Grade 3 $400,000 OKLAHOMA DERBY

The 35th Oklahoma Derby features a field of 13 horses, the largest field since 14 went in the 2014 Derby. Steve Asmussen, all-time winningest trainer in horse racing history, and Brad Cox, current leading conditioner nationally by money earned, take their heated battle for supremacy to this Grade 3 race at Remington Park. Cox won three Oklahoma Derbies in a row with Owendale (2019), Shared Sense (2020) and Warrant (2021), the only trainer to win three consecutively. Asmussen’s only win in this series was with Untrapped (2017).

1 – GHOST HERO 20-1
Owner: Norman Stables (Robert Norman) of Thomasville, Ala.
Trainer: Jayde Gelner
Jockey: Floyd Wethey, Jr.

This son of Shaman Ghost comes into the Oklahoma Derby as one of the local heroes, having won two stakes at Remington Park against Oklahoma-breds as a 2-year-old last year. He won in the Oklahoma Classics Juvenile and the Don McNeill Stakes and gets into this race after a sharp third-place effort in the $350,000 Robert Hilton Memorial at Charles Town in West Virginia. Trainer Jayde Gelner also has Ghost Hero cross-entered in the Red Earth Stakes on Friday, Sept. 23, versus Oklahoma-breds at 7-1/2 furlongs over the turf. He was bred in Oklahoma by Clark Brewster. Record: 11 starts, five wins, one second and one third for $247,682 in earnings.

Owner: Amerman Racing
Trainer: Brian Lynch
Jockey: Rafael Bejarano

Lynch, a 59-year-old trainer from Australia ships in Tumbarumba from Kentucky where he won the $250,000 Ellis Park Derby. Tumbarumba is named for a small town in New South Wales, Australia, and some say the name is derived from the sound of thunder. He thundered down the stretch to win the Ellis Park Derby on Aug. 13 by three-quarters of a length. The son of 2016 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Oscar Performance took down his third win in his last four starts in the Ellis Park Derby. Lynch is a multiple Grade 1-winning conditioner. Tumbarumba’s other two wins in his recent success were in allowance company. He was bred in Louisiana by Coteau Grove Farms. Record: nine starts, four wins, one second and one third for $254,870 in earnings.

3 – RAISE CAIN 5-1
Owner: Andrew and Rania Warren of Tulsa, Okla.
Trainer: Ben Colebrook
Jockey: No jockey named

This 3-year-old colt by Violence, out of the Lemon Drop Kid mare Lemon Belle, has some state connections with owners Andrew and Rania Warren of Tulsa, Okla. Andrew is the son of Bill Warren, Jr., and Suzanne who owned 2005 Horse of the Year Saint Liam; 2018 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner City of Light, and Denis of Cork, who finished second in the Belmont Stakes in 2008 at Elmont, N.Y., and third in the Kentucky Derby that year. Andrew and Rania are picking up where Bill left off, seasoning prominent national horses. Raise Cain has raced in nine consecutive stakes races coming into the Oklahoma Derby with a huge win in the Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham Stakes in March at Aqueduct in New York. He won that race by 7-1/2 lengths in the mud. He was bred in Kentucky by Rock Ridge Thoroughbreds. Record: 11 starts, two wins, two seconds and one third for a bankroll of $400,003.

Owner: David Ingordo, Talla Racing, James Spry, West Point Thoroughbreds and Nice Guys Stables
Trainer: Cherie DaVaux
Jockey: Cristian Torres

This son of Upstart, out of the Hard Spun mare A Rosefor Isabelle, is a mere maiden winner, but has been competitive against stakes horses. In the colt’s last two starts, he ran third in the Grade 3, $300,000 Indiana Derby at Horseshoe Indianapolis and then second in the Grade 3, $300,000 Smarty Jones Stakes at Parx in Philadelphia. He had a troubled trip in the Indiana Derby when he lacked room in the race. He finished 1-3/4 lengths behind Raise Cain, the runner-up. He was bred in Florida by Lance Colwell and Janice Clark. Cagliostro, if he wins, would be the fifth Florida-bred to make it to the winner’s circle, but first since Pleasant Prince (2010). The other three were Going Ballistic (2007), Comic Truth (2003) and The Judge Sez Who (2002). Record: seven starts, one win, three seconds and one third for $167,828 in earnings.

5 – HEROIC MOVE 20-1
Owner: Arnold Bennewith; Rick, Clayton and Lana Wiest; Randy Howg, R6 Stables, Gary Kropp
Trainer: Robertino Diodoro
Jockey: Harry Hernandez

Diodoro sends out this colt by Quality Road, from the Smart Strike mare Family Tree, with a third-place finish in the Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Ia., on July 8. That was followed by a second-place run in the Manitoba Derby at Assiniboia in Winnipeg, Canada on Aug. 7. Diodoro won the Oklahoma Derby in 2013 with Broadway Empire. Heroic Move has earned a paycheck in all three of his stakes tries in his last three races. This colt broke his maiden at first asking on Feb. 18 at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., as the 3-2 favorite with jockey Joel Rosario in the saddle. He did not race as a 2-year-old. He was bred in Kentucky by Gary and Mary West. Record: seven starts, one win, one second and three thirds for a bankroll of $129,611.

6 – GUNFLASH 30-1
Owner: Jerry Namy of Ft. Worth, Texas
Trainer: Karl Broberg
Jockey: Luis Fuentes

Last year’s top trainer at Remington Park, Karl Broberg, is searching for his first Oklahoma Derby win and sends out a longshot for this try. This son of Gun Runner, out of the Political Force mare Flashy Campaign, has never won a stakes race but showed a good effort, running third in allowance company last time out off a two-month vacation. His best stakes effort was picking up a fourth-place check in last year’s $400,000 Springboard Mile, Remington Park’s cornerstone 2-year-old race. He was bred in Kentucky by his owner. Record: 10 starts, three wins and one third for earnings of $103,181.

Owner: Gentry Farms (A.P. Gentry) of Boerne, Texas
Trainer: Saffie Joseph, Jr.
Jockey: Tyler Conner

This son of West Coast comes into the Oklahoma Derby without a win in stakes company. He did run second to Red Route One in the Grade 3, $500,000 West Virginia Derby on Aug. 6 at Mountaineer over a surface listed as “good.” His best race may have come in the Grade 3, $250,000 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Fla. He was sent off at 58-1 odds on Feb. 4 there and ran third, beaten only three lengths. Saffie then entered him in the Grade 1, $1 million Florida Derby but was a disappointing seventh. Saffie has had some success at Remington Park in the past, winning the 2021 Springboard Mile with Make It Big. West Coast Cowboy was bred in Kentucky by Gary and Mary West. Record: seven starts, two wins, one second and one third for $194,290 in earnings.

8 – PEARL’S EARL 99-1
Owner: Ghost Hollow Farm (Tammy Jones) of Bristow, Okla.
Trainer: Eric Snodgrass
Jockey: Jose Medina

This son of Bodemeister, out of the Stay Thirsty mare Pearl’s Opinion, is trying to become the first maiden to win the Oklahoma Derby. His best race was his career debut at Remington Park in October 2022 when he ran fifth in a maiden special weight race. He has never hit the board in first, second or third place in seven tries. The one thing he does have going for him is that jockey Jose Medina gets the mount. Medina has won a race like this in the past aboard Ted’s Folly, who won the Springboard Mile in 2011. Trained by Wilson Brown, Ted’s Folly went on to win 11 races. Pearl’s Earl was bred in Kentucky by his owner. Record: seven starts, no wins, places or shows and earnings of $1,520.

Owner: J. Kirk and Judy Robison of El Paso, Texas
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Stewart Elliott

One half of Asmussen’s two entrants is How Did He Do That, who ran third recently in the Super Derby at Louisiana Downs. This colt’s best trip to the winner’s circle was when he shared victory in the $250,000 Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows when he dead-heated with One In Vermillion. He is a son of Good Magic, out of the Storm Cat mare Stormin Maggy. He was bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings. After winning the Iowa Derby, the colt had a troubled trip to finish sixth in the Ellis Park Derby at 4-1 odds. That came against another Oklahoma Derby competitor, Tumbarumba, who won that race. How Did He Do That broke out and slowly from the gate, giving him little chance to win. How Did He Do That is the most experienced entrant, along with Asmussen’s other starter Red Route One, with 13 starts, three wins, one second and one third for $322,553 in earnings. He has raced in 10 stakes races in a row and was sixth in last year’s Clever Trevor Stakes at Remington Park behind victor Wildatlanticstorm. His first stakes win came in the $75,000 Zia Park Juvenile in November 2022.

10 – RED ROUTE ONE 7-2
Owner: Winchell Thoroughbreds (Ron Winchell) of Las Vegas, Nev.
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Joel Rosario

Asmussen renews his rivalry with West Coast Cowboy from the West Virginia Derby. The two horses hooked up coming into the stretch of the West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Park and Red Route One pulled away to win by three lengths. Red Route One ran in two of the three Triple Crown races this year – running fourth in the Grade 1, $1,650,000 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico in Maryland and a distant eighth in the Grade 1, $1,500,000 Belmont Stakes in New York. Red Route One was on the Kentucky Derby trail early this spring after running second in the Grade 3, $750,000 Southwest Stakes and the Grade 2, $1 million Rebel Stakes, both at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark. He did not quite have enough Kentucky Derby points to get in the field. After finishing sixth in the Grade 1, $1,250,000 Arkansas Derby, he was put in the $200,000 Bath House Row Stakes at Oaklawn and came up a winner. From there he was sent to the Preakness where he finished only 2-1/2 lengths back of Kentucky Derby winner Mage, who ran third. The 3-year-old son of Gun Runner, out of the Tapit mare Red House has raced 13 times, winning three, running second twice and third once for top earner in the field with $1,053,025 in earnings, tops in the derby. He was bred in Kentucky by his owners.

11 – GROVELAND 15-1
Owner: Godolphin of Lexington, Ky.
Trainer: Eoin Harty
Jockey: No jockey named

The first thing that jumps out for this son of Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense is that his is owned by Godolphin, a global thoroughbred breeding operation and horse racing team founded by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The racing entity spans several continents with outlets in Dubai, Europe, Australia and America. Groveland, out of the Medaglia d’Oro mare Lucknow, will be looking for his first stakes win. He did finish as the runner-up in the Grade 3, $250,000 Sam Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay, Fla. Trainer Harty has conditioned some of the world’s best horses, including Well Armed, a winner of more than $5 million in his career and Travers Stakes winner Colonel John. Groveland was bred in Kentucky by his owner. Record: eight starts, two firsts, two seconds and two thirds for a bankroll of $98,710.

Owner: Southtana Racing (Kari Craddock) of Oklahoma City
Trainer: Kari Craddock
Jockey: Leandro Goncalves

This colt by Mor Spirit, out of the More Than Ready mare Morlana, will be looking for his first stakes victory. His only try at this level was his 10th-place finish in the $100,000 Clever Trevor Stakes last year as a 2-year-old over a sloppy track. Craddock is the only trainer to ever win four Oklahoma Stallion Stakes races in a row, winning her fourth on Sept. 8. The colt has won two of his last four starts with far lesser company. The wins came against conditional allowance horses. He was bred in Kentucky by Terrazas Thoroughbreds, Litt Family Trust and Jason Litt. Record: nine starts, three wins and one third for earnings of $72,740.

Owner: Gary and Mary West of Omaha, Neb.
Trainer: Brad Cox
Jockey: Flavien Prat

The 3-year-old son of Candy Ride (ARG), out of the Tapit mare Actress, worked five furlongs at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. on Sept. 10, posting a bullet breeze in :59.40 over a fast track. The move was the best of 24 at the distance. Hit Show won the Grade 3, $250,000 Withers at Aqueduct in New York on Feb. 11 before finishing second beaten only a nose to Lord Miles in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial on April 8. He then finished fifth in the Grade 1, $3 million Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 6 and fourth in the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes. He recently was fifth in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga in upstate New York. He was bred in Kentucky by his owners. Record: eight starts, three wins and one second for earnings of $574,375.