2024 Caesars Stakes Horseshoe Indianapolis - Analysis, picks and predictions

Pick Pony |May 14, 2024, 9 p.m.

About the Caesars Stakes and Horseshoe Indianapolis

About the Caesars Stakes at Horseshoe Indianapolis

The Caesars Stakes is a one-mile race held on a turf surface at the Horseshoe Indianapolis track. It is restricted to three-year-olds.

New All Turf Pick 3 wager

Don’t forget, the new All Turf Pick 3 wager will be introduced on Wednesday, May 15. It will include the 19th running of the Caesars, a Black Type event with a purse of $150,000, as well as the 16th running of the Horseshoe Indianapolis. The All Turf Pick 3, known as the Horseshoe Hat Trick, will start on Race 4 and will combine with Race 7, the Horseshoe Indianapolis for three-year-old fillies, and Race 8, the Caesars for three-year-old colts.

Horseshoe Indianapolis track bias

There is a theory among handicappers that speed horses tend to perform better at Indiana Grand. In 2019, 47 percent of winners in 5/5.5-furlong sprints on the main track showed early speed, which reduced to 33 percent in races held over six furlongs. However, there are still a significant number of horses that get an early run and show good pace from the gate.

Sprints on the turf also produced a similar outcome, with 34 percent of winners over the 5/5.5 furlongs going wire-to-wire at the track. Indiana Grand is a decent venue for sprinters, and handicappers have regularly enjoyed taking advantage of this angle.

It is notably much harder to maintain pace on the turf over the maximum distance. Horses that run over one mile-plus on the grass very rarely go wire-to-wire, with few of the early pace setters lasting the distance.

2024 Caesars Stakes entries, picks, and predictions

Camaro Z

What do we do about Camaro Z? His average speed makes him one of the slower horses in the group, but look at that burst in the past four races! He certainly seems to like soft surfaces.

Greg Foley added rest and relaxation to Camara Z’s training regime which worked wonders. Will the two-month layoff help even more? We think it will - but won’t be quite enough to earn a place on the tote board. Camaro Z will likely finish out of the money, but not by much.

First World War

One of the top contenders in The Caesars is First World War, ridden from post two by Tyler Gaffalione for Brendan Walsh. He’s one of the fastest horses in this race run, but his speed and pace have declined lately. They’ve tried resting him more and will give Lasix a try in this race, too, but still, that speed keeps trending down.

The three-year-old son of War Front won the Grade 3 Kitten’s Joy at Gulfstream Park two races ago, then cratered at Keeneland’s Transylvania (G3) a few weeks ago. The heartbreaking 9th-place finish was not as bad as it looks on paper. He was only beaten by three lengths in a comically tight pack at the finish, and some questionable tactics by Tyler Gaffalione lead us to believe we’ll see a better performance from him in this race. Also, he’ll get a further boost from his first time on Lasix.

But then there’s the question of - why Horseshoe Indianapolis? This horse races at Keeneland, Churchill Downs, and Gulfstream Park against much better competition. Is Brendan Walsh looking for an easy win, or does he know something we do not?

All of this may drive his odds higher than they should be, so watch for the overlay. Of course, all of this depends on whether Gaffalione pulls up on the reigns again and forgets to press the accelerator. Jeez.

While we place First World War in the money, we must admit, he does make us a tad nervous. The uncertainty surrounding his recent performance and the potential for a comeback adds an element of intrigue. Watch closely.

Molly's Town

Molly’s Town has succeeded in stakes races against fellow Indiana-breds but has struggled in open company races. However, there’s reason to believe that the $150,000 Caesars Handicap on Wednesday at Horseshoe Indianapolis could be a breakthrough for him.

Molly’s Town speed is trending up, although AI predicts a slight downward shift in this race from his last performance. His early pace numbers are improving, as is his late pace—slightly. He has the second-to-highest E1 pace, highest E2 pace, and lowest late pace rating in this group.

There’s no doubt Molly’s Town will lead the pace, but can he maintain it for a route distance? We think he can. Given this race’s lack of early speed, we don’t see him being pushed too hard. This will be a wire-to-wire win for him.

Debt Paid

Debt Paid is arguably the slowest horse in this race, but put aside his last race, and we see his speed improving quite well. But what about that 8th-place finish in his last race? It was a training run. Michelle Lovell has been working Debt Paid for stamina, not speed. He was not primed for a sprint and was outclassed. He clocked his fastest speed in his only route race and on turf no less. 

Expect more from Debt Paid than the odds say. If a good overlay presents itself, drop some coin on him just in case, but don’t go overboard. In all likelihood, he will barely miss finishing in the money, but hey, it’s never too late to prove us wrong.

Coin Miner

Coin Miner’s works have been so-so, but everything else is just meh. He has shown sparks of life but is inconsistent. His speed is good, but even with the second-best speed on Tuff, not quite good enough for his bunch. He’ll finish very close to in the money, but hey, you know what they say about horseshoes and hand grenades…

Oscar's World

Oscar’s World is middle-of-the-pack in most regards, and his last performance destroyed our confidence in him. He’ll press fairly well, which means he’ll run in the middle of the pack and finish in the middle of the pack.

Twirling Point

Twirling Point is one of the slower horses in this race but is showing improvement, which is no surprise given his trainer, Jonathan Thomas. Florent Geroux in the irons is a plus. There’s a good chance he will finish in the money, but there are others in this race we think have even better chances.

Depiction

Depiction may be the slowest horse in this race. Oh, hell, let’s say it. Depiction runs at a snail’s pace—lots of experience on Turf and route distances but a negative ROI in most instances. First-time Laxis is great but can’t work miracles. Toss.

Aspenite

If anyone can put some pressure on Molly’s Town out of the gate, it will be Aspenite. He has the fastest speed on Turf but the worst speed at this distance. Oh, my. His speed shows an upward trend but has dropped in the past few races. All of his pace numbers demonstrate an upward trend.

He’s raced once on turf at route distances and won wire-to-wire, yet his performance on dirt hints at the potential to tire out down the stretch. His last two sprints confirm, which may be why the blinkers are coming back off and the Lasix is going back in. 

Still, there’s insufficient evidence to convince us he can overcome Molly’s Town for the win. Aspenite will finish in the money, likely in the Place position.