Favored Pleasant Prince took the overland route in the $400,000 Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park Oct. 10, scoring a convincing four-length victory for his second win in three starts (VIDEO).
The Oklahoma Derby, Remington Park's richest race, completed a five-stakes program at the Oklahoma City track worth $850,000. In the $200,000 Remington Park Oaks, the race preceding the Oklahoma Derby, odds-on choice No Such Word tallied by 6 1/2 lengths from off the pace for jockey Terry Thompson.
Pleasant Prince, ridden for the first time by Southern California star Joel Rosario, rallied from near the back of the pack, moving up smoothly on the far outside on the final turn to challenge pacesetter Timely Pursuit for the lead. The winning son of Indy King took over mid-stretch and lengthened his advantage in the final furlong, coming home in 1:48.81 for the 1 1/8-mile distance on a fast track. The clocking was four-fifths of a second off the track record for the distance set by 1998 Oklahoma Derby winner Classic Cat.
The winner, owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey and trained by Wesley Ward, won for the second time in 10 starts in 2010. He captured the Ohio Derby (gr. III) July 31 at Thistledown prior to a third-place finish in his most recent start, the Smarty Jones Stakes at Parx Racing in Philadelphia Sept. 6.
Timely Pursuit, an 81-1 longshot ridden by Thompson, stuck around for second by 2 1/4 lengths, with the late-closing Stachys running on for third at 30-1 in the field of nine 3-year-olds.
Timely Pursuit set a solid pace for the distance while leading contenders Monsignor and No Hesitation through quarter-mile splits of :23.01, :46.91, and 1:10.88. Timely Pursuit led by two lengths at that point and took the field into the stretch. But he was no match for Pleasant Prince, who rallied under mild urging in the lane from Rosario. Once in command, Pleasant Prince was hand-ridden to the wire.
"I had an outside post position and I just stayed there the whole way,” Rosario said of his trip. “I wanted to make sure he was clear and wasn't bothered. I decided to make my move in the turn, it seemed like the speed horse was continuing to run in the stretch. I made my move a little early to get his momentum moving into the stretch.”
After winning his debut last November over maidens at Churchill Downs, Pleasant Prince was on the Triple Crown trail this spring, where his best finish was a fine closing second by a nose to Ice Box in the Florida Derby (gr. I). The chestnut colt, a $30,000 Ocala Breeders' Sale Co. purchase in August 2008, failed to amass enough graded stakes earnings to run in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). He did try the Preakness (gr. I), however, but was never a factor while finishing 11th.
Given a 2 1/2-month freshening, Pleasant Prince returned to win the Ohio Derby by a nose.
Overall, Pleasant Prince owns a 3-2-3 record in 13 starts with earnings of $557,398. The Oklahoma Derby win was worth $240,000.
Bred in Florida by Adena Springs, Pleasant Prince is out of the Pleasant Tap mare Archduchess.
Pleasant Prince paid $6.40, $3.60 and $2.60, topping a $329.80 exacta with Timely Pursuit, who returned a whopping $32 and $9.80 for the place. Stachys, in his first start since going down after colliding a fallen rival in the Canadian Derby (Can-III) at Northlands Park Aug. 2, was $7.20 to show with Bobby Walker Jr. aboard.
No Hesitation, the Canadian Derby winner, was a half-length farther back in fourth. Then came Monsignor, Distorted Economy, Holiday Buzz, Paris Vegas, and Professor Pollard. Raven Hawk scratched.
In her dominating win in the Remington Oaks, No Such Word made it back-to-back stakes victories for owner/breeder Brereton C. Jones and trainer Cindy Jones after the filly captured the Monmouth Park Oaks (gr. III) in her last start Aug. 14. This was the fifth victory in nine starts in 2010 for the daughter of Canadian Frontier --Muskoka Ice, by It's Freezing, all with Thompson in the saddle.
The multiple graded stakes winner No Such Word boosted her earnings to $503,213 with the victory and improved her career line to 6-1-2 in 14 starts. The 4-5 favorite paid $3.60, $2.20 and $2.10. Second choice American Story ($2.80, $2.40), ridden by Rosario, finished two lengths clear of Speedacious ($3.20) and Carlos Gonzalez.
The $150,000 Remington Green Stakes went to Schramsberg, a 9-1 upsetter ridden by Ramsey Zimmerman for owner Bobby Joe Hammer and trainer Chris Hartman.
In a blanket finish, Schramsberg won the 1 1/16-mile turf event by a neck over Kate's Main Man, who finished a head better than Strike Again. Category Seven, the 5-2 favorite in the field of 10, was a neck farther back in fourth. The final time was 1:43.18 over firm footing.
Schramsberg ($21.40), a 4-year-old Storm Cat colt bred by Robert and Beverly Lewis Trust, earned his first stakes win and increased his career earnings to $158,493.