FINAL WORKOUTS TAKING PLACE FOR OKLAHOMA DERBY CONTENDERS, 10 STAKES RACES ON DERBY DAY DRAWING NATIONAL FOCUS TO REMINGTON PARK
OKLAHOMA CITY – The 30th-running of the Oklahoma Derby and the supporting undercard of nine more stakes races, is drawing plenty of attention for Remington Park. The biggest racing program of the 2018 season takes place at 3pm-Central this Sunday, Sept. 30.
The Grade 3, $400,000 Oklahoma Derby could feature a full field of 14 talented 3-year-olds. Many potential starters are putting in their final morning workouts before traveling to Oklahoma City for the weekend. The same can be said for others already on the grounds at Remington Park who have acclimated to the fall weather and surroundings.
Remington Park will feature an all-stakes Primetime Pick 4 as part of the wagering menu on Sunday. The Primetime Pick 4 will carry a guaranteed minimum wagering pool of $100,000 and will begin with the ninth race on Sunday’s 12-race card.
Grade 3, $400,000 Oklahoma Derby
Posted his first workout at Remington Park on Tuesday morning, breezing a half-mile in :49.69 over a fast track.
The second-place finisher here in the 2017 $400,000 Springboard Mile, the top Remington Park 2-year-old offering, Combatant was hot on the Kentucky Derby trail at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark. earlier this year. He ran second in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes in January, then second in the Grade 3, $500,000 Southwest Stakes in February before finishing third in the Grade 2, $900,000 Rebel Stakes in March. After a fourth-place run in the Grade 1, $1,000,000 Arkansas Derby, Combatant started in the Grade 1, $2,000,000 Kentucky Derby on May 5, finishing 18th of 20.
A colt by Scat Daddy, Combatant will return to a dirt surface in the Oklahoma Derby after a pair of turf stakes attempts at Saratoga in upstate New York where he was out of the money.
Combatant is one of at least three expected for the Oklahoma Derby from the barn of National Hall of Fame Trainer Steve Asmussen. The leading trainer in the 2018 Remington Park season could start as many as five in the event.
The winner of the Grade 3 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs in Bossier City on Sept. 2, put in another half-mile workout on Tuesday morning at Remington Park. Owned by Michael Langford of Jonesboro, Ark., and trained by Steve Asmussen, Limation has worked well in Oklahoma City since scoring the Super Derby, his workout Tuesday was his third here since winning that event. He breezed :50.78 over a fast track. Langford and Asmussen are attempting to win a second consecutive Oklahoma Derby, having won the trophy in 2017 with Untrapped.
Believe In Royalty
The winner of the $75,000 Ellis Park Derby in his last race on August 12 (finishing 5-3/4 lengths ahead of Limation) the gray colt worked five furlongs Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs for trainer Larry Jones. The Tapit colt breezed 1:02.2 over a sloppy track. Believe In Royalty was sixth in the $400,000 Springboard Mile at Remington Park in 2017.
A half-brother to 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, Wooderson worked a half-mile at Saratoga in upstate New York on Sunday, Sept. 23 for trainer Todd Pletcher, breezing :50.02 over a fast surface. Pletcher has confidence that the best days are ahead for Wooderson, seeking only his second lifetime victory, when he races in the Oklahoma Derby.
“He worked well so all is on schedule,” Pletcher said of Wooderson’s Sunday morning breeze. “He’s a nice horse. He’s shown some talent and I think he’s improving. I like the fact that (Oklahoma Derby) is a mile and an eighth, so we’re looking forward to running him. He’s still putting it together. I’m going to take the blinkers off. He was just a little bit keen in the first turn (in a Sept. 1 allowance at Saratoga), but he was still making up ground late. He’s getting better, a work in progress, but he’s continuing to improve.”
Wooderson is expected to van to Churchill Downs in Louisville before boarding the Tex Sutton Equine Transport “Air Horse One” and flying to Oklahoma City, before dawn on Friday morning.
A winner of two consecutive stakes races for New York-breds, Sea Foam breezed five furlongs in 1:03 on a fast track at Belmont Park on Sunday, Sept. 23.
Sea Foam won his most recent effort, the $250,000 Albany Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 24, at the same 1-1/8 miles distance utilized for the Oklahoma Derby. Trainer Christophe Clement has confidence in sending Sea Foam into open-company competition at Remington Park.
“Everything is well, but it’s a big jump. He’s a nice horse, he’s never stopped improving. We’re going to keep moving forward with him. I like the horse,” Clement said. “He won a stakes last year and two stakes this year, so why not? He’s worth taking a shot. It’s not going to be an easy race, there’s some nice horses in there, but we’re going to do our best.”
Sea Foam is expected to fly “Air Horse One” from Baltimore to Oklahoma City on Friday evening.
Grade 3, $200,000 Remington Park Oaks, 1-1/16 miles
Winner of the Grade 3, Torrey Pines at Del Mar in southern California on Aug. 26, True Royalty worked six furlongs handily at Santa Anita Park on Sunday, Sept. 23 in 1:13.8 over a fast track. Trained by John Sadler, True Royalty won the Torrey Pines in front-running fashion, crossing the finish 3-1/2 lengths ahead of her nearest rival.
Trained by Brad Cox, Sassy Sienna put forth a bullet move on Monday, Sept. 24 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. She handled the sloppy going in :48.00 to prep for her anticipated start in the Remington Park Oaks on Sunday. It was the fastest of 23 works at the distance on Monday beneath the twin spires.
The winner of the Grade 3, $400,000 Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn Park in April, Sassy Sienna was sixth in the Grade 1, $1,000,000 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill on May 4. She finished fifth in the $100,000 Trapeze Stakes at Remington Park in 2017, the top 2-year-old stakes race for females in Oklahoma City.
$75,000 Ricks Memorial or $70,000 Bob Barry Memorial
The 5-year-old mare has made both races her personal playground on the Oklahoma Derby undercard for two straight years. She won the 2016 Barry Memorial, for older Oklahoma-bred fillies and mares at 7-1/2 furlongs, before coming back in 2017 to win the Ricks Memorial, for open company distaff competition at 1-1/16 miles. Both races are over the turf.
Gianna’s Dream worked a half-mile on Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs in :49.60 in a breeze over a muddy track. It is not known which race the connections for Gianna’s Dream will choose on entry morning, Thursday, Sept. 27.
A total of 12 races will be contested on Sunday for Oklahoma Derby Day, with 10 stakes events. The first race on Sept. 30 is at 3pm.