There's a Kentucky Derby prep race this week and it's called the Springboard Mile! Oklahoma's Remington Park doesn't always get a lot of national attention when it comes to Thoroughbred racing, but the Springboard Mile is becoming a signature race for juveniles that have their eyes on the roses in May. The race awards 10-4-2-1 points to the horses placing first through fourth towards their standings in the Road to the Kentucky Derby.
This year there's a field of 10 probable horses looking at the Springboard Mile. Steven Asmussen has saddled several winners of the race and has two probables in Friday's race with SAFFA'S DAY and COWAN.
SAFFA'S Day only has two starts to date and both at Keeneland. He won his maiden his first time out by five and a quarter lengths, but finished sixth in the Nyquist Stakes after fading in the stretch.
COWAN is fresh off a second place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) as well as a second in the Indian Summer Stakes at Keeneland. He has two other stakes starts this year as well including a third in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint where he finished third and a fifth place finish in the Runhappy Juvenile Stakes. It's important to note that COWAN has experience running on both the turf and the dirt.
OUTADORE is another possible favorite for the race. Trained by Wesley Ward, the colt finished third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint behind COWAN. However, he took the win over Cowan in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint in September. All of his starts have been on the turf, leaving one to wonder how he will handle the dirt?
Brad Cox is always a trainer to keep your thumb on as well. For the Springboard Mile, he will be sending JOE FRAZIER to Oklahoma. So far the colt has two starts - a maiden and an allowance. He won his debut at Keeneland going six furlongs on the dirt and finishing three lengths ahead of the competition. At Churchill, he finished third, three and a quarter lengths behind the winner. To his credit it was one and sixteenth miles on a sloppy track.
Of course, you can't ignore a hometown horse either. NUMBER ONE DUDE, an Oklahoma-bred, is undefeated on his home track of Remington Park. He won his first time out finishing seven and a half lengths ahead of his maiden competition going five and a half lengths on the dirt. He then went to the Oklahoma Classics Juvenile Stakes and took the win by a length. And he won the Don C. McNeil Stakes going a mile on the dirt and winning by six.
While NUMBER ONE DUDE is the only Oklahoma-bred in the race, all other being Kentucky-bred, he's not the only one to run at Remington. The current longshot, VIM AND VIGOR, has one win at Remington. SENOR BUSCADOR is one for one, but the Springboard is only his second start after breaking his maiden November 6th. GUSHING OIL broke his maiden his first time out at Remington but finished seventh in the Clevor Trevor Stakes. RED N WILD has 5 starts with 2 wins, both at Remington. GAME DAY PLAY has one win at Remington. FLASH OF MISCHIEF finished third in his debut at Remington and first in a maiden at Delta Downs.
Several of these horses are young and inexperienced. You never know what you're going to get with two-year-olds, but it will be interesting to see who finds their way to the Kentucky Derby.