Springboard Mile scouting report
Sunday, Dec. 13, Remington Park
The Low-Down: With an achievable distance of one mile and a rich, $200,000 purse, the newly renamed Springboard Mile certainly could serve its purpose of springboarding a star 3-year-old to the Triple Crown trail next spring. Because of Remington Park's proximity and timing with Oaklawn Park, the trail to the freshly upgraded Grade 1 Arkansas Derby could begin Sunday in Oklahoma City.
For a listed stakes in this region in mid-December, you have about as strong of a field as can be anticipated. Horses who break their maidens at Churchill, Keeneland, Arlington, Lone Star, Colonial, Delta, Zia and Remington all converge. The full gate of 12 includes three existing stakes winners and six horses who are stakes-placed already in their brief careers. Big-time trainers like Steve Asmussen, Graham Motion, Tom Amoss and Mike Stidham are among the barns represented.
Our Eyes: We covered the Springboard Mile prep during our Monday Night Remington Park chats at Horseplayerpro.com on Nov. 16 and were left impressed by the top two finishers, Man Chester Man and Kitty's Turn. A :12-3/5 final furlong for 7 panels is pretty solid for juveniles and hints that either could handle the additional distance. From a pedigree and performance standpoint, I'd give Kitty's Turn the edge now that the distance extends around a pair of bends.
Inside speed is present with No. 1 Perfect Drive and No. 2 Magic Max, a pair of sprinters on the stretch-out. Perfect Drive set the second-fastest pace of any 6-1/2 furlong race during the '09 Keeneland fall meet when winning on the lead. Meanwhile, No. 10 Comedero won the 6-furlong Old Hickory at Fair Grounds last month in wire-to-wire fashion and figures to be the quickest of the quick of James Graham presses the gas from a wide draw with a short run into the clubhouse turn. No doubt, this one-mile event will have legitimate fractions.
Field size is important here as several contenders come out of much softer assignments with limited rivals. Ron the Greek, Turf Melody, Auspicious Risk, Comedero, Kerrville and Buggs Pride all faced six or fewer challenges in their most-recent starts, and it's a night-and-day ballgame when these babies are swarmed in a full field.
Given the expected solid pace and bulky field size, trip figures to be critical here, with a horse capable of sitting fourth or fifth in the perfect position to pounce. Kitty's Turn has that tactical capability, along with Turf Melody and the turf-to-dirt mover Prince Eddington. Kitty's Turn looks awfully well spotted: good draw, pedigree to route, and the right running style to avoid trouble while not getting burnt up in a pace scrum. Prince Eddington is route-seasoned with all 4 career starts around 2 bends and there's nothing in his pedigree that says he can't factor on the dirt. He's been training on the RP main track since September.
The Bottom Line: I'll take my chances with Kitty's Turn and Prince Eddington, playing win-place on both, more on Kitty's Turn. Also key those runners in exactas and trifectas, being sure to use dangerous speed horses Perfect Drive, Magic Max and Comedero as the part-wheels of interest.
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