OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – It took him 21 years, but owner Tom Durant of Grapevine, Texas, got a horse back in the winner’s circle of the Clever Trevor Stakes with Game Day Play on Friday night at Remington Park.
Durant’s horse Native Diablo won the race in 1999 when it was a mere 5-1/2-furlong sprint and for a purse of $26,715. On Friday night, as it has been since 2010, the Clever Trevor Stakes was a 7-furlong race and this year’s purse was $60,000.
It was also jockey Lindey Wade’s second victory in this stakes, an annual stepping stone to the top 2-year-old race of the year – the $200,000 Springboard Mile, scheduled for December 20 this year. Wade was aboard Officer Prado in 2011 when he won the Clever Trevor, and nine years later, he fell into another win thanks to a decision by leading rider David Cabrera. Wade inherited the mount on Game Day Play and got him home first in this year’s Clever Trevor.
“David said he wanted to ride Bobby Brinkley and I thought he made the right decision,” said trainer Bret Calhoun’s assistant at Oklahoma City, Jay Severs.
Wade said when Severs gave him a leg up in the paddock of the Clever Trevor on Friday, it was the first time he had ever been on Game Day Play. Cabrera had the mount on both horses in previous races.
“Never worked him in the morning, nothing,” said Wade. “He really didn’t feel energized in the post parade or the warmup, so I really thought I was going to have to go to work on him (in the race).”
Game Day Play had to go to gameplan B to get home a winner after breaking dead last in the field of seven.
“I told Wade to keep him up close because he likes that, and when he broke, I guess we went to plan B,” said Severs.
Game Day Play, a 2-year-old gelded son of Violence out of the Cuvee mare Haley’s Lolipop, stayed away from the pack for the first 1/2-mile before making his move at the top of the stretch.
“He really didn’t like getting hit in the face by the dirt, so I kept him outside,” Wade said. “That’s exactly what he wanted. When I went to work on him down the stretch, he answered.”
Game Day Play, covered the 7 furlongs in 1:25.68 seconds (hand-timed). He was sent off at 9/2 odds and returned $11.80 to win, $5.20 to place and $3 to show. Jockey Sophie Doyle brought in the third longest shot on the board, Red N Wild, for second at 18/1, only a head back at the wire. Hulen, at 3-1, finished third, another length back. The even-money favorite, Gushing Oil, finished last and never figured in the race.
Game Day Play earned $36,000 for the win and improved to 2 wins in 4 starts for a bankroll of $61,672. He is a Kentucky homebred by Durant. Severs said he would be pointed to the Springboard Mile at the end of the meeting.
“More than likely, he will go to the Springboard,” Severs said. “Most definitely, Lindey will be aboard. It’s his mount now.”
Game Day Play provided trainer Bret Calhoun with his first-ever win in the Clever Trevor Stakes. The race is named after the legendary Oklahoma-bred millionaire who won the inaugural Oklahoma Derby in 1989 along with multiple graded stakes events. The statue of Clever Trevor stands in the middle of the Remington Park paddock walking ring.