Springboard Mile 2019: Odds and analysis for Sunday's race

December 12, 2019 12:00pm

While not the strongest field assembled thus far on the 2020 Kentucky Derby trail, Sunday’s $400,000 Springboard Mile at Remington Park did attract a few interesting shippers searching for qualifying points.

The morning line favorite in this race is Answer In. He is not overly dominant on paper, though, and attempts a two-turn route for the first time. For reasons listed below, another Kentucky-based colt gets the top nod.

The Springboard Mile — which awards Derby points on a 10-4-2-1 scale to the Top 4 finishers — is carded as Race 12 with post time set for 9:19 p.m. ET. Here’s a look at the field with the official morning line.

1. Piece of Work, 12-1 (Laurie's Rocket – Allen Milligan/Luis Quinonez – 1: 1-0-0): This local runner broke his maiden by 6 ½ lengths in his career debut. But now he stretches out to two turns against a few shippers who could make noise on the Derby trail. The rail draw is no bargain, either, for this inexperienced colt. Toss.

2. Alternate Time, 20-1 (Alternation – Bret Calhoun/Stewart Elliot – 2: 1-1-0): As with Piece of Work, this local horse looks overmatched. He broke his maiden by a head on this surface and then won an optional claimer by a neck against weaker horses. Now he stretches out from six furlongs to a two-turn mile. Toss.

3. Rowdy Yates, 7/2 (Morning Line – Steven Asmussen/Richard Eramia – 6: 4-1-0): At least Rowdy Yates owns two-turn experience in a graded stakes race. Back in September, he ran a decent fifth in the Iroquois Stakes (G3), 7 ¼ lengths behind Dennis' Moment. After that, he shipped here and won the Oklahoma Classics Juvenile Stakes at six furlongs and the Don C. McNeil Stakes at one mile, making him a last out winner over this trip. Win contender.

4. Answer In, 5/2 (Dialed In – Brad Cox/Javier Castellano – 2: 1-1-0): In his career debut at Churchill Downs, Answer In only lost by a nose to South Bend, who opened his career 3-for-3 with a stakes victory. Answer In returned in a seven-furlong maiden at the same track on Oct. 27 and won by 5 ¼ lengths, earning a 99 TimeformUS Speed Figure and 96 BRIS Speed Rating. He did switch to his wrong lead late, which is a minor concern. Even though this is a young horse with potential, the presence of connections like Cox and Castellano will keep the value down. Win contender.

5. Jungle Runner, 15-1 (Candy Ride – Steven Asmussen/Ramon Vasquez – 4: 2-0-0): Notice Jungle Runner's two wins came locally, while he struggled at Ellis Park. As with a couple of other Remington regulars, this one seems overmatched given the few quality shippers in here. He did win the same $100,000 stakes last time that produced Long Range Toddy a year ago, but TimeformUS awarded him a measly 84 speed figure. Then again, he could move forward under Asmussen. Limit this one to bottom slots in the trifecta and superfecta if odds remain in the double digits. Use underneath.

6. Shipman's Song, 30-1 (Midshipman – Michael Biehler/Lori Keith – 4: 1-1-0): Whenever connections keep their horse in sprints for the first three or four races, it is a sign they do not see the horse as a router. But the lure of Derby points makes it difficult not to take a shot outside that comfort zone. This one has yet to travel farther than 6 ½ furlongs and owns the kind of speed that will burn him out at a two-turn mile.  Toss.

7. Southgate, 30-1 (Dramedy – Scott Young/Floyd Wethey Jr. – 6: 1-1-2): Given he finished a distant fourth in the local Don C. McNeil, 7 ½ lengths behind Rowdy Yates, it is difficult to endorse this one as a board hitter. Rowdy Yates is arguably not even the best horse in this race, as the few shippers coming will make it tough on the local runners. Toss.

8. Embolden, 9/2 (The Factor – Michael Stidham/Brian Hernandez Jr. – 5: 2-2-1): With five sprints on his record so far and four of them on turf, I don’t see a case for him winning. Connections do not wait six races to put their horse in a route if he is a router. Plus, he is inexperienced on dirt. He did finish third to a nice horse in the Futurity Stakes (G3) at Belmont. But expect him to flatten out late because of the added distance and extra turn. Use underneath.

9. Shoplifted, 5-1 (Into Mischief – Steven Asmussen/Ricardo Santana Jr. – 4: 1-1-0): After breaking his maiden at Saratoga, Shoplifted disappointed in his next three starts. He finished a distant second in the Hopeful Stakes (G1), 6 ½ lengths behind Basin. Afterward, he ran off-the-board in both the American Pharoah (G1) and Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Granted, this is a weaker field and he owns experience against top horses. Use underneath.

10. Maximiliano, 5-1 (Quality Road – Wesley Ward/Martin Garcia – 2: 1-1-0): This one showed nice progression in his Oct. 19 start at Keeneland, contesting the pace and winning a six-furlong maiden race by a head. Next across the wire on the day, Elusive d'Oro and Churn N Burn both won their follow up efforts. Plus, Maximiliano earned a solid 100 TimeformUS Speed Figure for the victory, improving upon his 82 when a distant second to Gouverneur Morris at Saratoga. With his tactical speed, he should clear from outside early. The pick.

11. Kirkcules, 30-1 (Flat Out – Kari Craddock/Lane Luzzi – 5: 1-2-0): As with the other local options, this one looks a cut below. He also draws a difficult post for a horse without enough early speed. If choosing to use a Remington-based horse on your tickets, select from the other options breaking inside.  Toss.

12. Slew Tang Clan, 50-1 (Honor Code – Kevin Scholl/Dakota Wood – 4: 0-2-0): The same comments for Kirkcules apply here. Even if he could move forward, the widest post position in a two-turn mile will not help him. Toss.

Conclusion:  Answer In is a promising horse for Brad Cox. Given he arrives from a top racetrack, though, and sports a familiar combination in Cox and Castellano, he may become overbet. 


Maximiliano also has a familiar trainer in Wesley Ward. His Keeneland win does not look as flashy as Answer In's maiden score at Churchill Downs, possibly making him the better value despite the nice number it received.

Both of them are usable as “A” choices in horizontal wagers, while Rowdy Yates is a “B” if there is room in your budget for an extra option.

 

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