It was Steve Asmussen and Ricardo Santana Jr.'s day Sept. 24 at Remington Park and the cherry on top came with an 11-1 upset in the $400,000 Oklahoma Derby (G3).
Michael Langford's Untrapped has raced in graded stakes competition since he broke his maiden in November of 2016 at Churchill Downs, but entering Sunday's 1 1/8-mile test that maiden special weight score remained his lone victory.
That's not to say the Trappe Shot colt hasn't proven himself capable. He placed in five of the seven stakes he entered, but couldn't break through. Asmussen and Santana also entered the Oklahoma Derby without a win in the race—Asmussen was winless in 21 tries—but that all vanished in mid-stretch, as Untrapped powered by favored Battle of Midway to win by 1 3/4 lengths.
Santana couldn't contain himself before the race was even over, and emphatically punched the air a stride before the wire. It was the fourth stakes win for both Santana and Asmussen on the Sunday card that featured 10 stakes.
"Remington means a ton to me," Asmussen said. "The first time we were ever leading trainer was here in (1992). Remington Park is definitely a place we got rolling and got started, and it was very frustrating for us that we'd never won the (Oklahoma) Derby ... so hopefully this will be the first of many."
Untrapped didn't get a conventional trip in the Oklahoma Derby, either. After a good break from post 5, he pressed early leader Gato Del Oro entering the first turn, but was in the less-than-ideal inside position on the rail in the early duel. He dropped back to third in the backstretch, while B Squared moved up to press the pace as the opening fractions went in :23.90 and :47.54, and was passed by Battle of Midway, Colonelsdarktemper, and Altito in the final turn.
But Santana bided his time, shifted Untrapped to the outside in the stretch, and the dark bay colt began to gobble up ground on the leaders. Battle of Midway put a head in front of fellow Southern California shipper Gato Del Oro with a furlong to run, but was no match late for Untrapped, who hit the wire in 1:48.62.
"I was watching Ricardo's move, and I've kinda gotten to know him through the years," Langford said. "When he made that outside move—I'll be honest—for a second, (I thought) maybe we should have gone this way, and he went out. But when the horse made his move, I felt comfortable with it. Ricky really knows how to rate a horse and does well."
Battle of Midway, off as the 7-5 favorite in the field of 8, checked hard in the first turn under jockey Flavien Prat when he got caught behind the early leaders and sqeezed between horses, but finished well clear in second, 3 1/4 lengths ahead of Gato Del Oro.
Girvin, winner of the betfair.com Haskell Invitational Stakes (G1), was never seriously involved and finished fifth, six lengths behind the winner.