Cherry Wine selected as favorite in Indiana Derby

Cherry Wine and Jockey Luis Saez have been tagged as the morning line favorites at odds of 5-2 in the full field of 12 for the 22nd running of the Grade II $500,000-added Indiana Derby at Indiana Grand Saturday, July 16. They will begin their journey from post two for the ninth race on the program with an estimated post time of 9:41 p.m. EST.

Cherry Wine comes into Indiana off a start in both the Preakness and Belmont Stakes, finishing second to Exaggerator in the Preakness. Trained by Dale Romans, the three-year-old grey son of Paddy O’Prado has accumulated more than a half million dollars in earnings in 2016 and will once again face Cupid, who defeated him in the Grade II Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park in mid-March.

Cupid will attempt to give Triple Crown winning trainer Bob Baffert his fourth overall win in the Indiana Derby. Baffert connected with Misremembered in 2009 followed by Lookin at Lucky in 2010 and then again with Power Broker in 2013. Cupid has been selected as the second choice on the morning line at odds of 3-1 and will be guided for the first time in his young career by Jockey Rafael Bejarano. Cupid, who is also grey, is the son of Tapit and made his last start on the undercard of the Belmont Stakes Day card, finishing fifth in the $150,000 Easy Goer (Listed) Stakes.

The early morning line odds have placed both Star Hill with Corey Lanerie aboard and The Player with Shaun Bridgmohan as the co-third choice of the field at odds of 6-1. Star Hill, trained by George Arnold II, was third in his last start on the undercard of Belmont Stakes Day in the Grade II $500,000 Woody Stephens. He will start from post 12.

The Player will be attempting his first stakes start for Trainer William “Buff” Bradley from post five. Bradley will be vying for his second Indiana Derby title. He also saddled Brass Hat to victory in the 2004 Indiana Derby.

“I am thrilled with the quality of horses and the size of the field for the Indiana Derby,” said Jon Schuster, vice president and general manager of racing. “Most Grade I and Grade II races across the country don’t get a full gate, so I’m excited to see us get such a great response. I’m also excited that we have a good weather forecast right now. We will have a world class night of racing and party going on at Indiana Grand Saturday for the Indiana Derby.”

The full field for the Indiana Derby, in post position order with jockey and odds, includes: Discreet Lover (Jose Flores, 20-1); Cherry Wine (Luis Saez, 5-2); Pilot House (Richard Bracho, 10-1); Takeittotheedge (Miguel Mena, 15-1); The Player (Shaun Bridgmohan, 6-1); Cocked and Loaded (Willie Martinez, 30-1); Seeking Blame (Brian Hernandez Jr., 15-1); Whateverybodywants (Robby Albarado, 12-1); Torrontes (Albin Jimenez, 20-1); Call the Colonel (Santo Sanjur, 20-1); Cupid (Rafael Bejarano, 3-1); and Star Hill (Corey Lanerie, 6-1). If all 12 horses start in the Indiana Derby, it will mark the largest field in the history of the state’s richest horse race.

A total of six stakes races are included on the 2016 Indiana Derby racing program with purses in excess of $1 million. Also joining the Indiana Derby is the Grade II $200,000 Indiana Oaks, slated as Race 8 on the card with an estimated post time of 9:11 p.m. EST. Both races will be shown during the live two-hour broadcast of the Indiana Derby on WISH TV Channel 8 out of Indianapolis.