OKLAHOMA DERBY FIELD CAPSULES
Grade 3, $400,000 Oklahoma Derby, 1-1/8 miles
Sunday, September 25, 2020
Race 11 – 8:14 p.m.
1 – Steal Sunshine, 6-1
Owner: Carrie Brogden (Paris, Ky.)
Trainer: Bobby Dibona
Jockey: Leonel Reyes
Colt by Constitution, out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Warm Sunshine. Carries a three-race win streak into the Oklahoma Derby. Won a starter-optional claiming $50,000 race at Gulfstream Park to get the skein going on May 26 and then followed that up with a nice stakes win in the $75,000 Carry Back, also in Hallandale, Fla., on July 9. He just keeps stepping up in class and delivering with his most recent victory coming in the $200,000 Ellis Park Derby in Kentucky, winning that by 3-1/4 lengths on Aug. 14. Reyes is among Top 50 in jockeys’ standings nationwide at No. 44 with his horses earning more than $4 million this year. He has been aboard Steal Sunshine since he broke his maiden by more than 10 lengths last December at Gulfstream. This colt was bred in Kentucky by Machmer Hall. Record: nine starts, four wins, one second and one third for $233,910 in earnings.
2 – Red Knobs, 12-1
Owner: Robert K. Nokes
Trainer: Robertino Diodoro
Jockey: Jorge Carreno
One of two colts in OK Derby trained by Diodoro. This son of Union Rags, from the Lonhro (AUS) mare Hokey Okey, like his stablemate Great Escape, has had some success in Canada. He won the $101,000 Manitoba Derby at Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg, beating the other entrant here, Great Escape, and then came back and ran second to him in the Canadian Derby the next out. The Manitoba Derby was at 1-1/8th miles, like the Oklahoma Derby, and the Canadian Derby was run at 1-1/4 miles. Red Knobs was the 6-5 favorite in the Canadian Derby. As a 2-year-old last year, he ran third in the Grade 3, $300,000 Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs and was also third in the $200,000 Street Sense Stakes in Louisville, Ky. He was bred in Kentucky by Caldara Farm & Flaxman Holdings Limited. Record: 12-2-3-3, $198,029 in earnings.
3 – Flash of Genius, 15-1
Owner: George A. Sharp (Delray Beach, Fla.)
Trainer: Shawn Davis
Jockey: Leandro Goncalves
This gelding by Flashback, out of the In Excess (IRE) mare Van Dien Avenue, takes a big class leap and switches to the dirt after placings on the turf at Remington Park and Santa Anita Park in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains in California. Flash of Genius showed an excellent turn of foot in only his second start around two turns last time out on the grass at Remington Park. He closed from 12 lengths back in that first-level allowance race greensward to lose by only 1-3/4 lengths. That was a strong race after being laid off from June 17 to Sept. 9. He had run second in a $60,000 claiming race at Santa Anita in June, sprinting 6-1/2 furlongs on the lawn. He switches to Goncalves for the first time. Was bred in Kentucky by Nick Cosato. Record: 6-1-1-1, $50,673 earnings.
4 – Best Actor, 9-5 (morning-line favorite)
Owner: Gary and Mary West (Omaha, Neb.)
Trainer: Brad Cox
Jockey: Florent Geroux
This 3-year-old is conditioned by the country’s No. 4 trainer in horses’ earnings this year, Cox. This son of Flatter, out of the Smart Strike mare Abraqat, will be trying to give Cox his fourth win in a row in the Oklahoma Derby. He has won the last three with Owendale in 2019, Shared Sense in 2020 and Warrant in 2021. His horses have earned in excess of $17 million this year, just behind Chad Brown at $24-million-plus, Steve Asmussen at $22-million-plus and Todd Pletcher at $21-million-plus. Most recently, the winner of the Grade 3, $300,000 Smarty Jones Stakes at Parx in Philadelphia. Best Actor has only had four career starts, all as a 3-year-old, winning three of the four. The lone defeat was a second-place effort in the Grade 3 Indiana Derby at Horseshoe Indianapolis, where he was beaten only a half-length by Actuator. Geroux will keep the mount he has had with Best Actor in his last two attempts. Geroux rode Owendale to victory in the Oklahoma Derby to begin the string of triumphs in Oklahoma City for Cox.
Record: 4-3-1-0, $382,120.
5 – Rattle N Roll, 5-2
Owner: Lucky Seven Stables (Louisville, Ky.)
Trainer: Ken McPeek
Jockey: Brian Hernandez, Jr.
This 3-year-old colt by Connect, out of the Johannesburg mare Jazz Tune, is coming off a win in the $250,000 St. Louis Derby at the old Fairmount Park Race Track, now FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing. He won that race by 4-1/2 lengths. Earlier in the year, Rattle N Roll ran third to Cyberknife in the Grade 3, $225,000 Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs. Cyberknife, the Arkansas Derby winner, went on to be victorious in the Grade 1, $1 million Haskell Stakes and runner-up in the Travers. Was bred in Kentucky by St. Simon Place. Record: 12-4-1-2, earnings $758,105.
6 – Big Chopper, 15-1
Owner: Kendel Standlee (Ocala, Fla.)
Trainer: Jayde Gelner
Jockey: Lane Luzzi
This 3-year-old colt by Shackleford, out of the Unusual Heat mare Miss Well Molded, is coming off a near-win in open allowance company at Remington Park. He got beat only a head in that mile race on the main track. He was a stakes winner in Louisiana, taking the $75,000 Louisiana Legends Cheval for Louisiana-breds. He won that one-mile race on the dirt by a half-length. That was his only victory in stakes company. He is a homebred by the owner. Record: 10-3-4-1, earnings $145,833.
7 – King Ottoman, 5-1
Owner: Three Chimneys Farm (Goncalo Torrealba, Midway, Ky.)
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Stewart Elliott
Horse racing’s all-time winningest trainer sends this one out, looking for his second stakes win. The colt is sired by Curlin, who was the all-time winningest horse by money earned when he retired at $10.5 million and was two-time Horse of the Year in 2007-08. This colt, out of the Tapit mare Shook Up, hasn’t quite shown the ability of Curlin yet and certainly didn’t like the sloppy track surface in the West Virginia Derby, but if he runs back to his form the last time he was on a fast track, he could be tough in here. He won the $300,000 Texas Derby on May 30 at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, by a head the last time he raced over a dry surface. That win came at 1-1/16th miles. It was his only win thus far after trying unsuccessfully to break his maiden over three different tracks – Fair Grounds in New Orleans, Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., and Churchill Downs in Louisville. He was bred in Kentucky by Three Chimney Farms. Record: 6-1-0-2, $233,494 in earnings.
8 – Great Escape, 8-1
Owner: Arnold Bennewith; Rick, Clayton and Lana Wiest; Randy Howg; R6 Stables, Gary Kropp and Norman Tremblay
Trainer: Robertino Diodoro
Jockey: Cristian Torres
Colt by Midnight Storm, out of the Indian Charlie mare Chickasaw Gal, is coming off a win in the Grade 3, $200,000 Canadian Derby for Diodoro. The win came over the Century Mile track in Edmonton, Alberta. That was his first stakes victory. He broke his maiden at Churchill Downs as a 2-year-old on Sept. 18 last year. He was bred in Kentucky by Usquebaugh Stables. Record: 9-2-4-0, $226,386 in earnings.