2024 Indiana Derby Contenders at Horseshoe Indianapolis

Horse Betting Online

Horseshoe Indianapolis Press Release
Updated: July 03, 2024

Kentucky Derby Starter Stronghold Eyes Indiana Derby

A starter in this year's Kentucky Derby, Stronghold will make his return to racing on 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.

** UPDATE ** July 3 - SCRATCHED: #6 Sir Greylind (Reason: Trainer)

2024 Indiana Derby Field & Odds

Race 12 at Horseshoe Indianapolis

Saturday, July 6 - Post 6:41 PM

Entry Horse ML Odds Jockey Trainer
1 Woodcourt 10-1 Emmanuel Esquivel
124 Lbs
Cipriano Contreras
2 Stronghold 2-1 Antonio Fresu
124 Lbs
Philip D'Amato
3 Real Men Violin 8-1 Brian Hernandez, Jr.
118 Lbs
Kenneth McPeek
4 Kitty Hawk 20-1 Fernando De La Cruz
118 Lbs
Victoria Oliver
5 Informed Patriot 15-1 Ricardo Santana, Jr.
124 Lbs
Steven Asmussen
6 Sir Greylind 6-1 Corey Lanerie
118 Lbs
Grant Forster
7 E J Won the Cup 5-2 Mike Smith
124 Lbs
Doug O'Neill
8 Dragoon Guard 7-2 Florent Geroux
124 Lbs
Brad Cox

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.

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E J Won the Cup Looks For Victory in Indiana Derby

Current Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Erik Johnson won the Stanley Cup in 2022 with the Colorado Avalanche. Now his namesake will try to win the biggest race of his career in the $300,000, Grade 3 Indiana Derby at Horseshoe Indianapolis on Saturday, July 6.

Owned by Superfecta King Stables, E J Won the Cup ships in from two-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Doug O'Neill's Santa Anita operation in California for Indiana's biggest horse race.

"E J is Erik Johnson," said O'Neill, who grew up as a hockey fan in Michigan. "We're friends and big fans of Erik Johnson. He's a great guy. Great hockey player and loves racing."

E J Won the Cup, who captured Lone Star Park's $300,000 Texas Derby in his last start, follows the O'Neill-trained 2016 Kentucky Derby hero Nyquist, who was named for then-Detroit Red Wings player Gustav Nyquist.

"We've got the hockey thing going on," O'Neill said while at Churchill Downs over the weekend.

Now he's hoping E J Won the Cup can complete a hat trick of regional Derby wins.

E J Won the Cup started his career 0 for 6, with three seconds, a third and a fourth all while sprinting. The Kentucky-bred son of Omaha Beach thrived once he started racing around two turns, winning a restricted maiden race around Santa Anita's two-turn mile. He followed up with a front-running score in Arizona's Turf Paradise Derby and a third in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) won by likely Indiana Derby favorite Stronghold. In his last start start, E J Won the Cup came from off the pace to take the Texas Derby at the Indiana Derby's 1 1/16-mile distance.

"Cool horse, coming off winning the Turf Paradise Derby and the Texas Derby," O'Neill said. "It's a great group of guys in Superfecta King Stables. He worked a good five-eighths at Santa Anita (1:00 4/5 Saturday). We're excited. He's by Omaha Beach and it seems like he's just getting better and better.

"The Indiana Derby is a great pot, a great race and it landed perfectly for us after getting lucky in the Texas Derby. So as we looked at potential spots, we circled that. (Stronghold) is a little scary. We know he's a nice horse - not a horse that we're looking to chase from Southern California to run against. But it is what it is, and we'll see what happens."

O'Neill, who has a division of horses stabled in Calumet Farm's barn right by Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, is no stranger to Horseshoe Indianapolis.