Best Horse Racing Bets Today | Horseshoe Indianapolis, July 6

Written by: Brian Zipse
Published July 5, 2024
7 min read

With a big weekend of holiday racing on tap all over the nation, I will turn my attention to Horseshoe Indianapolis for their signature day of racing of the year. Saturday’s afternoon card at the suburban Indianapolis racetrack features eight stakes races topped by the $300,000 Indiana Derby. Headlining the field of eight sophomore males will be the pair of Dragoon Guard and Stronghold. 

Other highlights from the loaded afternoon include the highly regarded Impel in search of her first stakes victory as the morning line favorite in the Grade 3 Indiana Oaks, as well as a pair of solid stakes races for older horses on the main track. Without further ado, let’s get to my analysis and best bets for this excellent card of racing from Indiana.

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Race #4 Mari Hulman George Memorial $100,000 1 1/16-Miles Dirt - 1:52pm EST

Led by Loved and Hidden Connection, a field of seven older females will get the stakes races started at Horseshoe Indianapolis on Saturday with the $100,000 Mari Hulman George Memorial Handicap going 1 1/16 miles on the main track.

A 5-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, Loved is the 7-5 morning line favorite despite having yet to win a stakes race. Having moved through her conditions with three romping wins last year, she was not embarrassed when fourth in her graded stakes debut last summer in the Molly Pitcher at Monmouth Park. After nine months away, she returned in April to set the pace before fading to fourth in the Grade 3 Doubledogdare at Keeneland. The Godolphin homebred looks to be the speed of this race.

Hidden Connection, meanwhile, brings plenty of graded stakes experience to the table. Trained by Bret Calhoun, the 5-year-old mare finished ahead of Loved when second in the Doubledogdare. She followed that up with a fifth-place effort in the Grade 3 Shawnee last time. The two-time stakes winner figures to be in close pursuit of the favorite early.

Of the rest, Bluelightspecial is a five-time winner over the track and also brings good tactical speed with her, and Traverse has graded stakes experience and comes in off a solid effort at Monmouth Park. Loved, however, should control this race from the break. She is my top pick on Saturday.

My Play

  • $20 Exacta Part Wheel - Loved over Hidden Connection and Bluelightspecial = $40

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Race #8 Michael G. Schaefer Memorial Stakes $100,000 1 Mile & 70 Yards Dirt - 4:26pm EST

In a race that looks more like a graded stakes race than a listed one, a hard-hitting field of eleven older males have been entered in the $100,000 Michael G. Schaefer Memorial Stakes at Horseshoe Indianapolis on Saturday. 

Trained by Bret Calhoun, Kupuna was tabbed as a tepid 4-1 top choice on the morning line. An impressive stakes winner earlier this season in Louisiana, the Hard Spun gelding comes in off a pair of second-place efforts at Churchill Downs, including in the Knicks Go Stakes two starts back. Last time out, he chased the speedy Five Star General to no avail.  

A winner of 12 races in his career, Five Star General will look to utilize his good early speed from the rail in here, but there should be solid pace pressure in this one. Millionaires Trademark and Mr. Wireless are two that can come from off this pace, and together have won the last two editions of the 1 mile and 70 yards Schaefer.

Still more to consider in the field include War Campaign and Money Supply. The latter became a graded stakes winner three starts back in New Orleans, while the former earned his first stakes win in December at Oaklawn Park. I actually like the pace set up for War Campaign here, and in a wide open heat, he will be my top pick.

My Plays

  • $5 Exacta Part Wheel - War Campaign over Mr. Wireless, Five Star General, Kupuna, Call Me Fast, and Trademark = $25

  • $5 Exacta Part Wheel - Mr. Wireless, Five Star General, Kupuna, Call Me Fast, and Trademark over War Campaign = $25

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Race #11 Indiana Oaks (Grade 3) $200,000 1 1/16-Miles Dirt - 6:04pm EST

Knocking on the door against some of the nation’s top 3-year-old fillies in her last two, Impel looks like strictly the one to beat among a field of eight in Saturday’s Grade 3 Indiana Oaks at Horseshoe Indianapolis.

The Juddmonte homebred is trained by Brad Cox and looked like a star in the making when winning her first two career starts in style early this year. Although defeated in the last two, she performed admirably in both her third in the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland and the Grade 2 Eight Belles at Churchill Downs. Given some class relief in this 1 1/16-mile test, she should be tough.

Her most intriguing competition on Saturday could be the unbeaten filly Neon Icon. A daughter of Arrogate, she has won her first two in good looking style for trainer Rusty Arnold. After breaking her maiden at Keeneland, she stretched out last time to win a 10-furlong allowance race at Churchill Downs by more than five lengths.

Band of Gold, Chatalas, and Charlene’s Dream are all stakes winners and merit respect, as well on Saturday. I can’t look past the speed, talent, and potential of Impel, however. She is the top pick.

My Plays 

  • $10 Trifecta Part Wheel - Impel over Neon Icon over Band of Gold, Chatalas, and Charlene’s Dream = $30

  • $5 Trifecta Part Wheel - Impel over Band of Gold, Chatalas, and Charlene’s Dream over Neon Icon = $15

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Race #12 Indiana Derby (Grade 3) $300,000 1 1/16-Miles Dirt - 6:41pm EST

In a clash between proven class versus potential, Stronghold and Dragoon Guard should vie for favoritism when they headline a field of eight set for Saturday’s $300,000 Indiana Derby at Horseshoe Indianapolis.

A son of Ghostzapper, Stronghold is a Grade 1 winner for trainer Phil D’Amato. That victory came two starts back when he won the Santa Anita Derby over Imagination and E J Won the Cup. First or second in his first six career starts, he faded to finish seventh out of twenty in this year’s Kentucky Derby. This will be his first start since, and he has been working well in Southern California.

Dragoon Guard, meanwhile, will be making his stakes debut in this 1 1/16-mile affair. A son of Arrogate, he just missed to a future stakes winner in his debut last fall. He has come back this year with two easy wins at Keeneland and Churchill Downs for trainer Brad Cox. With plenty of early speed, the highly regarded colt should be involved early.

E J Won the Cup also comes into this race with strong credentials. The winner of the Turf Paradise Derby three starts back, he was a solid third behind Stronghold in the Santa Anita Derby, before coming back to win the Texas Derby in his most recent start. A consistent and classy colt, Stronghold is the one I like best. He will be my top pick in the Indiana Derby.

My Play

  • $50 Win - Stronghold = $50

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Brian Zipse

Horse Racing Betting Analyst

Expertise:
Horse Racing
Betting Picks
Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.
Nationality: American
Education: Bachelor of Communications
Favourite Sportsbook: FanDuel Sportsbook
Favourite Casino: BetMGM Casino
Experience:
15 years
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