Texas Bling, surging between horses in deep stretch, registered a 128-1 shocker in the $300,000 Remington Springboard Mile (VIDEO) for 2-year-olds Dec. 9 on closing day of the Remington Park meet.
A Texas homebred trained by Danele Durham for owner Hall's Family Trust, Texas Bling scored by 1 3/4 lengths over Will Take Charge, a colt out of the grade I-winning mare Take Charge Lady. Worldventurer was third in the field of 12. Exploring, the 8-5 favorite shipping in from Churchill Downs, never factored and finished 10th.
Erik McNeil guided Texas Bling to victory at the Oklahoma City track with a patient ride in a time of 1:39.96 on a fast track.
"I was just trying to look for a place to go, there was no room," a jubilant McNeil said from the winner's circle. "I was on Cliff's (jockey Cliff Berry aboard Worldventurer) heels pretty much the whole way. It was just one of those things, when you pick up your head and a hole opens. He just shot through there for me and ran a huge race. Pinch me if this is real."
While many were amazed about the longshot winner, Texas Bling's trainer showed the utmost confidence in his talent. "We're not stunned. We knew this colt could do it all along," Durham said while holding the trophy for the Springboard.
Texas Bling paid $259.60 to win, $122 to place, and $29.80 to show. He topped a $2,490 exacta with 11-1 shot Will Take Charge ($15.40, $9.20), and a $1 trifecta with 19-1 Worldventure ($9.40) (all in third) was worth $9,423.60. A dime superfecta with 7-1 Best of Birdstone fourth paid $4,719.22.
The winner, a colt by Too Much Bling out of the Country Pine mare Anythingmore, took eight tries to break his maiden, accomplishing the task in a 7 1/2-furlong grass race at Remington Oct. 11. Texas Bling was sixth in his most recent start, the one-mile El Joven Stakes on grass at Retama Park Nov. 10.
The victory earned Texas Bling an automatic invitation to next year's Oklahoma Derby with all fees paid.
The racing on closing day was conducted in strong northerly winds measuring 23 miles per hour at the end of the card, which aided runners moving down the stretch but was a hindrance to them going up the backstretch.
Texas Bling raced in the back half of the field for a half-mile, made progress on the final turn and bid three wide into the stretch. He was behind horses in the stretch in fifth, but when a tiring Worldventurer, who took the lead briefly at the furlong pole, drifted out a bit, Texas Bling had room to rally on the outside of Best of Birdstone. He took command in the final strides.
Will Take Charge, who set the pace (:23.67, :48.81, 1:14.56) under Victor Lebron, took plenty of pressure along the inside and held on well for second. Worldventurer was half a length farther back in third.
Texas Bling came into the race off a bullet half-mile move in :47 1/5 at Remington Dec. 1, fastest of 47 at the distance that day. The winner's share of the Springboard Mile, $180,000, boosted his career earnings to $209,483 on a record 2-1-1 from 10 starts.
Best of Birdstone was followed by second choice King Henny, Smack Jack, Backstreet Hero, Hardrock Eleven, Steelman Run, Exploring, Hornet, and Channel Isle.