The Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve takes a detour to Oklahoma for Friday’s $400,000 Remington Springboard Mile Stakes at Remington Park, an always-competitive event pitting local 2-year-olds against out-of-state shippers in a battle for Kentucky Derby qualification points.
Although the Springboard Mile isn’t a graded stakes, the one-mile race typically draws a quality field, and it’s not uncommon to see the Springboard Mile turn out Kentucky Derby starters. Since 2011, five Springboard Mile runners have gone on to compete in the Kentucky Derby, including future champion Will Take Charge. It’s easy to see why the race awards Kentucky Derby qualification points in a 10-4-2-1 basis to the top four finishers.
Nine horses have been entered in the 2021 Springboard Mile, with #2 Make It Big the 7-2 morning line favorite. Certainly, the dark bay colt has shown promise; he’s undefeated in two starts for high-percentage trainer Saffie Joseph Jr., dominating his debut at Gulfstream Park by 8 1/2 lengths before adding a 2 1/4-length score in the Ocala Stud Juvenile Sprint Stakes to his resume.
But is Make It Big destined for victory in the Springboard Mile? Not necessarily. He’s never run farther than seven-eighths of a mile, so stretching out in distance is at least a small question mark. And so far, Make It Big has competed exclusively against fellow Florida-bred horses. The Springboard Mile is open to all 2-year-olds, so the competition figures to be stiffer.
A logical alternative is #5 Classic Moment. He, too, has been competing in sprints, but as a son of 2016 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner and Grade 1 Preakness Stakes runner-up Classic Empire, stretching out in distance shouldn’t be an issue.
Classic Moment has shown meaningful talent in his first two starts for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen. In his debut at Keeneland, Classic Moment dueled for the lead through quick fractions before settling for third place, beaten less than one length. Then, in a maiden special weight at Churchill Downs, Classic Moment escaped with easier fractions up front before battling on to win by half a length.
In terms of Brisnet speed ratings, Classic Moment is almost as fast as Make It Big—while the latter posted figures of 89 in his two victories, Classic Moment threw down an 88 in his maiden win. And there are reasons to believe Classic Moment can improve in the Springboard Mile. For starters, he’ll be running on Lasix (furosemide) for the first time, a winning move 26% of the time for Asmussen. Furthermore, Asmussen has won the Springboard Mile half a dozen times (including three times since 2014) and has named hot jockey Stewart Elliott to ride Classic Moment.
Taking all of these factors together, Classic Moment appears poised to give Make It Big a tussle for victory. We’ll plan on betting Classic Moment to win and keying him on top of exacta and trifecta tickets … but who should we use underneath?
Aside from Make It Big, #9 Osbourne offers appeal. After finishing second in his debut at Churchill Downs (beaten only by next-out Street Sense Stakes winner Howling Time), Osbourne employed dueling tactics to win his second start by 1 3/4 lengths. With Brisnet speed ratings of 89 and 87 under his belt, Osbourne is fast enough to challenge for hot trainer Ron Moquett, a 28% winner at Remington Park this meet.
#6 Rowdy Rascal must also be considered. The improving gelding has won his last three starts at Remington, including a pair of stakes. He’s even proven at the distance of the Springboard Mile, rallying from midfield to dominate the Don C. McNeill Stakes by three lengths. He’s not as fast as the favorites in terms of speed ratings, but his affinity for the local track can’t be dismissed.
Asmussen’s Kip Deville Stakes winner #1 Concept and Clever Trevor Stakes runner-up #8 Revenir are others we’ll use at the bottom of deeper tickets. On the other hand, we’ll try to beat #3 Bye Bye Bobby, who capitalized on a very fast pace when rallying to win his debut sprinting at Zia Park.
Wagering Strategy on a $10 Budget
$6 to win on #5 Classic Moment
What to say at the betting window: Remington Park, 12th race, $6 to win on 5
$2 exacta: 5 with 2,9 ($4)
What to say at the betting window: Remington Park, 12th race, $2 exacta 5 with 2,9
Wagering Strategy on a $30 Budget
$14 to win on #5 Classic Moment
What to say at the betting window: Remington Park, 12th race, $14 to win on 5
$4 exacta: 5 with 2,9 ($8)
What to say at the betting window: Remington Park, 12th race, $4 exacta 5 with 2,9
$1 trifecta: 5 with 2,9 with 1,2,6,8,9 ($8)
What to say at the betting window: Remington Park, 12th race, $1 trifecta 5 with 2,9 with 1,2,6,8,9
Good luck, and enjoy the race!