Grade II winner Misremembered makes his first start on a dirt surface for trainer Bob Baffert when he faces a full field of 3-year-olds in the $500,000 Indiana Derby (gr. II) at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino Oct. 3.
Bred by Baffert and running for his wife, Jill, and George Jacobs, the huge late-developing son of Candy Ride --Beyond Perfection (by Quack) won the Swaps Stakes (gr. II) at Hollywood Park in front-running fashion July 18. Misremembered returned in the Pacific Classic (gr. I), where he faced older horses for the first time at Del Mar Sept. 6. After pressing the pace, the chestnut faded in the stretch to finish 10th as another Baffert trainee, Richard's Kid , came from behind to register a huge upset.
Regular rider Victor Espinoza makes the trip east and will guide Misremembered from post eight with co-high weight of 124 pounds. Misremembered, who has only been running since April, has won three of six starts and $259,200. All but his initial start on turf have been on synthetic surfaces.
Following a fourth-place finish in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) in March, Giant Oak ran an encouraging second to Musket Man in the Illinois Derby (gr. II) three weeks later. An Illinois homebred owned by the Virginia H. Tarra Trust, the son of Giant's Causeway went on to find success on the Arlington Park turf, winning the Arlington Classic before being placed fourth in a roughly-run American Derby (gr. IIT) effort and finishing fifth in the Secretariat (gr. IT).
Trained by Chris Block, the talented chestnut colt has a 3-2-1 lifetime record in 11 starts and earnings of $332,200.
Giant Oak is one of several horses in the field that were cross-entered in the $150,000 Ohio Derby (gr. II) at Thistledown the same day. Others cross-entered include Petch,Karama, Hoopoe, Weslinn and Fundy.
Hoosier Park has a barn under quarantine. Strangles was suspected but no positive tests have come back. A horse in quarantine died of colitis, so one barn remains under restriction.
Jer-Mar Stables's Win Willy, trained by McLean Robertson, caused shock waves at Oaklawn Park when he posted a 56-1 upset by 2 1/4 lengths in a big come-from-behind effort in the Rebel Stakes (gr. II) March 14. He returned with a fourth-place finish, 3 1/4 lengths behind the victorious Papa Clem, in the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) April 11.
The gray/roan son of Monarchos was knocked off the Derby trail soon after by a minor ankle fracture, returning Sept. 17 with a third-place effort in a 6 1/2-furlong optional claiming allowance race on Arlington's Polytrack.
Also in the big field (15 were entered, with three on the also-eligible list) is Despite the Odds , who stretches out for trainer Michael Trombetta following a fourth-place showing in Saratoga's seven-furlong NetJets King's Bishop (gr. I). The gray/roan son of Speightstown won the one-mile Hill Prince (gr. III), which came off the turf at Belmont Park in June, and followed with a pair of runner-up finishes in stakes for 3-year-olds at Monmouth Park this summer.
Sumo, a son of Fusaichi Pegasus trained by H. Graham Motion for owner/breeder Arthur B. Hancock III, comes off his first stakes win, a five-length triumph in the Pleasant Colony at Saratoga Aug. 26. Sumo ran second in the Sam F. Davis (gr. III) at Tampa Bay Downs in February.
Karama, winner of the Prairie Meadows Derby Sept. 19, brings a three-race win streak for trainer Kellyn Gorder. The Macho Uno gelding's wins include an optional claiming victory in his only start at Hoosier Park in August.
Zayat Stables's Hoopoe makes his stakes debut for trainer Nick Zito. Following a solid maiden score on a "good" track at Saratoga as the odds-on choice Aug. 1, the Birdstone colt finished fourth in a first-level allowance five weeks later.$500,000 Indiana Derby (gr. II, Race 11, 5:15 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 1 1/16 Miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Giant Oak (IL), E Razo, Jr., 124, C M Block
2. Win Willy (KY), C Bell, 124, M Robertson
3. Sumo (KY), C H Borel, 121, H G Motion
4. Despite the Odds (KY), J Lezcano, 124, M J Trombetta
5. Karama (FL), V Lebron, 121, K Gorder
6. Weslinn (FL), R D Allen, Jr., 117, G S Bennett
7. Flat Bold (KY), C J Lanerie, 121, T Albertrani
8. Misremembered (KY), V Espinoza, 124, B Baffert
9. Fundy (KY), R B Homeister, Jr., 121, H Pitts
10. Hoopoe (KY), no rider, 121, N P Zito
11. Petch (KY), P Teator, 117, T Girten
12. Hoosier Kingdom (IN), no rider, 121, R D Herrell
13. Quebec City (ON), no rider, 115, M E Lauer
14. Zion (KY), R Migliore, 115, S M Asmussen
15. Devious Drew (IN), A Pusac, 115, K B DeBruhl
Equipment Changes: Despite the Odds, Hoopoe - Blinkers On