Springboard Mile caps racing season
BY RICHARD LINIHAN Horse Racing
Saturday, December 10, 2011
12/10/11 at 5:34 AM
IN THE LATE 1980s and early 1990s, Remington Park's signature race was the Remington Park Derby.
It is now the Oklahoma Derby that is run every fall. Back then it was run in the spring and management of the Oklahoma City racetrack did its best to attract any horses that had a chance of winding up in the Kentucky Derby.
That is something of a task of luck rather than merit as the Remington Park Derby was a mere $250,000 race compared to much bigger Kentucky Derby prep races at that time of year. On occasion, a horse or two would pan out from the Remington Park Derby, the Clever Trevors, Silver Goblins and Dazzling Falls types that went on to do well at more established tracks.
Now that the race is in the autumn of the year, it doesn't quite have the same feel, but the race that may become the cornerstone of the Remington Park meet yearly now is the $300,000 Springboard Mile that brings 2-year-olds to Oklahoma for a final race of the year.
"There are trainers and owners who want to test their 2-year-olds at this time of year around two turns to see if they have a Derby prospect," said Scott Wells, president and general manager of Remington Park. "We think this race can eventually attract the type of horses who may be on their way to winning a Kentucky Derby."
A great example of that is Saturday's running of the Springboard Mile. It attracted 12 horses, and four of them are listed with future Kentucky Derby odds in Las Vegas' winter books.
The four are Seeker, 175-1 in the Kentucky Derby odds released this week; and then Fire Alarm, Ted's Folly and No Spin are all listed at 200-1.
Hey, you have to start somewhere. There have been years when none were listed in the Kentucky Derby odds. And the chances are at this time of year, the more established 2-year-olds who ran in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile are put to bed until they turn 3 years old in January. So, to bring four to your facility that are being considered is a feather in Remington's cap.
Seeker is the 2-1 morning line favorite for the Springboard Mile, trained by the perennial top conditioner in the country, Steve Asmussen, who also is on the verge of winning his seventh training title - the Chuck Taliaferro Award - and his sixth in a row at Oklahoma City.
Asmussen has some questions about his coming crop of 3-year-olds because he is sending out three horses in this race. Pleasant Closing and Basalt are the other two.
Seeker is a son of Hard Spun, who finished second in the Kentucky Derby to Street Sense in 2007. He actually beat Curlin, in third that year, a horse who went on to be named Horse of the Year two years in a row.
Seeker broke his maiden at Saratoga in upstate New York by 6 1/2 lengths in the slop, his only win in four tries, but comes out of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint in which he ran fourth to Secret Circle, one of the top 2-year-olds in the country. Seeker will be ridden by Corey Nakatani.
Fire Alarm won at first asking at Presque Isle in Erie, Pa., before running fourth at Churchill Downs against winners. This son of 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus is trained by Bret Calhoun, one of the best in this part of the country. Oklahoma Racing Hall of Famer Cliff Berry gets the call on this horse at 15-1 odds.
Ted's Folly has won five races in a row, including two Oklahoma-bred stakes races the past two times out. All of his wins have come in sprints, and trainer Wilson Brown wants to see if he is just a closing sprinter or can stretch it out. Ted's Folly is by Wild Tale; he is this sire's first winner. Jockey Jose Medina keeps the mount at 5-1 odds.
No Spin drew the far outside 12-hole in this mile race, which can be tough, but has the credentials to win. Jockey Chris Rosier is in the irons, and although he was a mere apprentice two years ago, he already has had a Kentucky Derby mount with Summer Bird. They finished sixth to Mine that Bird two years ago. No Spin is trained by Tim Ice and is 4-1.
The race is scheduled for 10:14 p.m. CST and signals the end of the live racing season for the state of Oklahoma.
Original Print Headline: Springboard Mile caps racing season
Richard Linihan is marketing director for Fair Meadows in Tulsa