Special to The Sun
OKLA. CITY —
The $250,000 Springboard Mile, Remington Park’s most important stakes event for 2-year-olds, drew a field of 12 this morning. The resumes of the competitors have been compiled from coast-to-coast and now their talents converge in Oklahoma City Sunday afternoon.
Will Take Charge, likely the Eclipse Award winner as Champion 3-year-old for2013, was second in last year’s Springboard Mile. His successes this year included wins in the $1,000,000 Travers Stakes at Saratoga in upstate New York and the $1,000,000 Pennsylvania Derby in Philadelphia prior to finishing second by just a nose in the $5,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita Park. Will Take Charge capped his year with a win in the $500,000 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.
The local contingent for this year’s Springboard is led by some recently impressive victors, including Smack Smack who won the prep race for the Springboard, the $100,000 Clever Trevor Stakes in November. Owned by music superstar Toby Keith’s Dream Walkin Farms of Norman and trained by Don Von Hemel, the patriarch of the training Von Hemel family, Smack Smack rallied from well back to win the Clever Trevor by a half-length under regular rider Jake Barton who will be up Sunday.
Guns Loaded and Dunkin Bend also enter the Springboard out of the Clever Trevor Stakes. Guns Loaded had the lead through most of the stretch in the seven-furlong Clever Trevor before Smack Smack went by just before the finish. Guns Loaded was third in the Grade II, $150,000 Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar in southern California in August before running fifth in the Grade I, $300,000 Del Mar Futurity in September.
Dunkin Bend settled for fourth in the race, he had previously won the Grade III, $100,000 Sapling Stakes at Monmouth Park prior to his Remington Park debut.
Boji Moon was sixth in his most recent out, the Grade III, $150,000 Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky. in October. Prior to his loss, Boji Moon was undefeated through three attempts which included a triumph in the $150,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile, at seven furlongs over turf, in September. Trainer Chris Richard gave the gelding by Cactus Ridge a bullet half-mile breeze in :46.2/5 seconds at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark. on Wednesday morning before entering.
Despite his first career loss, Boji Moon has been tabbed as the 4-1 morning-line favorite by Remington Park oddsmaker Jerry Shottenkirk. “Boji Moon tired very late as the 2-1 wagering favorite in the Grade III Bourbon Stakes. He is 2-for-2 on dirt and might rate the slightest of edges against an evenly-matched group.”
Still undefeated through a pair of Remington Park starts, Walt enters the Springboard after an eye-opening performance at Remington on Dec. 4. Owned by Black Hawk Stable of Elk City, and trained by Chris Hartman of Edmond, Walt drew away in the 6 1/2 furlong sprint to win by 9 3/4 lengths under Ken Tohill. The colt by Run Away And Hide was never encouraged by Tohill in the race, running under a complete hand ride to an easy score.
Trainer Wesley Ward, a two-time winner of the Oklahoma Derby (Pleasant Prince in 2010 & Politicallycorrect in 2012) will send Noble Cornerstone in the Springboard off a rollicking maiden win at Aqueduct in early November against New York-breds. Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux has been named to ride Noble Cornerstone who won his six-furlong debut by 5 1/2 lengths.
Other stakes winners entered to the Springboard: Alpha and Omega, winner of the Oklahoma Stallion Stakes for colts and geldings on Nov. 29; and Pachanga Party, winner of the Birdonthewire Stakes at Calder Race Course in Miami Gardens, Fla. in September.
The field by program and saddle towel order for the $250,000 Springboard Mile, with trainer, jockey and morning-line odds:
1. Alpha And Omega: Kari Craddock, Glen Murphy, 20-1
2. Dunkin Bend: Steve Asmussen, Ramon Vazquez, 8-1
3. Divine View: Larry Jones, Norberto Arroyo, Jr., 8-1
4. Walt: Chris Hartman, Ken Tohill, 10-1
5. Smack Smack: Don Von Hemel, Jake Barton, 6-1
6. Louies Flower: Bret Calhoun, Luis Quinonez, 12-1
7. Pachanga Party: Wesley Ward, David Flores, 12-1
8. Noble Cornerstone: Wesley Ward, Kent Desormeaux, 5-1
9. Boji Moon: Chris Richard, Terry Thompson, 4-1
10. Big Sugar High: Tim Martin, Glenn Corbett, 30-1
11. Denali Rahy Ruler: Tim Martin, Alex Birzer, 30-1
12. Guns Loaded: Cody Autrey, Cliff Berry, 6-1
The Springboard will be the ninth of 11 races on Sunday afternoon. The first race is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. with the Springboard slated for 5:14 p.m.
Other stakes races on the Sunday program include: the $50,000 Jim Thorpe Stakes (race 3, 2:26); the $50,000 Useeit Stakes (race 5, 3:22) and the $50,000 Trapeze Stakes (race 10, 5:42).