Oklahoma Derby 2016: Posts, Odds & Picks
Oklahoma Derby 2016: Posts, Odds & Picks by Kari Ward– It’s Stakes-Palooza time! Remington Park is ready for their time in the limelight this weekend as they host the 28th annual Oklahoma Derby, which is Oklahoma’s richest Thoroughbred race. The Grade III event is for 3 year-olds and up running 1 1/8 miles (9 furlongs) on the dirt for a purse of $400,000. This race tops off a card that carries purses over $1.4 million including the Remington Park Oaks, The Governor’s Cup, The Remington Green and the Kip Deville Stakes among many others.
This will be my second year to attend and I’m sitting here right now in Tulsa, Oklahoma with my mom finishing this article and waiting for Saturday to arrive so we can get the show on the road. Remington Park is a beautiful track with lots of fan friendly folks to meet. I can’t wait for tomorrow to get here so I can spend two days at this beautiful track, in a beautiful state, that I still call home.
Local trainer Donnie Von Hemel owns the most wins with three; Clever Trevor (1989) and Queen’s Gray Bee (1991) who gave him his first two Oklahoma Derby wins, back when the race was known as the Remington Park Derby. He won again in 2007 with Going Ballistic for his third score in the race. The track record is held by Classic Cat set in 1998 at 1:48.00. Last year this race was won by trainer C.R. Trout and his boy Shotgun Kowboy. He is not entered this year in any of the races and I’m a little bummed about not getting to see him race.
Remington Park also features the Bricktown Brewery on the casino floor which is part of the whole experience and the track. They are open daily at 10:30 am for casino gaming and simulcast racing where admission, general parking and valet parking are always free. They are the only Racetrack & Casino in Oklahoma. They are located at the junction of Interstates 35 & 44, in the heart of the Oklahoma Adventure District. For more information, reservations and group bookings you can call 405-424-1000, 866-456-9880 or visit remingtonpark.com.
We have a field of 11 lined up with some awfully nice ones shipping in from all over the country as well as three who last ran in the Canadian Derby. The 2016 Oklahoma Derby is the 11th race of the day on a card of 12 with a post time of 7:40 p.m. CST.
The Bret Calhoun trained son of Trappe Shot has caught my eye lately and I’m siding with Fish Trappe Road for the win in the Oklahoma Derby. His one shot at two-turns he finished 7th in the Lecomte Stakes earlier this year. Last out he ran 6th in the Grade 1 King’s Bishop and took my money. He also got left at the break in that race and he seems to do well either running out front or definitely being right there behind the leaders. He has really improved this year and has run some bang-up races. Fish Trappe Road has a nice shot in here with his high-cruising speed if they can get him to relax for the 1 1/8 mile distance. Bejarano ships in to ride and that’s a plus. *He moves up huge if the track is off, which it looks to be Sunday with 90% chance of rain. He broke his maiden in the mud going 7f at Belmont last fall by 9 3/4 lengths, so 9f muddy shouldn’t be a problem.
I like one of the Robertino Diodoro runners Way Striking. The son of Smart Strike is coming in off two turf races where he finished up 4th in both at Canterbury Park. Prior he ran in July at Canterbury going 1 1/16 on the dirt, finishing up in 1:41.2. However, the track looks like it was upgraded that day to fast dirt, as was off the turf, so the track was probably playing to speed and he ran away with that race, winning by 14 lengths. He garnered a 106 Brisnet speed figure that day, the highest of the Okie Derby field. I like him to hit the board big time with Joe Talamo shipping in and the morning line of 10-1 from post #2. He looks like he could show some early speed as well.
The son of First Dude Sticksstatelydude warrants a shot and a look from me. This 3 year-old trained by Greg Burchell broke his maiden in fine fashion last fall at Saratoga, followed that up with a 4th place finish in the GI Keeneland Claiborne Breeders Futurity off a 2 month layoff plus a troubled trip. He was sidelined with an injury before last years Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Stakes and shelved for nine months. He won 2nd off the layoff in an allowance race at Belmont going a mile on the dirt. He stumbled out of the gate and rallied to win. It was a nice performance and he definitely took a step forward. Last out on September 5th in the GIII Smarty Jones at Parx, he ran a credible fourth after a troubled trip. Joe Rosario ships in to ride. *Plus on him is trainer Burchell has 50% stat as the beaten favorite, so game on.
Texas Chrome looks to be the horse to beat in this race off that Grade III Super Derby at Louisiana Downs September 10th. The son of Grasshopper is looking for this third straight win and trainer J.R. Caldwell has had him in training at Remington Park most of the summer. In 12 career start this boy has this the top there in every race but one. He retains top rider at Remington Park C.J. McMahon. He drew the rail and with his odds, I don’t know. I’ll most likely try to beat him, at my own risk.
Donnie Von Hemel sends in the lightly raced son of Curlin Secret Passage a promising 2 year-old that ran here last fall. He was 4th in the Super Derby Prelude Stakes at Louisiana Downs on August 6th, his first race in 2016. The winner of that race was Texas Chrome, whom he faces again. Von Hemel has 17% stat for 46-90 days away plus Flourent Geroux ships in to ride. I’d take a shot with him on that stat alone. Von Hemel will attempt to make this his all-time leading 4th win in the Oklahoma Derby.
We have three shipping in from Northlands that ran in the Canadian Derby, so a nice prep race for these three. Ready Intaglio was the winner and is trained by Amber Meyaard, who has 100% stat for trainer in Graded Stakes. He owns the biggest win streak with three behind him coming into this race and has a nice breeze at Remington Saturday 4f in :49.87. Violette Shane rides from post #10.
The other two Canadian runners were 2nd and 4th respectively, Solve and Inside Straight. Both are trained by Robertino Diodoro who is no stranger to winning the Oklahoma Derby as he did with Broadway Empire in 2013, who also won the Canadian Derby prior to winning the Oklahoma Derby.
Todd Pletcher has arrived at Remington Park with his entrant Ready Dancer who had a nice win at 1 1/8 two races back at Belmont in June. Last out he was fourth in the Curlin Stakes Blacktype behind Connected, Gift Box & Forever d’ Oro. Velazquez ships in for his first time riding at Remington and that is a plus. He’s also the 3rd ml favorite at 5-1, most likely because of the connections, despite not racing on over 58 days.
Trainer Boyd Caster sends in his lightly raced son of Pulpit Pass the Buck who is also going turf to dirt and should improve, as he won on the dirt in his two prior races at Prairie Meadows. He lost that turf race by a head as the beaten favorite. Israel Campo rides, Caster is a high % trainer at this track as well as 24% trainer with the beaten favorite. Could surprise & hit the board as Pass the Buck has a race record of 4:2:2.
Last but not least, we have the lightly raced colt Dallas Stewart ships in Seeking Blame. This son of Blame has not raced in more than 2 months and last out was 5th in the Indiana Derby in July. Prior he broke his maiden going 1 1/16 at Churchill where he drew away to win by 3 3/4 lengths. Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. has ridden him in all three of his races and he ships in to ride from post #12.
So take your pick folks. This race was much more harder for me to handicap than last year as I was sold on Shotgun Kowboy. I’m not sold on Texas Chrome, which means I probably lose. I’ll take a shot with Fish Trappe Road as the top winner in this race. His odds won’t be promising, especially with an off track. So I’ll most likely play some kind of trifecta key and wheel a few around. I’ll also play an exacta box with Fish Trappe Road, Sticksstatelydude, Way Striking and Secret Passage and hope to beat Texas Chrome. Good luck to everyone and safe trips to all. See you at Remington Park this weekend.
*Fun Fact: Remington Park has provided over $153 Million to the State of Oklahoma’s general education fund since the opening of the casino in 2005, plus they are tracked by over 106,000 fans on Facebook and 7,400 followers on Twitter. They are located at the junction of Interstates 35 & 44, in the heart of the Oklahoma City Adventure District. For more information, reservations and group bookings, please call 405-424-1000, 866-456-9880 or visit remingtonpark.com.
Dale Day of Remington Park Talks Oklahoma Derby
Oklahoma Derby 2016 Post Positions & Odds
1. Texas Chrome 9/5 C.McMahon/J.Caldwell
2. Way Striking 10/1 J.Talamo/R.Diodoro
3. Ready Dancer 5/1 J.Velazquez/T.Pletcher
4. Inside Straight 30/1 S.Stevens/R.Diodoro
5. Sticksstatelydude 15/1 J.Rosario/G.Burchell
6. Secret Passage 20/1 F.Geroux/D. Von Hemel
7. Fish Trappe Road 2/1 R.Bejarano/W.Calhoun
8. Solve 30/1 G.Franco/R.Diodoro
9. Pass The Buck 20/1 I.Ocampo/B.Caster
10. Ready Intaglio 30/1 A.Laviolette/A.Meyaard
11. Seeking Blame 15/1 B.Hernandez Jr./D.Stewart