09/30/2009 12:00AM

Indiana Derby attracts an encouraging 15


Hoosier Park's racing event of the year had a cloud of uncertainty hanging over it until Wednesday, when entries were drawn for the Grade 2, $500,000 Indiana Derby.

The sun came shining out when 15 horses were entered in the 1 1/16-mile race, the premier event of Hoosier Park season.

Two horses at Hoosier tested positive for strangles - a contagious infection affecting the respiratory system - in the second week of September. As a result, the track's Barn 5 has been quarantined. Even though all of the other 57 horses in the barn tested negative for the disease, Kentucky will not accept entries on any horse who has raced at Hoosier Park within 14 days. It was assumed that Hoosier would have trouble luring horses in for its big day, but that was not the case, although no horse who had raced in Kentucky in his last two starts hit the entry box.

Misremembered, for one, has raced exclusively in Southern California for trainer Bob Baffert.

Misremembered has won 3 of 6 starts for his connections, and all six of his outings have been this year. A speedy 3-year-old son of Candy Ride, he ran second in the Grade 3 Affirmed Handicap at Hollywood Park on June 20 and then won the Grade 2 Swaps on July 18. After a two-month layoff, Misremembered set the early pace in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar on Sept. 6 before fading badly against his elders. He has had a series of bullet works since that performance. The big question is how he will run on dirt, as he has yet to try that surface.

Hoosier Park will have three other stakes on the Saturday card. Both the filly and colt divisions of the Breeder's Sophomore have a purse of $70,000, and the Michael G. Schaefer Mile is worth $100,000.

* In reaction to the strangles situation, Hoosier Park has taken bio-security measures such as disinfecting the paddock, saddling area, and starting gate after each race. Assistant starters are wearing disposable gloves and changing them after every race, and outriders are cleaning their tack and horses where they touched another horse after every race.