There are times when stakes races have names that do not really fit, yet the Remington Springboard Mile is not one of them. The name fits like a glove. It’s a mid-December race for 2-year-olds around two turns that can propel them into a successful sophomore season – aka a springboard. A field of 12 has assembled for Sunday’s race, including several with graded stakes experience, and it just might put someone on the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve trail, as it did last year with Long Range Toddy. For sure, it will award the top finishers points toward a starting spot in the Kentucky Derby on a 10-4-2-1 basis for finishing first through fourth.
Remington Springboard Mile
1. Piece of Work (12-1): Was a highly impressive debut winner, drawing off to win by 6 ½ lengths at six furlongs in front-running style. He’s put in a useful seven furlong drill for this and, though it’s two turns, the stretchout from six to eight furlongs is not an impossible obstacle.
JOCKEY: Luis S. Quinonez TRAINER: Allen Milligan
2. Alternate Time (20-1): He’s undefeated after two starts, though he’s also trying two turns for the first time. His longest race was at 6 ½ furlongs and he also has nice early speed that should make him an early pace factor. The question mark is that he’s never been on a dry, fast track and that could be a game-changer.
3. Rowdy Yates (7-2): He has thrived since moving to Remington Park, winning two stakes by a combined seven lengths, the last one at a mile. He faced the likes of Dennis’ Moment in the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes and with Steve Asmussen as his trainer – who is poised to win his 15th Remington training title - he should be a major factor.
4. Answer In (5-2): Was a decisive winner of a Churchill Downs maiden race at seven furlongs after losing by a nose in his debut. Hasn’t raced since October but he put in a sharp bullet work to prepare for this. The added distance should help his late-running style and put him in the picture at the end.
5. Jungle Runner (15-1): Needed three cracks to break his maiden and won by a little more than four lengths. Followed that up with a solid win in a Remington stakes at seven furlongs. He’s also trained by Asmussen and seems to be heading into his 3-year-old season in the right way.
6. Shipman’s Song (30-1): Turned in a vastly improved effort to register a maiden win in his fourth try. Ran well enough in that race to be a factor here but if he bounces off such a big effort, he’ll be hard-pressed to be a factor here.
JOCKEY: Lori Keith TRAINER: Michael Biehler
7. Southgate (30-1): Finished fourth behind Rowdy Yates in his last two starts, losing by a combined 16 lengths. He’s never been worse than fourth in six career starts but it’s hard to imagine how he can make up that gap between him and Rowdy Yates.
JOCKEY: Floyd Wethey Jr. TRAINER: Scott Young
8. Embolden (9-2): His last four starts came on turf and included a third in a Grade 3 stakes at Belmont Park. All of that might work against him here, but he was second in his lone start on dirt and his breeding indicates he should be effective on the main track as well. Certainly, he can’t be ignored.
9. Shoplifted (5-1): Asmussen’s third starter seemed to have a bright future when he finished second in the Grade 1 Runhappy Hopeful Stakes to stablemate Basin. He did an about-face when he shipped west, finishing fifth in the Grade 1 American Pharoah and seventh in the Grade 1 TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Gets a big dose of class relief here and might perk up with a big effort.
10. Maximiliano (5-1): Another interesting possibility who is stretching out from a sprint. Was a distant second to a highly touted Pletcher firster in his debut then won on the front end in a Keeneland maiden race. He took a big step forward last time, but he should be part of a contested pace and his post may work against him with a relative short run to the first turn.
11. Kirkcules (30-1): Was second by 4 ¾ lengths to Rowdy Yates last time out in a one-mile stakes when he had an inside trip. Breaking from post 11 doesn’t help his cause in the rematch.
JOCKEY: Lane Luzzi TRAINER: Karl Craddock
12. Slew Tang Clan (50-1): Perhaps if Ghostface Killah was riding him, he would rate a big shot, but here, as a maiden looking for a stakes win from the outside post, he’s a longshot at best.
JOCKEY: Dakota Wood TRAINER: Kevin Scholl
THE PICK: Rowdy Yates
LIVE LONGSHOT: Jungle Runner