(Cagliostro / Photo Courtesy of Horseshoe Indianapolis)

From the Horseshoe Indianapolis Media Team / Jennie Rees:

The 3-year-old colt Cagliostro, who runs in Saturday’s Grade 3, $300,000 Indiana Derby at Horseshoe Indianapolis, is named for Count Alessandro di Cagliostro, the 18th Century Italian adventurer, magician and occultist who enthralled Parisian high society until the French Revolution ended the party.


Trainer Cherie DeVaux is hoping that in a span of about 105 seconds Saturday about 6:40 p.m. ET that Cagliostro will be transformed from maiden winner into a graded-stakes winner who can compete against the top echelon of 3-year-olds the rest of the year. No magic or mysticism required — though Cagliostro might have to run the best race of his life to defeat 8-5 favorite Verifying in the 1 1/16-mile stakes. 


“He’s going to be tough to beat,” DeVaux said. “But Cagliostro has been training really well, and I’m looking forward to see how he runs here.”


With the exception of an eight-place finish in the 1 3/16-mile TwinSpires.com Louisiana Derby, Cagliostro has improved every race. At 8-1 in the morning line, he could be the value play in the anticipated field of eight 3-year-olds, with No. 9 Georgie W expected to scratch. Edgar Morales will be aboard Cagliostro for the first time.


“We gave him a chance to run in the Louisiana Derby,” DeVaux said. “At the top of the stretch, he’d made a run and it looked like he might be right there. We gave him one shot to try to make it into the Kentucky Derby, but I think it was a little far. He’s a big horse, and after the Louisiana Derby he did a bit of growing and we gave him some time.”


DeVaux brought Cagliostro back in a one-turn mile allowance race June 3 at Churchill Downs, closing well to lose by only a head to the promising Scotland. 


“He just seems more effective at the two turns, but maybe not two turns at the longer distances,” she said. “ The mile and a sixteenth seems perfect.”


DeVaux, in her sixth year as a trainer after being an assistant to Chad Brown, kick-started her career by developing young fillies to where they accrued residual value as broodmares.


“Last year was the first year where my clients and I thought it was a good time to dip our toes into the colts, to try to spend a significant amount of money on colts,” she said.


Those clients include a partnership spearheaded by her husband, prominent bloodstock agent David Ingordo. They set a budget and purchased a pair of colts, including Cagliostro for $385,000 at the April 2-year-old in training sale in Ocala, Fla. The Upstart colt races in the names of Ingordo, Talla Racing, James D. Spry, West Point Thoroughbreds and Nice Guys Stables


“When we saw Cagliostro, he’s a really good-looking individual,” DeVaux said. “He had a nice breeze – not a ‘wow’ 9.4 (seconds for an eighth-mile) – with a good gallop-out. He was the first one we purchased. He’s a Florida-bred, and that might have been one reason he didn’t go for an exorbitant amount of money. But he was a nice, athletic individual.”


Cagliostro finished sixth while sprinting in his racing debut at Saratoga last summer. “He trained well, but you could tell that mentally it was going to take him a while to put it together,” DeVaux said. “… He banged a shin before a race at Keeneland, so we had to scratch him and regroup from there.”


Off almost five months, Cagiostro rallied to easily win a maiden race at the Fair Grounds at 1 1/16 miles in his second start. He backed that up with a second by a neck in an allowance race at the same distance to earn a shot at the Louisiana Derby.


“The one thing about him is he’s been quite immature,” DeVaux said. “That’s something we’ve had to keep a close eye on. He can get quite cheeky here and there about things. He’s maturing both physically and mentally, and it’s reflected on his race record.”


A victory Saturday would be big not only for Cagliostro but for his trainer. Cagliostro would be DeVaux’s second graded-stakes winner, following Gam’s Mission, a Grade 3 winner in 2021 and 2022.


“When you can win a graded stakes with a colt it really picks up everyone’s head,” she said. “My crew is young. You have to prove yourself; nothing is given to any of us. A lot of my success so far has been with fillies. It’s a big deal, those (3-year-old) races…. To get a win like that, it would be special just to have. But as far as developing your career, people take notice.”


DeVaux has topped her prior year’s numbers each season she’s been a trainer, even during COVID. With 28 victories and $1.85 million in purse earnings so far in 2023, she’s well on her way to surpassing last year’s 35 victories and $2.69 million in purses.


“There have been challenges, but the one aspect I’m most proud of is that our stable has a really good core group of employees and team members that have grown with us,” said DeVaux, who trains about 80 horses in Kentucky and New York. “It’s been really exciting, and I’m proud with how things have gone. We really try to keep in mind that we have to work hard every day. And no matter how big we are, we have to treat each horse as an individual and work together.


“We’re going into our sixth year. If you would have asked me even three years ago if we’d be here today, I might not have been so positive. But we keep chugging along.”


Love and Money and Bout Time in Friday’s Clarksville.


DeVaux also has the duo of Love and Money and Bout Time in Friday’s $100,000 Clarksville Stakes for fillies and mares at five-eighths of a mile on turf.


“They have two different types of running styles,” she said. “Love and Money is speed; and we’ve trained to change that to no available. The Jacksons (Roy and Gretchen Jackson, who race as Lael Stables), have been great in being patient with her. We tried to stretch her out when we first purchased her. She almost blew the turn because all she wants to do is go as fast as she can as far as she can. The five furlongs for her seems to be a good distance. She tries every time; she’s a beautiful filly. She’s won a couple of races for us, and it’s time to get her back into stakes company.


“Bout Time is already a stakes-winner at Monmouth, then she came off form. So we freshened her and she’s come back well. She had a nice race back at Churchill (third in an allowance race) so hopefully she keeps moving forward.”


The 5-2 favorite in the field of 12 is Oeuvre, who has won 11 of her 19 starts while winning stakes on both turf and dirt.


Also Friday is the $100,000 William Garrett for males at five furlongs on turf. The 8-5 favorite in the field of 10 is Churchill Downs’ Grade 2 Twin Spires Turf Sprint winner Nobals, trained by Larry Rivelli, who also has 4-for-5 Act a Fool in the Indiana Derby.


Indiana Derby Day, the state’s biggest day of horse racing, will be complemented by numerous activities, including a Virtual Reality Jockey Station, cigar rolling station to the first 500, $600 Indiana Derby Hat Contest, $2,500 Indiana Derby Legends Handicapping Contest, and a drawing for one $3,000 Megabet across the board on the Indiana Derby. A total of eight premier races are on the program featuring purses in excess of $1.1 million.


Doors open at 10:30 a.m. with ample seating both indoors and outside on a first come first serve basis. Free parking and free general admission offered to guests of all ages on the racing side. Reservations are still available in the Clubhouse by contacting Beth Litteral at (317) 421-8801. For more information, visit the website at www.caesars.com/horseshoe-indianapolis/racing-promotions or follow the track on Twitter @HSIndyRacing.


The 21st season of live Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing extends through Friday, Nov. 17. Live racing is held Tuesday through Thursday with Saturday racing added in during the summer months. First post Tuesday and Wednesday is 2:30 p.m. Thursday racing begins at 2:10 p.m. The Summer Saturday Racing Series includes five all-Quarter Horse dates July 1, July 22, Aug. 12, Sept. 2, and Oct. 7 beginning at 10:45 a.m. Indiana’s featured event, the Grade 3 $300,000 Indiana Derby is set for 12 p.m. Saturday, July 8. For more information on live racing at Horseshoe Indianapolis, visit www.caesars.com/horseshoe-indianapolis.