• Stronghold headlines 30th running of the Grade 3 Indiana Derby at Horseshoe Indianapolis

    SHELBYVILLE, Ind. (Monday, July 1, 2024) — Stronghold, starter in this year’s Kentucky Derby, will make his return to racing Saturday, July 6 in the Grade 3 $300,000 Indiana Derby at Horseshoe Indianapolis. Ridden by Antonio Fresu, Stronghold will begin from post two in the eight-horse lineup, which headlines a total of eight premier races for Indiana’s biggest day of horse racing.


    A Grade 1 winner of the Santa Anita Derby, Stronghold has not started since the Kentucky Derby in early May. The son of Ghostzapper is two for three this season and has only finished worse than second once in his career which was his seventh place finish in the Kentucky Derby. Overall, the Philip D’Amato trained colt has three career wins and more than $682,000 in earnings. He has been tagged at morning line odds of 7-2.


    Joining Stronghold as a major contender for the Indiana Derby title is EJ Won the Cup, who comes to Indiana off a win in the $300,000 Texas Derby at Lone Star. The Omaha Beach colt, owned and trained by Doug O’Neill, has won three of his last four races and finished third to Stronghold in the Santa Anita Derby. Hall of Fame Jockey Mike Smith, who has more than 5,700 career wins, is headed to Horseshoe Indianapolis to ride at odds of 5-1 from post seven.


    The early morning line favorite in the race is Dragoon Guard, who looks to give Brad Cox his third Indiana Derby winner since 2020. The grey son of Arrogate steps up into stakes action for the first time in his career off two impressive wins in Kentucky, making him undefeated in 2024. Florent Geroux, who was aboard Cox’s 2020 winner Shared Sense, will ride from post eight at odds of 8-5. Cox is the defending Indiana Derby winning trainer, saddling Verifying to victory last season.


    The entire field, in post position order with jockey and odds, includes: Woodcourt (Emmanuel Esquivel, 12-1); Stronghold (Antonio Fresu, 7-2); Real Men Violin (Brian Hernandez Jr., 10-1); Kitty Hawk (Fernando De La Cruz, 20-1); Informed Patriot (Ricardo Santana Jr., 6-1); Sir Greylind (Corey Lanerie, 8-1); EJ Won the Cup (Mike Smith, 5-1); and Dragoon Guard (Florent Geroux, 8-5). Post time for the Indiana Derby, which is the final race slated as the 12th, is 6:41 p.m.


    Joining the Indiana Derby is the Grade 3 $200,000 Indiana Oaks, set as Race 11 with an estimated post time of 6:04 p.m. Impel from the Brad Cox barn, is the early morning line favorite at odds of 7-5 from post seven. Unraced at two, Impel comes into the race off a second place finish in the Grade 2 Eight Belles Stakes at Churchill Downs. She has not been off the board in four career starts and will be ridden by Florent Geroux. Cox has had two Indiana Oaks wins in the past four years, scoring with Interstatedaydream in 2022 and Shedaresthedevil in 2020, who went on to win the Kentucky Oaks during the Covid-19 delayed event at Churchill Downs.


    The entire field, in post position order with jockey and odds for the Indiana Oaks includes: Charlene’s Dream (Evin Roman, 15-1); Chatalas (Antonio Fresu, 8-1); Just Be Quiet (Fernando De La Cruz, 20-1); Neon Icon (Edgar Morales, 7-2); Dancing Princess (Hannah Leahey, 30-1); Band of Gold (Brian Hernandez Jr., 3-1); Impel (Florent Geroux, 7-5); and Little Jamie (Tyler Gaffalione, 12-1). 


    Indiana Derby Day racing gets underway at 12 p.m. featuring numerous activities trackside. A total of eight premier races will be featured with purses in excess of $1.1 million. The day presents free activities for all ages including facepainting and Magic Mirror Selfie Station for young racing fans and free cigars from the cigar rolling station for those 21 and older. Also, racing fans can register to win a $3,000 Indiana Derby Megabet and can compete in the $1,500 Indiana Derby Hat Contest, sponsored by the Indiana Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association along with a $2,500 Derby Day Legends handicapping contest sponsored by the Indiana Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. General admission and parking are free at Horseshoe Indianapolis.


    The 22nd season of live Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing extends through Thursday, Nov. 14. Racing is held Monday through Thursday at 2:10 p.m. Indiana’s featured event, the Grade 3 $300,000 Indiana Derby is Saturday, July 6 with a first post time of 12 p.m. For more information on live racing at Horseshoe Indianapolis, visit www.caesars.com/horseshoe-indianapolis/racing or find the track on Social Media @HSIndyRacing.