Early indicators are that the field for Sunday's Oklahoma Derby (gr. III) will be a competitive one. Local interests will be represented by stakes winner Dusty Spike, and among the horses expected to ship in are Cowboy Stuff and Easyfromthegitgo, both multiple stakes winners. Post positions for the $250,000 race will be drawn Thursday.
Don Von Hemel trains Cowboy Stuff, a colt by Evansville Slew bred by his father in Iowa. He comes into the race off a two-length win in the July 27 Round Table Stakes at Arlington Park. In June he won the Cyclones Handicap at Prairie Meadows. The senior Von Hemel owns Cowboy Stuff with Shelly Bates.
Easyfromthegitgo, who has bankrolled more than a half-million dollars, ran a disappointing seventh in his last start, the Aug. 4 Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II). However, he's excelled in races in the Midwest, with wins in the Iowa Derby and the Lecomte Stakes. Trainer Steve Asmussen will bring the horse for owners James Cassels and Bob Zollars.
Ramond Deiter bred Dusty Spike in Oklahoma and has the horse in training with Mark Lee. Last year the gelding won the Alamo Stakes at Sam Houston. On Aug. 10 Dusty Spike won a mile allowance at Remington Park by two lengths.