The opportunities for top 3-year-olds to remain with their age group are dwindling, making the $400,000 Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park Sept. 30 a prime target. At entry time, a field of 10 was unveiled for the 1 1/8-mile event, led by shippers Willy Beamin, Prospective, and Daddy Nose Best.
The Oklahoma Derby is the featured event on the year's biggest day of Thoroughbred racing at Remington Park. The Oklahoma City track will also run the $250,000 Remington Park Oaks for 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles, the $200,000 Remington Park Sprint Cup at six furlongs, and the $125,000 Remington Green at 1 1/16 miles on turf.
There are thunderstorms in the forecast for the next couple of days with partly cloudy skies and mild temperatures expected Sept. 30. The Oklahoma Derby, the ninth on a 10-race card, is set for a 5:14 p.m. CDT post.
Willy Beamin is to make his first start since winning two stakes races in just 72 hours in late August at Saratoga Race Course. James Riccio's New York-bred gelding by Suave won the $150,000 Albany Stakes for state-breds at 1 1/8 miles on Aug. 22 before coming right back to win the $500,000 Foxwoods King’s Bishop Stakes (gr. I) at seven furlongs on Aug. 25 at odds of 11-1.
Those victories, part of Willy Beamin's current six-race winning streak since he was claimed for $25,000 at Aqueduct Racetrack in March, were for trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. In the Oklahoma Derby, veteran conditioner William Cesare is the listed trainer. The versatile bay, who drew the far outside post, has shown the ability to win on the front end or come from well off the pace, as he did in the King's Bishop. That should give jockey Edgar Prado plenty of options.
Willy Beamin, who arrived in Oklahoma Sept. 24, has won seven of 11 lifetime starts with earnings of $609,545 while running exclusively in New York.
Prospective, with two Derby victories already to his credit, ships in from Woodbine for trainer Mark Casse and Tulsa owner John C. Oxley. The son of Malibu Moon has four victories from eight starts in 2012, including wins in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II) in March and Ohio Derby (gr. III) July 7 at Thistledown.
He comes off an eighth-place finish in the Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) on a sloppy track at Saratoga July 28. Prospective also ran in the Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) and Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) this spring, finishing sixth and 18th, respectively. Jermaine Bridgmohan, who rode the dark bay colt to a 2 1/2-length tally in the Ohio Derby, has the call. They have post 4.
Daddy Nose Best, trained by Steve Asmussen for Texans Cathy and Bob Zollars, was squarely on the Triple Crown trail this spring as well following wins in the El Camino Real Derby and the Sunland Derby (both gr. III). The Scat Daddy colt had a troubled trip while 10th in the Run for the Roses, then broke poorly and was never a factor when ninth in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
Following a freshening, Asmussen returned Daddy Nose Best to the grass for a close, fourth-place effort in the American Derby (gr. IIIT) at Arlington Park (gr. IIIT) July 14. In his most recent start, the off-the-turf Hall of Fame Stakes (gr. II) Aug. 10 at Saratoga, the bay finished third. Corey Nakatani has the call this time.
Asmussen, the leading trainer at Remington Park this season, also entered Richard Davis' stakes-winning Master Rick, third at 44-1 odds after stalking the pace in the Super Derby (gr. II) at Louisiana Downs Sept. 8.
Southern California invader Called to Serve enters off a good closing third in the West Virginia Derby (gr. II) Aug. 4 for trainer Peter Eurton and owners Marc and Vinka Ferrell. The Afleet Alex gelding ran fifth in the Swaps Stakes (gr. II) before that. Called to Serve opened some eyes Sept. 23 at Betfair Hollywood Park when he worked five furlongs in :59 4/5, fastest of 127 at the distance on the Cushion Track that day.
Called to Serve was made the slight 7-2 morning line favorite over Willy Beamin and Daddy Nose Best, both at 4-1. Prospective is pegged at 5-1.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey's homebred Politicallycorrect, second to Prospective in the Ohio Derby, stretches out again after running last of seven in the 6 1/2-furlong Amsterdam Stakes (gr. II) last time out at Saratoga. Wesley Ward trains the Kitten's Joy gelding. Politicallycorrect has been training at Churchill Downs for his first start since the July 29 Amsterdam. He worked a bullet six furlongs at Remington Park Sept. 25 in 1:12.59 handily. Kent Desormeaux rides.
Top local hope is Oklahoma-bred Ted's Folly, winner of all six of his starts at Remington last year, including the Springboard Mile in December. Trained by Wilson Brown for Steve Martin, the Wild Tale gelding has not been as successful this season with one win from six starts overall, including a pair of losses at Remington. He is coming off a fourth in an allowance race on a sloppy Remington track Sept. 14.
Diamond Joe, the pride of Nebraska for Joseph Koziol and Edward Joseph Miller Jr. and trainer Chuck Turco, brings a nine-race winning streak at minor tracks into the race. In his Remington debut, the speedy son of 1995 Oklahoma Derby winner Dazzling Falls defeated Ted's Folly as the 8-5 favorite. Diamond Joe drew the rail and will have Cliff Berry, currently second in the Remington rider standings, once again in the irons.
Speightscity, eighth in the Travers Stakes (gr. I) after setting the pace in his first start in 6 1/2 months for Gary Contessa, and Suns Out Guns Out, who broke his maiden in his 11th try Aug. 20 at Saratoga for trainer Dale Romans and West Point Thoroughbreds, complete the field.
In the Remington Oaks, which is the sixth race on the program, Jemima's Pearl, most recently third in the Aug. 11 Monmouth Oaks (gr. III) in New Jersey, heads a field of eight sophomore fillies. The daughter of Distorted Humor , trained by Bret Calhoun, was also third in the Fantasy Stakes (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park this spring. That was followed by an off-the-board performance in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).
Lady Jensen, Kelly Thiesing's Oklahoma homebred daughter of Bob and John , comes off a 4 1/2-length score in the Te Ata Stakes over the track at seven furlongs Sept. 21. The lightly raced filly has won three of her past four starts for trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel.
$400,000 Oklahoma Derby (Race 9, 5:14 p.m.), 3YOs, 1 1/8 Miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1. Diamond Joe (NE), M C Berry, C Turco
2. Called to Serve (KY), D Centeno, P Eurton
3. Politicallycorrect (KY), K J Desormeaux, W A Ward
4. Prospective (KY), J V Bridgmohan, M E Casse
5. Ted's Folly (OK), J A Medina, W L Brown
6. Master Rick (FL), G Melancon, S M Asmussen
7. Daddy Nose Best (KY), C S Nakatani, S M Asmussen
8. Suns Out Guns Out (KY), C J Lanerie, D L Romans
9. Speightscity (KY), I Ortiz Jr., G C Contessa
10. Willy Beamin (NY), E S Prado, W J Cesare
All carry 124 pounds.