Rattle N Roll holds on for victory in Oklahoma Derby

Rattle N Roll holds on for victory in Oklahoma Derby
Photo: Dustin Orona Photography / Remington Park

Trainer Ken McPeek loved watching his 3-year-old colt Rattle N Roll win the Grade 3, $400,000 Oklahoma Derby so much Sunday night that he already was making plans for a return trip to Remington Park.

“Our owner has been gracious enough to allow us to place this horse in good spots, and I thought Oklahoma would be perfect for him,” McPeek said after receiving the winner’s trophy. “We may have to find a race here for him as a 4-year-old.”

Click here for Remington Park entries and results.

Mike Mackin of Louisville, Ky., owns Lucky Seven Stable in conjunction with his three brothers and sister, and they own this 3-year-old colt. The stable is named for Mackin’s parents and five siblings, hence seven.

It was more than lucky on Sunday when Rattle N Roll proved his talent with a strong run down the stretch, digging in deep to hold off the late charge of Steve Asmussen-trained King Ottoman.

As the 7-5 second choice in the race, Rattle N Roll finished 1 1/2 lengths in front of King Ottoman (11-1). The runner-up was 9 1/4 lengths ahead of the third-place finisher and even-money favorite Best Actor. From trainer Brad Cox’s barn, Best Actor ran third virtually the entire length of the race.

Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. has won two in a row and three of his last four on Rattle N Roll, a colt by Connect out of the Johannesburg mare Jazz Tune. Those victories included a trip to the winner’s circle in the $250,000 St. Louis Derby on Aug. 20 and in the $200,000 American Derby at Churchill Downs.

Rattle N Roll is a grandson of Curlin, the horse of the year in 2007 and 2008.

“I’ve ridden him so many times, I’ve learned his running style,” Hernandez said. “I just let him do his thing, and he does it. He’s a Grade 1 winner and a derby winner.”

Hernandez said he was not nervous at all as King Ottoman, winner of the Texas Derby at Lone Star Park in May, came rolling up on him and engaged a fight down the stretch.

“My horse threw his ears up. He heard him coming,” Hernandez said. “But no, I wasn’t nervous. All I had to do was become a great passenger.”

It was a perfectly patient race from Hernandez. He let Rattle N Roll drop back to last in the field of eight down the backstretch in this 1 1/8-mile race on the fast main track.

Red Knobs and Big Chopper set a swift pace up front in the early going, covering the first quarter-mile in 23.59 seconds and the first half-mile in 47.76 seconds. Both began to fade after three-quarters of a mile in 1:12.11. That was when Rattle N Roll took over, taking the lead at the top of the stretch.

From that point on it was just a battle of hearts in a race to the wire in the final eighth of a mile. Rattle N Roll passed the mile pole at 1:37.11 and won at a time of 1:49.50.

Rattle N Roll earned $240,000 for the victory in the $400,000 race, running his career earnings to $998,105 from a record of 13: 5-1-2.

He was bred in Kentucky by St. Simon Place. The owners purchased this colt for $210,000 an the Keeneland yearling sale in 2020.

“We thought he was beautiful ever since we saw him as a yearling,” McPeek said.

Rattle N Roll paid $4.80 to win, $3 to place and $2.10 to show.

Mackin said his family wanted to own a sports franchise, but that was too far out of reach. So they got into the horse-racing business, and living in Louisville made it a perfect fit.

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