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For the first time ever, Remington Park’s feature 2-year-old event, the Springboard Mile, will carry valuable points that will help determine the field for the 2018 Kentucky Derby. The event will serve as the final points race for 2-year-olds, with the winner earning 10 points, second-place four points, third-place two points, and fourth-place one point.
This year, four tough-looking shippers will invade Remington on Sunday. From the west coast comes Greyvitos, who will most likely go off as the favorite. Trained by Adam Kitchingham, Greyvitos is fresh off of a 1 1/2-length wire-to-wire victory in the Grade 3 Bob Hope Stakes at Del Mar. Trainer Doug O’Neill’s Flip the Coin Jan also comes into this event off of a win at Del Mar: his victory came in a maiden claiming race in which he dominated his rivals by over 7 lengths.
Two shippers from the east coast are also setting their sights on the Springboard Mile. Remington Park’s leading trainer Steve Asmussen sends in Combatant, a son of Tapit who recently broke his maiden at Churchill Downs in impressive fashion. He will be ridden by Ricardo Santana, Jr., whom Asmussen also teamed with to win the Grade 3 Oklahoma Derby earlier this year. The other shipper, Believe in Royalty, comes from Laurel Park. Trained by Larry Jones, this son of Tapit has won two races in a row and will try stakes company for the first time here. Believe in Royalty’s dam is Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can, who was also trained by Jones.
Representing the local contingent are the top three finishers from the $100,000 Clever Trevor Stakes. The winner, Redatory, will be making his third career start in this race. So far, he is a perfect two-for-two, with both wins coming at Remington. Runner-up Bode’s Maker has just one victory in four starts, but that came at a mile over the Remington dirt, the same conditions as this race. Finally, the Clever Trevor third-place finisher Flat Lucky is back for trainer Steve Asmussen. The “other” Asmussen entry, he’ll most likely relish the stretch out in distance.
The $400,000 Springboard Mile will go off as the 11th race on a 12-race card. First post on Sunday is 3:00 PM CST. The Springboard Mile has an approximate post time of 7:40 PM CST.
#12 Greyvitos – I spent a few hours trying to beat this horse in every way possible, but there’s just no denying that if he shows up with the same type of race that he ran at Del Mar, then the rest of the field will be running for second. Of course, it’s not a lock that he’ll do that, so play your exotic bets with him and a few other quality horses mixed in. However, it’s hard to not put this horse on top when talking about the most likely winner. Greyvitos set fairly fast fractions early on in the Bob Hope last time out. When he turned for home, Mourinho was getting ready to pounce, but he kept fighting on the front end to win by 1 1/2 lengths. The most impressive thing was the fact that the Bob Baffert-trained Mourinho didn’t quit, but rather, the front two horses totally pulled away from the rest of the field. If Greyvitos can continue to run those kinds of races, then he will have a major say in things on the Kentucky Derby trail.
#10 Believe in Royalty – This $900,000 yearling purchase has looked super sharp at Laurel Park, winning two straight races in impressive fashion. Both of his wins came at a mile as well, so he should be able to get this distance, and his breeding suggests that longer is better for him: he’s by Tapit and Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can. Believe in Royalty is the perfect name for this colt, as he’s certainly royally-bred and is running like a colt in which you can believe.
#5 Flip the Coin Jan – We could have a major rags-to-riches story if this colt makes his way onto the Kentucky Derby trail. Three races back, O’Neill claimed him for $50,000, and since then, he’s continued to run in maiden claiming events. Last time out at Del Mar, he crushed his competition in a $62,500 maiden claimer, which earned him a shot in a race like this. He may not be able to handle this type of class, but he was visually impressive in his last start.
#1 Combatant – He impressively picked up a win in a maiden special weight last time out at Churchill Downs, and jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr., follows him to Remington Park to ride again. In that Churchill race, he showed that he can sit just behind the pace, which could be very important in this one, as there seems to be a lot of speed up front. His inside rail draw will do him no favors in a full field of 12, but Asmussen is no stranger to success at Remington Park.
#8 Flat Lucky – He finished third in the Clever Trevor but he might get the pace setup that he needs in this spot. He’ll try back and make one run, and in his last two races, he didn’t have any pace up front. This race looks to be loaded with speed, and I also like that he’ll get an extra furlong. While I’m not a huge fan of the Clever Trevor as a whole, I do believe that this horse has upside as the distances get longer. Hopefully, he can provide value underneath.
#9 Redatory – Perhaps I’m not giving the Clever Trevor enough credit, but I’m going to make the horses out of that race prove it to me. Redatory wired the Clever Trevor, but he basically had no pace pressure up front. He’s going to have plenty here in what seems like a much tougher spot. He does have the home track advantage, which could play well in his favor, but I’m unsure that he matches up with some of the shippers.
#7 Soul P Say – He broke his maiden last time out in his second career start, which was also his first-ever race around two turns. That aspect give you a little bit of hope that he’ll run well here, and his margin of victory was an impressive 5 3/4 lengths. It’s also a positive sign that he beat Night Strike in that maiden triumph; Night Strike came back to win an Oklahoma-bred stakes in his next start. He could be a valuable long shot to use underneath.
#4 Bode’s Maker – If you believe that the Clever Trevor was a strong race, then you have to like Bode’s Maker, but I’m not sure if that race was very tough. Bode’s Maker made a strong bid on the turn but was very wide and sort of flattened out down the lane to finish second. With a better trip, perhaps he could pull off a major upset, as the breeding is there and he should like going a mile. You’ll need to demand at least 20-1 to make him worth a bet, but he does have small appeal.
#2 Major Brown – He won a local allowance prep for this race, but the final time and speed figure were not impressive. Two races back, he tried his luck in the Clever Trevor Stakes and was no match, finishing eighth.
#11 Kingsville – He finished second to Major Brown in that allowance race, and as I mentioned above, that race wasn’t very strong. Unless you have better horse racing tips than us, he’ll have to step his game up to get the job done here.
#6 Night Strike – He’s zero-for-five against open company, but he did break his maiden by 3 lengths in an Oklahoma-bred stakes last time out. This will be a step up in competition, though, so it’s hard to imagine him winning two in a row.
#3 Brangelina – He picked up a win last time out in his third lifetime race. However, the speed figure came back fairly slow, and a few of the horses that he narrowly beat have not run back that well. He’s probably overmatched.
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