By J. Keeler Johnson ("Keelerman") Twitter: @J_Keelerman
It seems safe to say the $400,000 Remington Springboard Mile Stakes at Remington Park is one
of the fastest-growing races in North America.
Just 15 years ago, the one-mile race (then known as the
Remington MEC Mile) was worth a mere $75,000. But a date change and steady purse
increases have significantly enhanced the profile of the Springboard Mile. Now
worth $400,000, the Springboard Mile has produced five Kentucky Derby starters
since 2011, including champion Will Take Charge.
A dozen promising juveniles will line up to contest the
2019 Springboard Mile, including a trio of colts from the barn of five-time
Springboard Mile-winning trainer Steve Asmussen.
Leading the Asmussen brigade from a class perspective is #9 Shoplifted. Purchased for $800,000
as a 2yo-in-training, Shoplifted was an impressive debut winner on July 27 at
Saratoga, dominating a 5 ½-furlong sprint by 4 ½ lengths. He then showed his exciting
debut wasn't a fluke by rallying to finish second in the Hopeful Stakes (G1) at
Unfortunately, Shoplifted's form slipped substantially
when stepping up in distance for a pair of Grade 1 stakes at Santa Anita. He
flattened out when trying to reach contention in the American Pharoah Stakes
(G1), crossing the wire in fifth place, and he never threatened when trudging
home seventh in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1).
Perhaps Shoplifted didn't care for the deep and tiring
track at Santa Anita, which hasn't been playing particularly kind to late runners. But it's just as possible Shoplifted lacks the stamina to carry his strong
sprint form around two turns, in which case the distance of the Springboard
Mile is likely beyond his reach.
Shoplifted's stablemate #3 Rowdy Yates is a more appealing alternative. This experienced son of
Morning Line has already run a half-dozen times, recording stakes triumphs in
the Ellis Park Juvenile Stakes, Oklahoma Classics Juvenile Stakes, and the Don
C. McNeill Stakes, the latter over the same track and distance as the
In the Don C. McNeill, Rowdy Yates showed a nice
turn-of-foot, finishing the final two furlongs in :12.57 and :12.38 after
tracking a slow pace. High-percentage jockey Richard Eramia retains the mount
and will seek back-to-back triumphs in the Springboard Mile after guiding
Asmussen's Long Range Toddy to victory in 2018.
If there's one chink in Rowdy Yates armor, it's the
possibility that he's already been exposed against this level of competition.
In the June 29 Bashford Manor Stakes (G3), he came up short against the
early-maturing Phantom Boss, while in the September 14 Iroquois Stakes (G3), he
was no match for the top two finishers and lost a three-way photo for third place against
Lebda and Letmeno, two colts who would be mid-range longshots in the
It's possible Rowdy Yates has turned a corner since his
defeats against graded stakes company—he's certainly been dominant in his two
stakes triumphs at Remington Park. He also figures to sit a nice trip behind
the speed in a race with several front-runners and stalkers.
But while Rowdy Yates is a logical contender and a
must-use in multi-race wagers, for win purposes I'm inclined to side with #4 Answer In, who closed at 64-1 in
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool #1.
The fact Answer In was an individual betting interest in
the future pool speaks of how impressive he's been during his brief career. In
his debut sprinting six furlongs at Churchill Downs on September 14, Answer In
broke slowly, raced wide, and arguably moved too soon into a quick pace. After taking
the lead in the homestretch, he was nailed on the line by South Bend, who returned
to win the Street Sense Stakes.
Answer In made amends when stretching out to seven
furlongs on October 27. After tracking a respectable pace, Answer In seized the
lead turning for home and drew off under a strong hand ride to win by 5 ¼ lengths,
sprinting the final furlong in a quick :12.14 seconds. Runner-up Race Driver
returned to easily break his own maiden at Churchill Downs.
Answer In's strong finish produced a final time of
1:22.48 and Beyer speed figure of 83, which makes him very competitive on paper
in the Springboard Mile. There's enough stamina in his pedigree to suggest he
won't have any trouble stretching out over a mile, and as a late runner, he'll
benefit if a quick pace unfolds in the Springboard Mile.
There are other reasons to respect this gelded son of
Dialed In. Trainer Brad Cox has cracked the exacta with six of his last 10
starters at Remington Park, most notably winning the Oklahoma Derby (G3) with
Owendale, Just as significantly, he's enlisted four-time Eclipse Award-winning
jockey Javier Castellano to ride Answer In, which hints at how highly regarded
Answer In must be.
Answer In has trained sharply since his maiden win, breezing
five furlongs in a bullet :59 3/5 on December 3 at Churchill Downs. He looks
primed for a big effort in the Springboard Mile, so I'll plan on keying him in
Now it's your turn! Who do you like in the Remington
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J. Keeler Johnson (also known as "Keelerman") is a writer, blogger, videographer, handicapper, and all-around horse racing enthusiast. A great fan of racing history, he considers Dr. Fager to be the greatest racehorse ever produced in America, but counts Zenyatta as his all-time favorite. He is the founder of the horse racing website www.theturfboard.com.