West Coast-based trainer Doug O’Neill has confirmed he will enter Team Merchants in the Grade 3, $400,000 Oklahoma Derby on Sept. 26, Remington Park stakes coordinator Don Thompson has announced.
O’Neill said Team Merchants should arrive in Oklahoma City via a Fed Ex jet from California on Sept. 22. O’Neill trained two horses to Kentucky Derby wins – Nyquist in 2015 and I’ll Have Another in 2012. Team Merchants is a Kentucky-bred son of Nyquist, out of the Square Eddie mare Edwina E. The colt, bred and owned by Reddam Racing, is lightly raced with five starts, two wins and $88,940 earned. His regular rider is Mario Gutierrez, who rode both of O’Neill’s Kentucky Derby winners in their run for the roses. Team Merchants has yet to win a stakes race in his career.
Keepmeinmind, a 3-year-old that lost by a neck to Essential Quality in the Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) at Saratoga this summer, has been nominated to the Oklahoma Derby. He is trained by Robertino Diodoro and owned by Cypress Creek Equine, Arnold Bennewith and Spendthrift Farm.
Others already announcing earlier they expectation to run in the Oklahoma Derby include Arkansas Derby (G1) and Ellis Park Derby winner Super Stock out of Steve Asmussen’s barn. Asmussen is the all-time winningest trainer in North American racing history.
Fulsome, a colt by the top sire in the country, Into Mischief, out of the Distorted Humor mare Flourish, could be sent to the Derby by Brad Cox for Juddmonte Farms. Cox is the second-leading trainer in the country behind Asmussen in earnings this year. Fulsome has won four of his last five starts, including the Smarty Jones Stakes (G3) at Parx. He also won the Matt Winn Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs.
Mr. Wireless, a gelding by Dialed In, out of the Arch mare Voussoir, is from trainer Bret Calhoun’s barn and runs for owner JIL Stable. He has won four of his last five starts, including two Grade 3 races – the West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Park and the Indiana Derby at Indiana Grand.
King Fury, a colt by Curlin, out of the Flatter mare Taris, resides in trainer Kenny McPeek’s barn. He is owned by Three Chimneys Farm and Fern Circle Stables and has a win in the Lexington Stakes (G3) at Keeneland in April, before running second in the Ohio Derby (G3) at Thistledown in June.
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