OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Multiple runners from September 5’s Kentucky Derby (G1) are considered “strong possibilities” for the $200,000 Oklahoma Derby (G3) at Remington Park on September 27, according to the track’s racing office.
The Oklahoma Derby is a 1 1/8-mile dirt route restricted to 3-year-olds that headlines what is annually the biggest day of the track’s racing calendar.
Chief among those exiting the Run for the Roses and heading to Oklahoma are Major Fed and Necker Island.
Major Fed broke his maiden on January 1 at Fair Grounds in his routing debut and improved his Beyer Speed Figure in 4 of his first 6 starts before finishing 10th in the Kentucky Derby. He’s yet to defeat winners but finished second in both the Indiana Derby (G3) and one of the Risen Star Stakes (G2) divisions.
After winning 2 straight to end 2019, Necker Island struggled in the first half of 2020, failing to hit the board in 5 starts before his current connections claimed him for $100k in mid-June. New trainer Chris Hartman saddled him to back-to-back third-place efforts in the Indiana Derby and the Ellis Park Derby before he ran ninth in the Kentucky Derby.
Two others from the Kentucky Derby – Mr. Big News and Ny Traffic – were also nominated to the Oklahoma Derby, though each is also reportedly under consideration for the Preakness Stakes (G1) on October 3. Mr. Big News finished third in the Kentucky Derby and Ny Traffic crossed eighth.
Shared Sense has reportedly pointed to the Oklahoma Derby ever since he finished fifth in the Ellis Park Derby. He won the Indiana Derby 1 start prior and has finished either first or second in 5 of his 9 career starts. Trainer Brad Cox and jockey Florent Geroux teamed up to win the 2019 Oklahoma Derby with Owendale.
Dean Martini surprised the betting world when he pulled off a 14/1 upset in late June’s Ohio Derby (G3), just 2 starts after his current connections claimed him for $50k out of his maiden-breaker. His 8-race streak of hitting the board ended last time out when he finished sixth in the Ellis Park Derby.
Two sons of Tonalist – each one gelded – are also under consideration. Avant Garde has won 4 straight at Gulfstream Park (all at the claiming and/or starter allowance levels) and earned a last-out career-best 92 Beyer Speed Figure. Local runner Tonaltalitarian broke his maiden against fellow Oklahoma-breds here on September 10 and hails from the barn of Donnie Von Hemel, who has won this race more times (3) than any other trainer.
Other nominees based at Remingotn Park include 4-time stakes winner Rowdy Yates and the maiden Liam, who finished second over this course in late August while returning from a nine-month break that followed his career debut last November.