10/01/2009 11:00PM

Win Willy stretches out in Indiana Derby


When 15 horses were entered in Saturday's Grade 2, $500,000 Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park on Wednesday, it put to rest whether a barn under a strangles quarantine would limit the size of the field. Now on to more pressing questions. Can Win Willy return to his old form after an ankle stress fracture this spring? And, will Misrememberd run as well on dirt as he did earlier this summer on synthetic tracks in Southern California?

Win Willy beat Old Fashioned in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park on March 14 and then finished fourth in the Arkansas Derby. A stress fracture was found in his ankle following that race and he was given 60 days off. He is now doing great, according to his trainer Mac Robertson.

"We are happy with his progress," Robertson said.

Win Willy has had one out since the Arkansas Derby, a 6 1/2-furlong optional claiming race at Arlington Park on Sept. 17, and he closed strongly to be beaten a half-length. Robertson was pleased with what he saw.

"It was a very good effort," he said. "He is not much of a sprinter so we were happy he did well. It was the best sprint race he has run, according to the number, anyway."

Robertson expects bigger and better things in the 1 1/16-mile Indiana Derby.

"He won at the same distance, a mile and a sixteenth, in the Rebel," Robertson said. "After running his best sprint race I would expect him to run his best long. If he does that I think they will have their hands full."

Win Willy shipped to Hoosier on Thursday and was scheduled to gallop Friday, according to Robertson.

Misremembered, trained by Bob Baffert, has won 3 of 6 career starts, but has never started outside of Southern California.

He was second in the Grade 3 Affirmed on June 20 and then won the Grade 2 Swaps on July 18. Baffert ran Misremembered in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar in his last out Sept, 6, but he faded late to finish 10th after chasing the pace. This will be his first attempt on dirt. Regular rider Victor Espinoza will ride.

Despite the Odds will add blinkers for trainer Michael Trombetta in hopes of regaining the form he showed in June, when he won the Grade 3, off-the-turf Hill Prince at Belmont by 7 1/2 lengths.

Sumo won the Pleasant Colony at Saratoga in his last start, but has not won a graded stakes. He finished second to General Quarters in the Grade 3 Sam Davis at Tampa Bay Downs in February.

Karama has won 4 of 5 starts, but has never raced in graded company.

Two quarantined horses develop a fever

Two of the 56 horses quarantined in Barn 5 on the Hoosier Park backstretch came down with a fever on Wednesday and were moved to a secondary quarantine location.

Two horses in Barn 5 tested positive for strangles after displaying symptoms consistent with the disease on Sept. 11. All of the other horses in the barn have since tested negative for strangles, and have been tested a second time. The results of the second test are expected back on Oct. 6.

Strangles is caused by the bacterium streptococcus equi and affects a horse's lymph nodes in its upper respiratory tract. Strangles is not usually fatal to horse but can be in some cases.

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