Key Races & Bets for Saturday July 6, 2024

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Indiana Gen’l Assembly Distaff Handicap - Race 10 at Horseshoe Indianapolis - Post Time 5:31 PM Eastern

Win Contenders: Misread, Stir Crazy, Bolivie, Elounda Queen, Join the Dance

Five of the 11 fillies and mares can win this race but that’s okay to start the last pick 3 because we have a strong single in race 12, the Indiana Derby. There’s some value in the race as well as there is no clear-cut favorite, with Misread opening as the lukewarm choice at 7 to 2. That makes sense given the stakes quality 102 Equibase Speed Figure she earned winning in a field of 11 at Keeneland one race before last in April. Stepped up to the grade 3 level in her only start since, Misread moved up to third after three-quarters of a mile but had no kick and ended up fifth. Still, she ran fast enough to earn a 100 figure, which except for the 103 figure Elounda Queen earned in her fourth place stakes effort when last seen at the end of May, is best in the field. The KEY to Misread getting back to winning form, as well as for Elounda Queen, is the entrants in this non-graded stakes can race on Lasix. This is NOT a comment one way or another about the drug, but is important to note Misread won on Lasix last July, finished fifth one month later without it, won in April (off an eight month layoff) with it, and ran fifth last time out without it. Brian Hernandez, who rode Misread to the first two of her three career wins, gets back on and with a very sharp second best of 75 half-mile workout under her belt Misread looks to be a strong contender.

Stir Crazy and Join the Dance finished first and second, respectively, in a third level allowance race a few weeks back at Churchill Downs, on the turf at this distance. Of the pair Stir Crazy appears slightly more probable as she rallied strongly from fourth in the final eighth of a mile and it was her second win in a row. Trainer Mike Maker won on this day in 2023 and 2021 off turf route wins at other tracks and considering this mare has finished first or second in four straight if she doesn’t win she is highly probable to be part of the exacta, and her 8 to 1 starting odds are well out of line and demanding we take advantage.

Bolivie opens at even higher odds, 15 to 1, although she gets the ground saving rail and was also a visually impressive winner in her most recent race. That came at the end of May and more importantly following seven months off. Burgos was up for the first time and it is notable trainer Brendan Walsh shipped the filly up from his Kentucky base to get a race over the course, very LIKELY with this race in mind. Walsh and Burgos have a TREMENDOUS record on this course, with five wins in nine race over the last five years, and Bolivie is a previous stakes winner, having won the Searching Stakes in Maryland last summer, so she fits on all counts.

Elounda Queen, as mentioned earlier, gets Lasix for the first time in her career, in her 14th career start. She ran nine times in Europe, winning a Group 3 stakes race in France last August, but has finished seventh, 12th, fifth and fourth in her four U.S. starts, for two, now three, different trainers. Cox took over after her May 26 race and appears to have her in good shape as well as gets his #1 winning jockey at Horseshoe Indiana to ride in Marcelino Pedroza (20 for 60 going back to 1/1/23).

If I’m going to consider Stir Crazy a contender, I can’t completely eliminate Join the Dance, considering she led from the start until mid-stretch in that race last month, and she rallied from eighth to second in the Tom Benson Memorial Stakes two before that in March to prove she fits at the level. With a record of 1-3-1 on grass and 3-5-4 overall she may not want to win but with Hall-of-Fame jockey Mike Smith aboard and 6 to 1 starting odds she can’t be ignored when considering wagers in this race.

The only horse some might consider a win contender that I do not is Regal Realm, because she is coming back from nearly eight months off in a turf route without a prep race, whereas all of the other five mentioned above have run much more recently.

Handicapper Picks

Win: Misread at 5 to 2, Stir Crazy at 4 to 1, Bolivie at 9 to 2, Elounda Queen at 9 to 2, Join the Dance at 7 to 1
I will absolutely bet Misread at 5 to 2 or more then look for the horse among the other four at the highest odds.

In this race there may be an opportunity for a mathematical edge by using a dutching tool, which prorates wagers for the best value. There’s a free dutching tool at, where you can set the amount you want to bet and the math is done for you to help achieve the best edge. This is just one of many tools, and perks, for bettors at

Pick 3 and Doubles (using just races 10 and 11):
Race 10: Misread, Stir Crazy, Bolivie, Elounda Queen, Join the Dance
Race 11: Just Be Quiet, Neon Icon, Impel
Race 12: Dragoon Guard

Optional second Pick 3 and Double:
Race 10: Misread
Race 11: Just Be Quiet, Neon Icon, Impel
Race 12: Dragoon Guard, E J Won the Cup

Indiana Oaks - Race 11 at Horseshoe Indianapolis - Post Time 6:04 PM Eastern

Win Contenders: Just Be Quiet, Neon Icon, Impel

Impel (7 to 5 starting odds) and Neon Icon (7 to 2) are the two of the three starting favorites, the other being Band of Gold (3 to 1), who I am taking a stand against off sixth, 11th and third place non-competitive efforts (with no excuses) in her last three races. Impel and Neon Icon might win this race 60 or more times in 100, but with that being said Just Be Quiet might win about 15 to 20 times, and because she opens at 20 to 1 odds I have to start with her.

Just Be Quiet has two wins and three second place finishes in seven races, better still having finished first or second in all four dirt starts, and first and second in her only two routes. Her best effort to date, by far, was her effort over this track last month on June 13 when she powered off to win by nearly four lengths after laying about six lengths behind the early leader through the opening seven furlong. De La Cruz was up for the first time and got the filly to really show her stuff late, so much so that she earned a career-best 85 Equibase Speed Figure. Neon Icon earned a similar 86 figure when breaking her maiden in a route in April and Impel earned an 89 figure when doing the same at the first allowance level (same as Just Be Quiet) in March. Both have improved since then, but that does not mean Just Be Quiet can take a big step forward and post the upset, or at least run a lot better than her double digit odds suggest she will. Her sire is Karakontie, best known for winning the Breeders’ Cup Mile on turf, BUT he has produced dirt route stakes winners, including a horse who ran second in the Rebel Stakes and the Sam F. Davis winner. Note that Just Be Quiet is also entered in a stakes at Prairie Meadows on Saturday, but I’m hopeful trainer Gorham keeps her here.

Impel was second in the one-turn Eight Belles Stakes on Kentucky Oaks day in May and won strongly two before that. She fits on all counts for the exceptionally high percentage Cox barn and would be no surprise. Neon Icon has won both races by an average of five lengths and has not given any other horse a chance to run near her in the stretch. She’s a daughter of Arrogate who could be any kind and may bring her record to three-for-three with a win here,

Handicapper Picks

Win: Just Be Quiet at 4 to 1, Neon Icon at 5 to 2 or more.

Exactas: Box Just be Quiet, Neon Icon and Impel. Box Neon Icon and Impel Again.

Race 11: Just Be Quiet, Neon Icon, Impel
Race 12: Dragoon Guard

Race 11: Just Be Quiet, Neon Icon, Impel
Race 12: Dragoon Guard, E J Won the Cup

Indiana Derby - Race 12 at Horseshoe Indianapolis - Post Time 6:04 PM Eastern

Win Contender: Dragoon Guard
Possible minor win contender: E J Won the Cup

First, I have NO INTEREST in Stronghold, the 2 to 1 starting favorite. He has three runner-up finishes in his career to go along with three wins, and in those three runner-up efforts he offered no fight at all in the last eighth. He won the Sunland Derby in February with a 92 figure then eeked out a neck win in the Santa Anita Derby, AFTER opening up by a half-length. He finished seventh in the Kentucky Derby and has been off for two months, which in my book is a BIG no-no because historically, horses which run poorly in the Kentucky Derby then come back to run well in the Indiana Derby, have ONE race in between, not a two month layoff. Additionally, the 99 figure he earned in the Santa Anita Derby IS NOT fast enough to win here if Dragoon Guard just repeats his last win, on June 2 (not May 4 as for Stronghold’s last race), with a 104 figure.

Dragoon Guard is another up and coming star for the Cox barn and could give owner/breeder Juddmonte wins in the Indiana Oaks (with Impel) and in this race. The colt made his debut last September and I imagine there were very high hopes after a neck defeat first out but apparently he needed time off. He returned seven months later in April, in a seven furlong race, and he dominated by nearly four lengths. Next on June 2 Dragoon Guard went a mile and, after leading from the start on decent fractions, opening up and coasted home easily. He went from a 97 figure in his 4/21 race to a 104 figure in his last race and that projects to a 111 graded stakes winning figure which no horse in the field comes close to. As a son of Arrogate the two-turns he’s trying for the first time is no issue either.

The other possible winner is E J Won the Cup, who won the Texas Derby on May 27. Interestingly enough the 2021 winner of this race was second in the Texas Derby so that bears noting. On the other hand, E J Won the Cup was no match for Stronghold and runner-up Imagination in the Santa Anita Derby, running third from start to finish, with a 94 figure. He did NOT improve in the Texas Derby, earning the same figure, and now with 97, 93, 94 and 94 figures earned in his last four race it sure does appear he’s not improving, as compared to Dragoon Guard. Just the same, E J Won the Cup is the second fastest horse in the field and a double stakes winner, having won the Turf Paradise Derby as well. As such, I’ll use him on secondary double and pick three tickets.

Handicapper Picks

Win: This one is simple. Hopefully we’re alive to nice doubles and pick 3s to Dragoon Guard. In addition, I will bet Dragoon Guard to win at odds of 3 to 2 or more.

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Ellis Starr

Ellis is a well respected handicapper and contributor of AmWager. He has been a public handicapper for more than twenty years, educating racing fans of all skill levels with detailed commentary few other handicappers provide.

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