10/03/2012 3:22PM

Hoosier Park: Fed Biz tops deep Indiana Derby lineup

Benoit & Associates
Fed Biz is shipping to Hoosier Park for Saturday's Grade 2 Indiana Derby.

Really good horses have run in the Indiana Derby before. Lookin At Lucky won the race in 2010. Brass Hat captured the 2004 edition. And way back in 2002, Perfect Drift took top honors. But it’s highly unlikely that as many good horses have run in the same Indiana Derby as will contest the 19th edition of the race Saturday afternoon at Hoosier Park.

The field of 12 entered Wednesday for the Grade 2, $500,000 Indiana Derby includes many of the most talented members of the 3-year-old class still in steady training. Fed Biz, whose talent has long been lauded by trainer Bob Baffert, drew well in post 4 and makes his graded stakes debut under Rafael Bejarano, but he faces formidable challengers.

Bourbon Courage (post 8) won the Grade 2 Super Derby by five lengths Sept. 8 in his most recent start and second try around two turns. Leading Hoosier rider Leandro Goncalves, aboard for the Super Derby win, has a return call. Neck ’n Neck fared poorly at Wednesday’s draw, landing post 11, but won the Matt Winn and finished second in the Jim Dandy earlier this summer. Stealcase (post 9) was third in the Grade 1 Haskell before finishing seventh in the Travers, but he rebounded from that performance to win the Sept. 16 Ontatrio Derby. Easter Gift, who drew the rail, exits a career-best performance winning the Grade 2 Smarty Jones on Sept. 3 at Parx Racing, while O’Prado Again (post 5) won the Grade 2 Remsen over the likes of El Padrino when last seen at the races in November.

[INDIANA DERBY: Get PPs, watch Saturday’s card live]

The improving Tritap (post 6) was second in an older-horse Saratoga allowance race Sept. 2 and is trained by Steve Asmussen, who won the 2011 Indiana Derby with Wilburn. Second City was a visually impressive winner of the British Colombia Derby on Sept. 9. He breaks from post 10 with Kentucky Derby-winning rider Mario Gutierrez named. Morgan’s Guerrilla, Junebugred, Afford, and Adirondack King complete the field.

In Edens Moon, Baffert also has a key player for the Grade 2, $200,000 Indiana Oaks, but Grace Hall could be favored here. Grace Hall clunked home a distant fifth in the Alabama Stakes on Aug. 18, but had previously won multiple graded stakes and finished third in the Kentucky Oaks, a race in which Edens Moon was 14th. Wine Princess, a daughter of champion Azeri who comfortably won the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks in her most recent appearance, also merits respect.