Ohio Derby winner Pleasant Prince meets 9 in the Oklahoma Derby.

Ohio Derby winner Pleasant Prince meets 9 in the Oklahoma Derby.

JJ Zamaiko

Pleasant Prince Leads Oklahoma Derby Cast

Well-traveled group of 10 sophomores contest intriguing match-up at Remington Park.

Ohio Derby (gr. III) winner Pleasant Prince and Distorted Economy, a strong second in the Super Derby (gr. II) last month, lead the field in the $400,000 Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park Oct. 10.

Ten much-traveled 3-year-olds, including Canadian Derby (Can-III) victor No Hesitation, are entered in the 1 1/8-mile Oklahoma Derby, the most lucrative race on a stakes-filled afternoon of racing at the Oklahoma City track.

The Oklahoma Derby is the 10th race on the program with a 5:49 p.m. CDT post. The race is preceded by the $200,000 Remington Park Oaks for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles, which is the ninth race at 5:20 p.m., and the $150,000 Remington Green at 1 1/16 miles on turf, which is race 7 at 4:22 p.m.

Pleasant Prince, third in Parx Racing's Smarty Jones Stakes at the former Philadelphia Park in his last start Sept. 6, drilled a bullet five furlongs in 1:00.32 over a fast Remington Park surface Oct. 4. Owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey and trained by Wesley Ward, the late-running Pleasant Prince took the Ohio Derby by a nose July 31 and nearly won the Florida Derby (gr. I) in March, finishing second by a nose to Ice Box . He would test the Triple Crown later, finishing 11th in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) behind Lookin At Lucky  in May, before winning Thistledown's Ohio Derby.

A Florida-bred colt by Indy King, Pleasant Prince has been at Remington Park since late September and has a pair of workouts over the surface. Ward hands the reins to Southern California jockey Joel Rosario, who will be aboard the chestnut for the first time. The 7-2 morning line choice drew post 8.

Distorted Economy, who led at mid-stretch in the Super Derby Sept. 25 at Louisiana Downs before yielding late to the fast-finishing Apart, arrived at Remington a few days after that race. He worked five furlongs Oct. 5 in 1:01.32, fourth-fastest of 31 workouts at the distance that day. He is pegged at 4-1 on the morning line.

Owned by his breeder, Robert S. Evans, and trained by Neil Drysdale, the Kentucky-bred colt by Distorted Humor  has won one of his 10 career races with a trio of seconds and a pair of thirds. He began his career with five starts on turf, was moved to synthetics for four races and ran for the first time on a dirt surface in the Super Derby. Joe Talamo is in from Southern California to ride the bay for the first time.

Trainer Jim Meyaard brought a pair of contenders down from Northlands Park in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, in late September, a trip of 30 hours. He professes confidence in both of his entrants, No Hesitation and Professor Pollard.

No Hesitation, a California-bred son of Siberian Summer, rolled to a 1 1/2-length victory as the heavy favorite in the trouble-marred Canadian Derby for his fifth consecutive win (at distances from six to 11 furlongs), all at Northlands. 

“This colt, he’s on a winning roll and we’ve got the winning jockey on here this weekend in Cliff Berry,” Meyaard noted. “This colt never has a bad day. He shows up every time, that’s what makes him different from a lot of horses.”

No Hesitation posted a bullet five-furlong drill Oct. 3 at Remington Park in :59.38 seconds over a fast track. With six wins from eight career attempts overall, the gray/roan  colt has earned $282,181 for owner Barbara Side. He is listed at 10-1 on the early line.

Alberta-bred Professor Pollard posted a 10 3/4-length win in stakes company on Sept. 18 at Northlands at 1 1/16 miles. The Pollard's Vision  gelding also competed in the Canadian Derby won by No Hesitation but fell during the race after clipping heels with a rival. The accident also took out two other runners in the race, including Oklahoma Derby entrant Stachys.

Remington-based jockey Quincy Hamilton is set to ride Sycamore Stables' Professor Pollard, who worked a sharp half-mile Oct. 3 in :47.56 seconds.

Stachys won his career debut as a 2-year-old last year against $30,000 maiden claimers at Remington Park by 14 1/2 lengths. The Candy Ride  gelding is owned by the Minnesota partnership of Al and Bill Ulwelling and is trained by Michael Biehler. He worked five furlongs Oct. 4 at Remington in 1:00.85

His fall in the Canadian Derby ended a three-race winning streak that included the Manitoba Derby at Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg.

Paris Vegas, who began his career in France, brings more international flavor to the Oklahoma Derby. He won two of his five starts in Europe and is coming off an allowance victory at Monmouth Park Sept. 12 in his second North American try. The Kentucky-bred son of Maria's Mon is trained by Fabrice Chappet for owner Manuel Garcia.

Locally-based Holiday Buzz, one of two entered for Eclipse Award-winning trainer Steve Asmussen, breezed five furlongs Oct. 4 in 1:01.88. Owned by the Dallas partnership of Bob Zollars and Mark Wagner, the Afleet Alex  colt ran a closing third to prep for the Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park in an allowance event Sept. 18.

Asmussen also has Winchell Thoroughbreds' homebred Raven Hawk, another son of Afleet Alex that scored a 5 1/4-length allowance victory at Monmouth Sept. 26.

Todd Pletcher, North America’s leading trainer in 2010 with over $18 million in earnings, is represented by Padua Stables' Monsignor, also coming off a recent victory at Monmouth.

Brereton C. Jones' multiple graded winner No Such Word heads a field of 10 sophomore fillies in the Remington Park Oaks. Trained by Cindy Jones, the daughter of Canadian Frontier won the Monmouth Oaks (gr. III) in her last start Aug. 14 by 1 1/2 lengths as a strong favorite.

The Remington Green also drew 10 entrants. Five-year-old Pursue a Dream, trained by Biehler for Emerald Bay Stables, is the 121-pound high weight in the grass event.

$400,000 Oklahoma Derby (Race 10, 5:49 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 1 1/8 Miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Trainer, ML Odds
1. Professor Pollard (AB), Q Hamilton, J Meyaard, 20/1
2. Monsignor (KY), D Cohen, T A Pletcher, 5/1
3. Paris Vegas (KY), J Bravo, F Chappet, 9/2
4. Holiday Buzz (KY), S Quinonez, S M Asmussen, 8/1
5. Distorted Economy (KY), J Talamo, N D Drysdale, 4/1
6. Timely Pursuit (KY), T J Thompson, M A Tomlinson, 30/1
7. Raven Hawk (KY), A T Gryder, S M Asmussen, 6/1
8. Pleasant Prince (FL), J Rosario, W A Ward, 7/2
9. Stachys (KY), B J Walker, Jr., M E Biehler, 15/1
10. No Hesitation (CA), M C Berry, J Meyaard, 10/1
All carry 124 pounds.