Step-Up Time for Oklahoma Derby Dozen

Step-Up Time for Oklahoma Derby Dozen
Photo: Coady Photography
Iowa Derby winner Tiz Now Tiz Then faces a full field of 3-year-olds in the Oklahoma Derby.

Tiz Now Tiz Then looks to improve off his sixth-place run in the Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) when he faces a full field of 3-year-olds in the $350,000 Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park Oct. 19.

Owned by Zabeel Racing International and trained by Eoin Harty, Tiz Now Tiz Then never fired in the $1 million race at Philadelphia Park on Labor Day, finishing more than five lengths behind the victorious Anak Nakal. Prior to that, the Kentucky-bred Tiznow   colt was third in the $500,000 Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga July 27. Harty is shipping him from Keeneland for the Oklahoma City race.
 
“He’s training well, that’s why we’re going. He should be good in there,” Harty said of the winner of the $250,000 Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows in June. Tiz Now Tiz Then has won three of his 11 career races with two seconds and a third while earning $299,450. Harty has named regular rider Miguel Mena to the mount.

Tiz Now Tiz Then will face a field that includes the stakes winners Golden Yank, coming off a fourth-place finish in the Super Derby (gr. II) at Louisiana Downs Sept. 20, and Real Appeal, who was sixth in the same race. Trainer Steve Asmussen, who went over the 500-win mark in 2008 on the evening of Oct. 16 at Remington, has entered three: Ablaze With Spirit, Face the Cat and Fire Brewed. The Oklahoma Derby, contested at 1 1/8 miles, is the richest Thoroughbred event in the state.

Golden Yank, trained by Gary Thomas for the Millard R. Seldin Revocable Trust, is winless in seven starts in 2008, his last victory coming in the Jean Lafitte Stakes at Delta Downs last November. The Yankee Gentleman   gelding ran second in the Jefferson Cup (gr. IIT) on the Churchill Downs turf course June 14 and leads the Oklahoma Derby field in earnings with $383,516 while winning three of 11 starts. Jamie Theriot, who was aboard the bay in the Super Derby, rides once again.

Owned by Roulette Racing and trained by Tom Amoss, Real Appeal was third in the $750,000 West Virginia Derby (gr. III) at Mountaineer Park prior to the Super Derby. Remington Park’s all-time leading jockey Cliff Berry will ride Real Appeal. He guided the Successful Appeal   colt to victory in Lone Star Park's Alysheba Stakes June 28. Real Appeal has won three of 11 career races and boasts total earnings of $222,482.

Asmussen, who is chasing his own record for most training victories in a year of 555 in 2004, said he decided to enter Ablaze With Sprit after he posted a sharp :51.25 workout for a half-mile on a sloppy main track Oct. 15. The Heiligbrodt Racing Stable's Texas-bred son of American Spirit is coming off a runner-up finish in the Texas Hall of Fame Stakes at Retama Park Oct. 4.

“He worked well yesterday and deserves the opportunity,” Asmussen said. “It’s quick back off his last race at San Antonio. He was unlucky in that one with traffic during the race but came back after getting clear to run second.”

Ablaze With Spirit won the Jim’s Orbit Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park in February, but his last four starts have come on the turf, including a third-place showing in the American Derby (gr. IIT) at Arlington Park July 12.

Asmussen's other entrants worked at Remington on Oct. 13, with Face the Cat handling a half-mile in :51.12. Fire Brewed went the same distance in :50.53 over a sloppy surface.

Last time out Face the Cat, a Tale of the Cat   colt, ran third in the Prairie Meadows Derby Sept. 20. Fire Brewed, a son of Milwaukee Brew  , makes his stakes debut.
 
Heiligbrodt also owns the stakes-winning Snug, who will enter the race after a bullet workout (:48 3/5) at Delta Downs Oct. 16 for trainer Jim Hudson. Snug is a Louisiana-bred gelding by Swamp who captured the Texas Stallion Stakes by 3 1/2 lengths at Lone Star May 10.
 
Atlantic Paws ships from Calder Race Course for trainer James Chapman off a third in the Needles Stakes Sept. 27. Chapman named Remington leading jockey Eddie Martin Jr. to ride in the Derby.

Quiet Again tallied by nearly four lengths for trainer Jimmie Claridge on a sloppy track in the Ruidoso Derby in New Mexico Aug. 31. The stakes-winning Sebastian County attempts to bounce back from a distant fourth-place finish as the favorite in the Prairie Meadows Derby.

The Remington Park program also includes the $125,000 Remington Green Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on the turf, and the $125,000 MEC Mile for 2-year-olds.
 
$350,000 Oklahoma Derby (Race 9, 5:14 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 1 1/8 Miles
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Real Appeal (KY), 120, M. Clifton Berry
2. a-Ablaze With Spirit (TX), 122, Luis S. Quinonez
3. Atlantic Paws (FL), 120, Eddie M. Martin, Jr.
4. Crimson Comic (KY), 116, Christopher P. DeCarlo
5. Tiz Now Tiz Then (KY), 122, Miguel Mena
6. Face the Cat (KY), 116, Shaun Bridgmohan
7. Sebastian County (KY), 120, Richard Monterrey
8. Fire Brewed (KY), 116, Quincy Hamilton
9. Quiet Again (TX), 120, Duane Lee Sterling
10. Golden Yank (KY), 116, Jamie Theriot
11. a-Snug (LA), 122, Gerard Melancon
12. Acting Zippy (FL), 116, Justin Shepherd

a- Heiligbrodt Racing Stable entry

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