Grand Hombre Favored in Strong Indiana Derby Field

by James Platz

Grand Hombre has been installed as the 2-1 morning-line favorite for the $400,000 Indiana Derby (gr. III) Oct. 4 at Hoosier Park. Canadian Triple Crown winner Wando is second choice at 5-2 in a field of 11 scheduled to compete in the 1/16-mile feature at the Indiana racetrack.

The top three selections will start from the outside as undefeated Grand Hombre will start from post 11. He could become the first horse since 2001 winner Orientate to win from that position. Illinois invader Wiggins, third choice in the field at 5-1, will start for trainer Anthony Granitz from post 10. Wando will make his bid from post position nine.

Grand Hombre will attempt to make it five-for-five in 2003 and score his first win for Sheikh Mohammed's Darley Stable. His last victory came in the $750,000 Pennsylvania Derby (gr. III) for then-owner Earle Mack. Edgar Prado will be in the irons.

Wando, the leading money-earner in the field, will attempt to add to his victories in the Queens Plate, Prince of Wales, and Breeders Stakes earlier this year for owner Gustav Schickedanz. The Langfuhr colt will be ridden by Patrick Husbands.

Prairie Meadows Derby winner Wiggins will look to add his first graded stakes victory. With four wins in five outings this season, the Cartwright colt could become the first Illinois-bred to win Hoosier Park's signature event.

Excessivepleasure, fourth choice in the morning line at 8-1, will be ridden by three-time Hoosier Park leading rider Jon Court. Court, who captured last year's event aboard Perfect Drift. He won the Iowa Derby this year.

Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Funny Cide headed the list of nominees but the gelding was withdrawn from consideration. Entries for the race swelled from six to 11.

Post time for the first race is 6:10 p.m. Central. The Indiana Derby is carded as race nine. Here's the field, in post-position order with trainers, jockeys, and odds:

1. Comic Truth, Patrick Daly, Rafael Bejarano, 20-1
2. Excessivepleasure, Doug O'Neill, Jon Court, 8-1
3. Christine's Outlaw, George Weaver, Cornelio Velazquez, 20-1
4. Hackendiffy, Bernie Flint, Eddie Martin Jr., 20-1
5. Shawklit Man, Steve Asmussen, Corey Lanerie, 12-1
6. Ashmore, Steve Pino, Jeremy Rose, 10-1
7. Offlee Wild, Thomas Smith, Mark Guidry, 12-1
8. Roses In May, Dale Romans, Robby Albarado, 15-1
9. Wando, Mike Keogh, Patrick Husbands, 5-2
10. Wiggins, Anthony Granitz, Eddie Razo Jr., 5-1
11. Grand Hombre, Tom Albertani, Edgar Prado, 2-1