Besides ‘Absolute Standout’ Fulsome, Longshots Aplenty In July 7 Indiana Derby

Juddmonte Farms’ Fulsome is the No. 1 horse in the field of seven 3-year-olds for Wednesday’s $300,000, Grade 3 Indiana Derby at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino. That’s both his post in the starting gate and where he stacks up before the 1 1/16-mile stakes.

“Look, this race has an absolute standout in Fulsome, (proven, won four of his last five for trainer Brad Cox and a horse that has accomplished more than anybody else in the field),” said trainer Tom Amoss, who will try to pull the upset with Sermononthemount. “I see the one horse as the horse to beat here.“

Of course, where Cox and jockey Florent Geroux want the 4-5 Indiana Derby favorite to be No. 1 is at the finish. But they have no worries about Fulsome, winner of Churchill Downs’ Grade 3 Matt Winn Stakes in his last start, drawing the rail when post positions were set Thursday.

“He can adjust; we’ll be fine,” said Cox, who in his Indiana Derby debut last year teamed with Geroux to win the 1 1/16-mile stakes with Shared Sense.

“I mean, he’s come from off the pace. Sometimes he’s up closer,” Geroux said. “I have no idea where he’s going to be. He’s very versatile. It’s not a big deal for him. We’ll be saving ground around the first turn is all I can tell you.”

Jon Lapczenski and John Kerber’s 5-2 second choice Mr. Wireless, second in the Texas Derby in his last start, will start from the far outside in post 7 under Ramon Vazquez.

“I think that post is fine,” said trainer Bret Calhoun. “Obviously it gives us some options from out there. I wouldn’t have minded being in a little closer to the rail. But the 7 is fine. It’s not a very big field, and it should give us some options into the first turn. He’s got some tactical speed, and he’s raced up close in most of his races. He didn’t get away too sharp last time, was fanned pretty wide and it cost us a little bit.”

Trained by Amoss, Emil Cerullo’s 10-1 Sermononthemount won a Churchill Downs’ $30,000 claiming race two starts back at the Indiana Derby distance and subsequently was third in the Prairie Mile Stakes on June 4. He’ll be ridden by James Graham, who was aboard for the Churchill race.

“One of the interesting things about the race is there is a real lack of pace,” Amoss said. “That doesn’t necessarily help my horse. I know we’re taking a shot, but he is an improving horse. I like the idea of there being a little more distance. I think the most interesting thing about the race is the real lack of pace and where everybody is going to be positioned.

“You look at these horses – nobody looks like a front-end horse, and somebody is going to be. I think the pace is going to be slow early, and it’s really going to hurt anybody who thinks they’re going to close deeply. I really think that the beginning of this race, and how it unfolds, has a lot to say about the finish,” added Amoss.

Graham said Sermononthemount, “tries his butt off every time, so you have to take a little bit of a shot — and he’s doing good. What if Fulsome has a bad day? And hopefully we have a good day. It’s open. It’s very, very open. Give it a shot and see what happens.”

Trainer Jack Sisterson sounds like he’s got a candidate for the lead in Calumet Farm’s Full Charge, who will be jumping up from a five-length maiden victory at 1 3/16 miles to graded-stakes company. Full Charge, who drew post 6 and is 12-1 in Bill Downes’ morning line, will be ridden by Adam Beschizza, who was aboard for the Will Take Charge colt’s past three starts: a third, then a second and then the big victory.

“With the short field, the draw is perfect,” Sisterson said. “I’ll look and see what sort of speed is in the race and how we approach it tactically. I’ll leave it up to Adam how he wants to ride him. But he seems like a horse that wants to be forwardly placed, and distance isn’t an issue for him. And he’s a 3-year-old that has improved with each start.”

Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Convention won a maiden and allowance race at Sam Houston earlier this year. He ran a competitive fifth, beaten 3 1/2 lengths, in the Oaklawn Stakes won by Fulsome, after which he was a well-beaten fifth in the Prairie Mile. Francisco Arrieta, who teamed with Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen to win two races at Ellis Park Thursday, has the mount. Convention drew post 4 and is 15-1.

“He’s a nice horse that I’ve never gotten the best out of, but has shown glimpses of it,” Asmussen said. “This is an excellent opportunity for him to step up.”

Starrininmydreams, the 6-1 third choice off finishing third in Keeneland’s Grade 3 Stonestreet Lexington, and Indiana Grand maiden winner W W Crazy (30-1) also were entered.

The 19th season of Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing is currently in progress through Monday, November 8. Racing is conducted Monday through Thursday with a first post of 2:25 p.m. Monday through Wednesday. Thursday racing begins at 3:25 p.m. Six select Saturdays are offered for all-Quarter Horse racing beginning at 10 a.m. Indiana Champions Day, featuring the top Thoroughbred and Quarter Horses in the state, is set for Saturday, Oct. 30 with a start time of 12 p.m. For more information on events and racing, go to www.indianagrand.com.

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