There will be no Fulsome-O Besos rematch at Wednesday’s Indiana Derby. So playing the part of Fulsome’s erstwhile rival in the Grade 3 event is one Mr. Wireless.
Your 4/5 morning-line favorite, Fulsome, heads the seven-horse field in what is Indiana’s richest horse race. The $300,000 Indiana Derby at Indiana Grand plays the marquee event on a 12-race card offering more than $1 million in purses.
The 27th edition of the race cuts back to 1 1/16 miles. It ran at 1 1/8 miles as a stop on the Kentucky Derby trail last year. And, because the race is in Indiana, Lasix is allowed. As a result, all seven entrants will be on the anti-bleeding diuretic. That’s a change from most racing jurisdictions, which either have banned the drug for stakes races or are in the process of doing so.
So with that, what can we expect?
Fulsome comes into Indiana on a mission
We can expect a lot from Fulsome, for one thing. He brings a three-race winning streak into his odds-on favorite status. After an April allowance win at Keeneland, the Brad Cox-conditioned colt went to Arkansas and captured the Listed Oaklawn Stakes. From there, Fulsome ventured to Churchill Downs and won the Grade 3 Matt Winn Stakes with a career-best 100 Equibase Speed Figure.
Three consecutive wins. Three different tracks. Four wins on four different tracks when you factor in Fulsome’s January allowance victory at Fair Grounds. The Into Mischief colt’s only 2021 hiccup came with a late February fourth in the Black-Type Black Gold Stakes at Fair Grounds.
Florent Geroux has the reins, seeking his second consecutive Indiana Derby title. He piloted Shared Sense to last year’s winner’s circle.
Indiana Derby could be Mr. Wireless’ calling card
Waiting for Fulsome is Mr. Wireless (5/2). The Bret Calhoun trainee opened his career as a sprinter, finishing fifth of seven in a six-furlong, Fair Grounds maiden special weight. That prompted Calhoun to change tactics and dial Mr. Wireless into a long-distance runner.
This produced victories in an Oaklawn Park maiden special weight and allowance. The maiden-breaker came with a 16-point bump in his Equibase Speed Figure (78 to 94). Those two victories preceded a runner-up finish in the Texas Derby, where 14/1 Mr. Wireless lost to Warrant by less than a length.
“He loved the two turns,” Calhoun told turf publicist Jennie Rees. “Really impressive races. He’s a very, very gutsy horse. He’s got a lot of try to him. He ran very well in the Texas Derby, a sloppy mess there. He got away just a hair tardy and that put him in bad position going into the first turn … I think if a couple of things here and there had gone a little different that he might have won. He was good enough to win that race. We’re hopeful he can step up a little bit and fit in these graded stakes.”
Grade 3 Indiana Derby/Indiana Grand
Morning Line (Jockey/Trainer)
- Fulsome, 4/5 (Florent Geroux/Brad Cox)
- W W Crazy, 30/1 (Victor Santiago/Scott Becker)
- Starrinmydreams, 6/1 (Luis Saez/Dallas Stewart)
- Convention, 15/1 (Francisco Arrieta/Steve Asmussen)
- Sermononthemount, 10/1 (James Graham/Tom Amoss)
- Full Charge, 12/1 (Adam Beschizza/Jack Sisterson)
- Mr. Wireless, 5/2 (Ramon Vazquez/Bret Calhoun)
The gelded son of 2011 Florida Derby winner Dialed In could give Calhoun his second Indiana Derby victory in three years. Calhoun captured the 2019 edition with Mr. Money, who came into his Indiana Derby already packing two graded stakes victories at Churchill Downs.
“Obviously, Mr. Money was a much more proven horse going into the Indiana Derby,” Calhoun said. “I trained this horse’s half-sister, and that family develops a little later. They’re a little slow-maturing physically. I think you’ll see more and more from this horse in the future. He’s going to get better and better.”
The pick: Fulsome. No value here from a win standpoint, but in a race where Mr. Wireless and Starrinmydreams comprise your front-end speed, Fulsome has the ability to stalk, and the tactical speed to pounce. If you’re going deep in the exotics, take a chance on Full Charge, who seems to be peaking coming into his first graded stakes race.