Finnick the Fierce, Major Fed among prospective Indiana Derby runners

Finnick the Fierce, Major Fed among prospective Indiana Derby runners
Photo: Hodges Photography

The extended 2020 Kentucky Derby and Oaks trails will take a mid-week trip soon through Shelbyville, Ind.

On Wednesday, July 8, Indiana Grand will host the $300,000 Indiana Derby and $200,000 Indiana Oaks, both of which are Grade 3 events. The races pay out points on a 20-8-4-2 basis toward the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks, respectively.

Eric Halstrom, Indiana Grand vice president and general manager of racing, said in May that the track moved its two signature races three days earlier than their originally scheduled July 11 “to avoid conflict with other important 3-year old races and maximize handle opportunities on the national racing scene.”

Randy Wehrman, Indiana Grand assistant racing secretary and stakes coordinator, provided Horse Racing Nation with prospective fields for the Indiana Derby and Oaks. Entries will officially be taken Thursday.

Keep in mind that the 1 1/8-mile Indiana Derby and 1 1/16-mile Oaks come days before Keeneland’s boutique summer meet will also award Kentucky Derby and Oaks points. Some of the 3-year-old males targeting the Indiana Derby could reroute to Keeneland’s $600,000 Blue Grass Stakes (G2) on July 11.

Connections also could point Indiana Oaks probables to Keeneland’s $100,000 Beaumont (G3) on July 10 or $400,000 Ashland (G1) the following day.

Indiana Derby

Finnick the Fierce and Major Fed, both of whom sit inside the top 20 of the current Road to the Kentucky Derby standings, could likely solidify a spot in the starting gates Sept. 5 with an Indiana Derby triumph.

Major Fed, a Greg Foley trainee, ranks 16th among 3-year-olds still in training, with 30 points. He collected 20 points with a second-place run Feb. 15 in a division of Fair Grounds’ Risen Star (G2), then another 10 on March 21 with a fourth-place effort over the same course in the Louisiana Derby (G2).

The Ghostzapper colt will look to improve upon his last performance, a 10th-place finish May 23 at Churchill Downs in the Matt Winn Stakes (G3).

Finnick the Fierce currently ranks 18th in the Derby standings, with 25 points. The Rey Hernandez trainee earned four with a runner-up effort at Churchill last November in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2), one on Jan. 18 by finishing fourth in Fair Grounds’ Lecomte Stakes (G3), then 20 with a third-place run May 2 in a division of the Arkansas Derby (G1).

The Dialed In gelding most recently ran third June 13 under the Twin Spires in an allowance optional claiming race.

In addition to the probables listed below, Wehrman noted that trainer Steve Asmussen will send one 3-year-old from his barn to the Indiana Derby.

2020 Indiana Derby (G3)


Indiana Oaks

Shedaresthedevil looms large over the Indiana Oaks field if trainer Brad Cox indeed runs her at Indiana Grand rather than at Keeneland.

The Daredevil filly ranks fourth on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard with 70 points. She earned 50 on March 7 by winning Oaklawn Park’s Honeybee Stakes (G3), then another 20 by running third May 1 in a deep renewal of Oaklawn’s Fantasy Stakes (G3).

Cox kept Shedaresthedevil pointed in the right direction with an allowance optional claiming victory June 5 at Churchill.

Tempers Rising ranks 13th in the Kentucky Oaks standings, with her 47 putting her just to the good side of the bubble for the 14-horse field. She went this winter through Fair Grounds, scoring two points Jan. 18 by finishing third in the Silverbulletday Stakes, five for running fourth Feb. 15 in the Rachel Alexandra Stakes (G2) and 40 for finishing second March 21 in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2).

Most recently, the Dallas Stewart-trained Bayern filly was seventh May 29 in an allowance race at Churchill.

Just as with the Indiana Derby, Wehrman said Asmussen will likely enter a to-be-determined runner from his barn for the Indiana Oaks. 

IND Stakes (6/30/2020-R19)

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