The $200,000 Remington Springboard Mile Stakes Friday evening at Remington Park is a traditional December showcase for 2-year-olds who are just starting out on the Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve, as this race awards a total of 17 points including 10 to the winner. Eleven colts and geldings are entered in this race, led by a pair of horses who last competed on Future Stars Friday as part of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Keeneland last month.
Outadore is one of the two, having finished third in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Stakes Presented by Coolmore America following a victory in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint in September. The other is Cowan, runner-up in the Grade 2 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, following a runner-up effort in the Indian Summer Stakes one month earlier and a third-place effort behind Outadore at Kentucky Downs before that. Game Day Play enters the race off a win in the Clever Trevor Stakes at Remington Park at the end of October and tries two turns for the first time. Number One Dude won the Don C. McNeill Stakes at a mile last month versus Oklahoma-breds and faces open (not restricted) company for the first time. Gushing Oil was sent to the post as the prohibitive favorite in the Clever Trevor but only managed seventh. Red and Wild missed by a head in the Clever Trevor before stretching out to this mile distance and winning so he appears to be ready to compete. Vim and Vigor was beaten just a half-length by Red N Wild when finishing third in that one-mile race and may also be competitive in this situation. Recent maiden winners Flash of Mischief and Senor Buscador are facing much tougher competition here and are of unknown quality. Saffa’s Day earned his maiden win first time out in October in a sprint before a sixth-place effort in the Nyquist Stakes, both at Keeneland. Similarly, Joe Frazier won smartly in his debut sprinting in October at Keeneland but when asked to stretch out to two turns last month at Churchill Downs he faded to third after leading early and was beaten by over six lengths.
Outadore was fairly impressive winning the first two starts of his career, including the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint in a field of 10 in September. Earning a 91 Equibase Speed Figure for that win, Outadore stretched out to a mile on grass for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and ran very well as he led early, kept on well into early stretch, and was beaten just a neck for the runner-up spot as the winner drew off by three lengths. That effort earned a career-best 109 figure, the highest in Friday’s Springboard Mile field. Although all three of his career races to date have been on turf, I see no reason Outadore won’t run as well on dirt as a son of Outwork, who is by exceptional sire Uncle Mo. On the dam’s side of his pedigree, two of the dam’s other foals have run very well in dirt routes, including Piedi Bianchi, who has earned over half a million dollars. He’ll have blinkers taken off to help him relax and comes into this race off of a very strong five-furlong workout on dirt, and he has the ability to be sitting in second or third position early off likely leader Saffa’s Day. Outadore has a big shot to win the Remington Springboard Mile Stakes and put his name in the hat as an early Kentucky Derby contender.
Cowan will likely have to deal with more traffic than Outadore as he routinely comes from much further back in the pack, but other than that he has a strong probability to compete effectively in this race. In the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Stakes won by Outadore in September, Cowan rallied nicely but too late when third with blinkers added, then next out he rallied fast once again, this time for second in the Indian Summer Stakes. Staying around one turn for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint last month, Cowan put in a big late rally which fell just three-quarters of a length short of victory at 11.10-1 odds. That effort earned Cowan a strong 97 figure which may be good enough to win if Outadore does not repeat or improve off his last race. Jockey Stewart Elliott rides for the first time but has been aboard many of trainer Steve Asmussen’s winners at Remington Park in the last year and will likely give Cowan a great trip on his way to an in-the-money finish at the least.
Number One Dude is a perfect three-for-three in his career, including his only try at this mile trip. That win came at Remington Park last month in the Don C. McNeill Stakes. Although that race was restricted to horses bred in Oklahoma, Number One Dude improved 16 points to an 89 figure, and with a similar improvement may be capable of running as fast as the two top contenders in this year’s Springboard Mile at higher odds.
The rest of the field, with their best Equibase Speed Figures, is Flash of Mischief (78), Game Day Play (80), Gushing Oil (83), Joe Frazier (84), Red N Wild (80), Saffa’s Day (89), Senor Buscador (77) and Vim and Vigor (79).
Win Contenders, in preference order:
Number One Dude