Analysis: Shippers strong in Remington's Springboard Mile

December 16, 2018 10:02pm
Analysis: Shippers strong in Remington's Springboard Mile
Photo: Chelsea Durand/NYRA
The now-$400,000 Remington Springboard Mile has risen in importance over the years. In 2017, the race offered Kentucky Derby points for the first time, and the purse continues to steadily increase as well. Even with those improvements, the race still lacks a graded status, but that is likely to arrive at some point soon.

On Sunday, 11 2019 Kentucky Derby hopefuls are slated to give the race a shot, and Epic Dreamer looks like a standout among them. Trained by Kelly Breen and ridden by Javier Castellano, this 2-year-old Orb colt gives the impression of a horse moving forward.

Going by Epic Dreamer’s last start alone, he only looks mildly interesting as an Oct. 26 maiden winner at Belmont Park by over two lengths with a 104 TimeformUS Speed Figure. But in watching the replay more closely, you see that he won the race effortlessly on the lead. Castellano only gave a hand ride toward the end, leaving plenty in the tank.

Epic Dreamer’s Sept. 23 debut is solid, too, as he finished a good second to a promising horse in Vekoma. He earned a 114 for this race, which perhaps shows Epic Dreamer did not try too hard in his second start. Vekoma won the Nashua Stakes (G3) next time out, while the third-place Mihos returned to break his maiden.

Castellano hopping aboard this horse again for Breen is a good sign, as the two horsemen do not work together often. Also, the Pace Projector predicts a fast pace with Epic Dreamer down on the inside, but a smart jockey such as Castellano should adjust.

If he receives a semi-decent trip, Epic Dreamer looks like the pick.  

Besides Epic Dreamer, Dunph and Bankit are two other shippers to consider. The former finished a woeful ninth in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) at Churchill, losing by 14 lengths. But Dunph did not run as poor as the margin makes it seem.

First of all, TimeformUS marked the first three fractions in red. Dunph raced about three lengths off the leader, meaning he endured at least some of that fast pace.

On the far turn, Dunph ranged up on the outside and set himself up for a run. He only came up empty because they went too fast early on. The first three finishers for this race (Signalman, Plus Que Parfait, Limonite) initially started sixth, 10th and 13th.

The Springboard Mile pace is supposed to go fast as well, but TimeformUS also believes the competition is softer. Against Remington Park locals, Dunph should last longer.  

Bankit raced at Belmont in his past two starts, and on Oct. 20 he won the New York-bred restricted Sleepy Hollow Stakes from off the pace with a 101 figure.

Before that, he set the pace and faded to fourth in the Bertram F. Bongard Stakes, also restricted to state-breds. In his other three starts, Bankit set the pace as well.

The comments indicate he lost footing at the break in the Sleepy Hollow, meaning he seems likely to show his usual speed for trainer Steve Asmussen on Sunday. 

With a fast projected, this will make the task difficult, but he might endure it.

Those three outsiders hold the best chance. However, bettors may want to give Marquee Prince consideration at least underneath. The Cairo Prince colt ran in the Street Sense Stakes, closing for a decent fifth against the talented Improbable.

Out of the local horses, Tone Broke appears best as he recently won an optional claimer from behind after overcoming a slow pace. Springboard Mile entrant Kaziranga also competed in the same optional claimer, and he ran slightly closer on the inside and managed to slip through a hole, while Tone Broke rallied four wide on the turn.

Tone Broke’s damside pedigree tilts toward turf, and the connections know this as Asmussen entered him in a Sept. 26 maiden race on grass. But the race got moved to the main track and he won by more than 15 lengths with a low 74 figure, before improving to a 91 in the Nov. 23 win over Kaziranga. With another step forward, he can contend.

The last Asmussen horse to seriously consider is Long Range Toddy, who took the local Clever Trevor Stakes on Nov. 2 with a pressing trip. He earned a 101. It is notable Tobacco Road ran third, and he is yet another Asmussen entrant in this race.

Even though the slow pace favored Long Range Toddy, he looked good from a visual standpoint, finishing strong with some left-handed whips. In contrast, Tobacco Road ranged up on the outside and initially looked like a challenger before hanging like a chandelier in midstretch. He failed to even hold off Cajun Firecracker for second late.

The Pace Projector puts Long Range Toddy slightly behind the hot pace, along with Dunph. If he takes one more step forward, he can possibly contend for the win.

Six Shooter may attract some attention for winning an allowance race at Churchill Downs, but he accomplished this closing into a fast pace against weak horses. Defeating names such as Go Away and Pole Setter is nothing to get excited about.

Now, Six Shooter did earn a 96, higher than the recommended Tone Broke above. But fast-paced races promote a higher speed figure. The feeling is that Tone Broke’s ceiling remains high, while Six Shooter will even out into a regular allowance horse.

Dobbins G and D Toz complete the field, and neither of them hold a realistic chance at winning. Out of the horses discussed above them, Kaziranga, Six Shooter and Tobacco Road are tosses from the win and place positions as well. Limit them underneath.

Epic Dreamer should handle this field and move on to become a leading Kentucky Derby hopeful. This Orb colt holds the right numbers and visual appearance, plus Castellano believes in him. Maybe he will turn in an epic performance. If not, the race becomes more open, but the other outsiders still look strong.


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Meet Reinier Macatangay

My first time at the racetrack came as a 5-year-old kid at Santa Anita Park. For most of my younger life, that was the only track I attended other the occasional visit to Hollywood Park. 

Years later, after graduating California State University, Stanislaus with an English MA, I began writing for Lady and the Track. From late 2014-2016, my articles were seen on a weekly basis and covered handicapping, interviews with well-known racing personalities, fashion and more. 

The handicapping style I use concentrates on pace analysis. Some horses are compromised by the pace. Others are helped. Handicappers just starting out cannot easily see how pace affects the finish, so with this blog, I hope to help those unsure of how to apply pace into their handicapping and post-race analysis. 

On an unrelated note, I enjoy video games and attending anime or comic-book conventions. I am currently based in Kentucky, but spend a lot of time traveling between there and California.

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