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A full field of 12 will line up this Sunday evening for the Remington Park Springboard Mile. The race will serve as the final opportunity for 2-year-olds to earn Kentucky Derby points, with the winner receiving 10, second place earning 4, third place 2, and fourth place 1. It is scheduled for race 12 on closing day at the track with a local post time of 8:19 PM Central Time. A total of six stakes races will highlight the card.
Any Remington Park stakes race starts with trainer Steve Asmussen, who will have three horses in this year’s event. Headlining his group is local two-time winner Jungle Runner. He broke his maiden over this track two starts back before taking the Clever Trevor Stakes last time out.
His multiple stakes-winning stablemates Rowdy Yates is returning after taking the Don C. McNeil Stakes over this track last time out. He also won the Ellis Park Juvenile Stakes earlier in the season.
Finally, the classiest of the Asmussen runners is Shoplifted, who finished seventh last time out in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). He broke his maiden on debut at Saratoga before finishing second in the Hopeful Stakes (G1).
A few shippers could make some noise, starting with trainer Brad Cox’s Answer In, who brings plenty of intrigue to the race after breaking his maiden in style last time out at Churchill Downs. The Dialed In gelding will be ridden by Javier Castellano as well, which certainly can be taken as a positive sign. This will be his first test around two turns.
Another recent maiden-breaker shipping in is the Wesley Ward-trained Maximiliano. The Quality Road colt was second on debut at Saratoga before breaking his maiden last time out at Keeneland by a head over a pair of next-out winners. Martin Garcia comes with him for the mount.
The full field from the rail out: Piece of Work, Alternate Time, Rowdy Yates, Answer In, Jungle Runner, Shipman’s Song, Southgate, Embolden, Shoplifted, Maximiliano, Kirkcules, and Slew Tang Clan.
#4 Answer In – Earlier in the week, there was speculation that Answer In would not ship in for the race; however, now it looks like he will run. If he does, this is the most intriguing horse in the field after his runaway victory last time out at Churchill Downs in a maiden special weight. That showed his talent and he should excel with the stretch out in distance. Jockey Javier Castellano is scheduled to come in for the mount, which obviously adds a tremendous amount of intrigue. This could be the up-and-coming star of the event.
#5 Jungle Runner – The winner of the Clever Trevor Stakes will look to make it three in a row in this spot after breaking his maiden in his Remington Park debut. Before showing up in Oklahoma, this horse struggled, but he has been solid since arriving. He’ll have to take on the toughest field of his career in this spot, which is his main worry. We’ll see if he can lean on his local experience to make a difference.
#9 Shoplifted – When it comes to class, he leads the pack by a wide margin. However, he was beaten badly in his last two starts, both of which came at Santa Anita Park in the American Pharoah Stakes (G1) and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). This is a much easier spot, though, and Asmussen’s top jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr., picked him out of the trainer’s trio. The drop in class will be a great benefit, and we know that the talent is there. Look for him to rebound with a solid effort.
#10 Maximiliano – This interesting prospect broke his maiden last time out at Keeneland over a few quality horses. Trainer Wesley Ward enjoys regular success with 2-year-olds, but most of those have historically come in one-turn events. However, Maximiliano’s pedigree should be solid when going longer, so if he can build off of his victory last time out, then he should have something to say in this race’s outcome.
#3 Rowdy Yates – Will an Oklahoma-bred win the Springboard Mile? That would be an awesome story if it happens, especially after this one’s solid local debut last time out in the Don C. McNeil Stakes over fellow state-breds. He has experience against open company, too, having won the Ellis Park Juvenile Stakes earlier this season. He has shown on multiple occasions that he can compete with top-quality horses, which bodes well for his chances in this spot.
#8 Embolden – This runner ships in from Fair Grounds for his first try around two turns. He has built a solid resume going one turn, finishing on the board in three straight stakes races. Three starts back, he won the Jamestown Stakes at Colonial Downs, then finished third in the Futurity Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park behind eventual Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) winner Four Wheel Drive. He has class going short; it will just be a matter of how he runs when carrying his speed a little longer. Look for him to be around late when the real running begins.
#1 Piece of Work – He has only one start under his belt, an ultra-impressive victory by 6 1/2 lengths over this track. He will have to stretch out in distance here, but he earned a solid speed figure for his debut. If the Arkansas-bred can build off of that effort, then he could have a shot at pulling the upset.
#2 Alternate Time – He’s a perfect two-for-two coming into the race, but this is going to be a big move up in class for him, and his speed figures don’t seem to match up with the rest of this bunch. Even with an undefeated record, he’ll have to show some improvement to compete.
#6 Shipman’s Song – The good news is that this horse is won last time out in a maiden special weight over this track. However, this will be his first start going two turns, and it took him four starts just to break his maiden. This will be a whole new challenge for him.
#7 Southgate – His resume at Remington Park has not been good (3-0-0-1), and now he has to step way up in class for this event. That will present a challenge that he likely is not ready to handle.
#11 Kirkcules – He has performed well since stretching out to two-turn events, breaking his maiden before running second in the Don C. McNeil Stakes last time out. This will be his first start against open company, though, which will be a challenge. He was also nowhere close to catching Rowdy Yates in the McNeil Stakes.
#12 Slew Tang Clan – This maiden will have his work cut out for him after four failed attempts over this track. No matter how you look at it, this horse looks like an outsider.
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