The lengthy nomination list for the Grade 3, $400,000 Oklahoma Derby has been released by the Remington Park racing office. The 25th running of the race on Sunday, Sept. 29 is expected to feature many talented 3-year-olds and quite possibly, a three-time derby winner.
Departing, winner of the Grade 3, $750,000 Illinois Derby at Hawthorne in April; the Grade 2, $750,000 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer in August; and the Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 7, is the richest earner on the nomination list with $1,379,500 in the bank. The 3-year-old gelding is likely to represent historic Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider of Lexington, Ky. in the Oklahoma Derby, attempting a fourth derby score.
In the discussion as one of the top 3-year-olds in racing, Departing is trained by Al Stall, Jr. and has won six of his eight career starts. Bred in Kentucky by the owner, Departing is by War Front from the Pulpit mare Leave. If he competes in the Oklahoma Derby, Departing would attempt to become the first Super Derby winner to win the race since Going Ballistic scored here in 2007.
Departing continued to work toward his next start, galloping this afternoon after the first race at Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, where he is currently stabled. He is reported to have an official workout at Louisiana Downs before traveling to his next destination.
For the second time since 2010, the winner of the Grade 3, Canadian Derby at Northlands Park in Edmonton, Alberta is expected to run in the Oklahoma Derby. Broadway Empire was traveling to Remington Park this weekend. A winner of two consecutive stakes at Northlands Park, Broadway Empire is trained by Robertino Diodoro and has been training at Turf Paradise in Phoenix to prepare for his Oklahoma Derby attempt.
Local connections will be well represented in the Oklahoma Derby, as is normally the case. Holiday Mischief, winner of the $100,000 Prelude Stakes in August at Louisiana Downs but seventh behind Departing in the Super Derby, has been training under the tutelage of Joe Offolter for the Oklahoma Derby. Holiday Mischief was fourth in the Clever Trevor Stakes at Remington Park as a 2-year-old.
Texas Bling, who amazed most witnesses in the 2012 Springboard Mile, winning at odds of 128-1, is training up to an Oklahoma Derby start. Idle since an eighth place run in the Grade 1, $1,000,000 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park in April, Texas Bling worked a half-mile this morning at Remington Park. Owned by Hall’s Family Trust of Fort Worth, Texas and trained by Danele Durham, Texas Bling posted a bullet move today in :58.69 handily.
In the Springboard, Texas Bling won his the biggest race of his career by 1-1/2 lengths over Will Take Charge. Since that day in December last year, Will Take Charge has started in all of the Triple Crown races, finding his best stride late in the year. In his last two starts he has won the Grade 1, $1,000,000 Travers Stakes at Saratoga last month and the Grade 2, $1,000,000 Pennsylvania Derby earlier today at Parx Racing in Philadelphia.
Others expected for the Oklahoma Derby at this time: Braveman, second in the Grade 3, Ohio Derby at Thistledown in July; Carve, owned by Michael Langford of Jonesboro, Ark. and trained by Steve Asmussen; and He Has Bling, stablemate of Texas Bling and winner of the Texas Stallion Stakes at Lone Star Park in May.
Remington Park stakes coordinator Don Thompson is keeping contact with many of the connections plotting courses for those nominated to the Oklahoma Derby. More information will be available as the race draws closer throughout the next eight days.
The Oklahoma Derby will headline a stellar program worth more than $1,000,000 in purse money on Sept. 29. The undercard will include five other stakes races, including: the $200,000 Remington Park Oaks; the $150,000 Remington Park Sprint Cup; the $100,000 Remington Green Stakes over the turf; the first-leg of the Remington Park 2-year-old Triple Series, the $75,000 Kip Deville Stakes and the $50,000 Ladies on the Lawn Stakes.
Post Positions for the Oklahoma Derby Day program will be drawn in the Remington Park racing office on Thursday morning, Sept. 26.
Oklahoma Derby week racing will be conducted Thursday thru Sunday, Sept. 26-29. The first race is at 7pm nightly with the special Oklahoma Derby program on Sunday underway at 1:30pm.