Girvin after his Haskell victory July 30 at Monmouth Park

Girvin after his Haskell victory July 30 at Monmouth Park

Adrianna Lynch

Girvin Looks to Rebound in Oklahoma Derby

Son of Tale of Ekati enters off a disappointing Travers (G1) run.

The only time Girvin had thrown in an obviously off effort prior to last month, the son of Tale of Ekati  had an excuse.

His preparation heading into the first leg of the Triple Crown was hindered by a quarter crack, so the fact he finished 13th in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) was understandable. On the days when the dark bay colt was right, however, he never finished worse than second—that is until his 11th-place run in the Travers Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1) Aug. 26.

It was a head-scratching effort from a horse who spoiled his connections with his consistency, one they hope Girvin can distance himself from with a redeeming run in the $400,000 Oklahoma Derby (G3) at Remington Park Sept. 24.

"Obviously we were all a bit disappointed with his run (in the Travers)," said owner Brad Grady. "The only thing I can think is that he didn't like the track, like (trainer) Joe (Sharp) said. That's the best we can come up with, because he was great going in and came out training great."

Girvin's Travers effort was particularly puzzling for his camp, considering he was coming off arguably the best race of his life. When he got his nose down to win the July 30 Betfair.com Haskell Invitational Stakes (G1) at Monmouth Park, he bested a field that included multiple grade 1 winner Practical Joke , as well as graded stakes winners McCraken, Irish War Cry, and fellow Oklahoma Derby entrant Battle of Midway .

WINCZE HUGHES: Girvin Gets it Done in Haskell Invitational

In his only other loss on a dirt track, Girvin was beaten a nose by Irap in the Ohio Derby (G3), his first outing since his Kentucky Derby run. Fitness-wise the colt has put in steady workouts since returning from Saratoga Race Course. He recorded a pair of four-furlong works at Churchill Downs' Trackside Training Center in :49 4/5 Sept. 9 and :49 3/5 Sept. 16.

Outside of his sixth-place finish in the Haskell, Battle of Midway has been a reliable sort as well for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. Owned by Don Alberto Stable and WinStar Farm, the son of Smart Strike has placed in seven of his eight starts, including a 4 1/4-length win in the Affirmed Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park June 24.

Battle of Midway most recently captured the Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar Aug. 26, when he won by an eye-catching 6 1/4 lengths over grade 1 winners Gormley  and Klimt .

BALAN: Battle of Midway Cruises to Shared Belief Stakes Win

Colonelsdarktemper captured the $750,000 West Virginia Derby (G3) Aug. 5 before a recent third-place run at Parx Racing in the $300,000 Smarty Jones Stakes (G3). Owned by car racing legend A.J. Foyt Jr. and trained by Jinks Fires, Colonelsdarktemper did not begin his racing career until February and has recorded three wins from nine starts.

Michael Adolphson contributed to this report.

Entries: Oklahoma Derby (G3)

Remington Park, Sunday, September 24, 2017, Race 11

  • Grade III
  • 1 1/8m
  • Dirt
  • $400,000
  • 3 yo
  • 7:46 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Altito (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateRamon A. Vazquez124Federico Villafranco30/1
22B Squared (CA)Mario Gutierrez124Doug F. O'Neill12/1
33Battle of Midway (KY)Flavien Prat124Jerry Hollendorfer2/1
44McCormick (KY)Julien R. Leparoux124Ian R. Wilkes15/1
55Untrapped (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateRicardo Santana, Jr.124Steven M. Asmussen5/1
66Gato Del Oro (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateRafael Bejarano124Richard Baltas9/2
77Colonelsdarktemper (KY)Jon Kenton Court124William H. Fires4/1
88Girvin (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateRobby Albarado124Joe Sharp7/2