners that ran in the state of Indiana, made the Indiana Derby their Breeders’ Cup prep race, and eventually went on to run well, or ever win a Breeders’ Cup race, speaks volumes to the quality of racing in the Hoosier State.
With that being said, I think it’s time for the Indiana Derby to be rewarded with grade I status. There are so many grade I's in racing that don't live up to the billing, year after year, while the Indiana Derby showcases a deep and talented field that has made an impact in regards to the Breeders' Cup.
A purse boost by ITOBA would enhance the chance of the Indiana Derby achieving grade I status, but, you can’t deny facts, back to back Preakness winners, Lookin at Lucky and Shackleford both used the Indiana Derby as a stepping stone to the Breeders’ Cup Classic and Dirt Mile. Not only that, the only 3-year-old with multiple grade I wins (Kings Bishop and Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile) Caleb’s Posse saw fit to use the Indiana Derby to tune up for the Breeders’ Cup.
The fact that both of these horses finished 1-2 in the Dirt Mile just goes to show you how viable the Indiana Derby is, and proves how deep and talented the racing in Indiana is.
2011 was an extremely successful year for Indiana Racing, horses that have ran at Indiana Downs and Hoosier Park have went on to do wonderful things. 2012 looks even more promising. the Oliver Stakes at Indiana Downs is an event I always look forward to it has become a summer Derby for turf horses.
Hoosier Park’s meet is always highlighted by the Indiana Derby, but, the 2-year-old racing at Hoosier is improving year by year.
I look forward to the future of racing in Indiana, do you?
Honor of Tim (Tiznow) Reynolds, you changed all of are lives for the
better and you'll be with us always. Donations can be made to the Timothy (Tiznow) Reynolds Memorial Fund. A memorial fund for his daughter, Lauren Reynolds.