Probable Oklahoma Derby, Remington Park Oaks fields grow

By Dale Day/Remington Park
September 19, 2019 09:22am

Cairo Cat, a Churchill Downs stakes winner, has been added to the list of horses likely to compete Sept. 29 in the Grade 3, $400,000 Oklahoma Derby against Long Range Toddy, Tax, Mucho Gusto and Owendale.


All four of the latter horses have been winners among the top sophomores racing in 2019.

Long Range Toddy won the Springboard Mile at Remington Park as a juvenile and a division of the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., this spring.

Tax won the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga in upstate New York on July 27.

Mucho Gusto won both the Grade 3 Laz Barrera Stakes and the Grade 3 Affirmed Stakes at Santa Anita in California this spring and then pushed the best horses in the country in the 3-year-old division this summer. Trained by National Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, Mucho Gusto held his own after the weather heated up, running second to Maximum Security in the Grade 1 Haskell at Monmouth and third in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes at Saratoga.

Owendale won the Grade 3 Ohio Derby at Thistledown after losing by only 1 1/4 lengths in the Preakness to War of Will.


Now, Cairo Cat comes from the barn of trainer Kenny McPeek to land in the Oklahoma Derby mix. This son of Cairo Prince, out of the Tale of the Cat mare La Belle Cat, has won two of five starts, including the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs going 1-1/16th miles on Sept. 15 as a 2-year-old in 2018. He has run third and fourth in his two 3-year-old races this year.


Nominations closed with 41 named as possibilities for the race. Here’s a look at some of the other horses likely to go to the gate for the Derby at 1-1/8th miles:


A second-place run in the Grade 3 West Virginia Derby in early August earned Chess Chief an opportunity in the Mid-Summer Derby at Saratoga. Trained by Dallas Stewart, Chess Chief is still searching for his first victory in a graded event. 


Richard Mandella is hoping Extra Hope, a son of Shanghai Bobby, can get some revenge against Long Range Toddy, who beat him in the Rebel Stakes in March. This colt has not run since that race that saw him finish fourth, 3 1/2 lengths back. He has yet to win his first stakes race.


Carlos L is 75-25 about coming to the Oklahoma Derby, according to Remington Park stakes coordinator Don Thompson. If he does come to Oklahoma City, he will add a little international flavor to the race. Trainer Jorge Navarro conditions this son of Hold Me Back, who would enter off a 13 3/4-length win in Panama's Grade 1 Cl Pres de la Republica Stakes.

Meanwhile, the early list of likely 3-year-old fillies to race in the Grade 3, $200,000 Remington Park Oaks on Oklahoma Derby Day include stakes winners Classic Fit, Flor De La Mar, Lady Apple and Taylor’s Spirit, according to Thompson.


Classic Fit won the Hut Hut Stakes at Gulfstream Park as a 2-year-old and then was laid off from December 2018 to June of this summer. Godolphin must not have thought the layoff was going to take anything out of her because they ambitiously placed her in her first race back in the Grade 2 Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park in New York.  She led most of the way in the 1 1/16-mile race before finishing second. She is versatile showing that front-running style after coming from dead last to win the Florida stakes. She has won three of six starts lifetime for trainer Michael Stidham.


Baffert has committed Mucho Gusto to the Derby and will likely load Flor de La Mar on the Tex Sutton Equine Air Charter to try the Oaks. Flor de La Mar, a daughter of Tiznow, out of the Pulpit mare Sacristy, is another Godolphin stakes winner. She is coming off a victory in the Beverly Lewis Stakes at Los Alamitos.


Steve Asmussen trains Lady Apple for Phoenix Thoroughbred III and Katie Rich Stables. A daughter of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, out of the Clever Trick mare Miss Mary Apples, is a multiple stakes winner this year, taking the Grade 3 Iowa Oaks at Prairie Meadows on July 5 and the Grade 3 Fantasy Stakes on April 12 at Oaklawn.


The second-place finisher in the Iowa Oaks behind Lady Apple by only a half-length, Ulele also is expected for the Remington Oaks. She is trained by Brad Cox and owned by Cheyenne Stables, LLC.


Taylor's Spirit won the Panthers Stakes at Prairie Meadows on June 6 for trainer Scott Gelner and owners Mark Norman and Norman Stables, LLC.

Oklahoma Derby Day will feature eight stakes events and purses surpassing $1.1 million. The first race of the afternoon is at 3 p.m. CT.


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