The No. 7 trainer in the country in horses' money earned this year, Michael Maker, may be pointing one of his 2-year-olds to the $400,000 Springboard Mile on Remington Park's final day of the season, Sunday, Dec. 16.
Dunph, a juvenile gelding by Temple City, out of the Sky Mesa mare Skymynx, has emerged as a strong possibility for the cornerstone race, a stepping stone toward the 2019 Kentucky Derby. The top four finishers in the Springboard Mile, get points (10-4-2-1) that can help qualify them for the field of next year's Run for the Roses.
Dunph has won 2-of-3 starts lifetime, including a victory in the $300,000 Spendthrift Juvenile Stallion Stakes at Churchill Downs on Oct. 28 at 7 furlongs. Dunph is owned by Three Diamonds Farm of Kentucky and was bred in Kentucky by Equus Farm. He was last purchased for $27,500 as a 2-year-old in the Ocala Breeders Sale March event for 2-year-olds in training. He has earned $107,540 for his owner over three starts, breaking his maiden at first asking at Penn National on Sept. 15 and drawing off to win the Spendthrift Stakes by 7-3/4 lengths at 4-1 odds under jockey Tyler Gaffalione. He covered the 7-8ths of a mile in 1:23.20.
Dunph was entered back in the Grade 2, $200,000 Kentucky Juvenile Cup, but caught a sloppy track, stretching out to 1-1/16 miles, his first trip around two turns. Something wasn't to his liking that day and he ran ninth, beaten 14 lengths. He was facing Signalman, however, who ran third in the Grade 1, $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile.
Other 2-year-olds that are possible to race in the Springboard Mile include: B.B. Dude, Long Range Toddy, Ninth Street, Tight Ten, Tobacco Road, and Tone Brook (all from the barn of Steve Asmussen); D Toz, (Danny Pish); Epic Dreamer,(Kelly Breen); Gray Attempt, (Jinks Fires), and Marquee Prince, (Brad Cox).
Another horse being considered for the race is Gunmetal Gray, out of Jerry Hollendorfer's barn. He ran fifth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.
Asmussen (2nd nationally with $25,443,721 earned this year) has nominated 11 horses to the race. There were 58 nominations to the Springboard this year and seven of the top 13 trainers in the country nominated horses. Five of the top nine finishers in this year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile were nominated, including runner-up Knicks Go.
Possibles from Asmussen's barn:
· Long Range Toddy, owned and bred in Kentucky by Willis Horton Racing LLC, won the $100,000 Clever Trevor Stakes at Remington on Nov. 2. He is a 2-year-old colt by Take Charge Indy, out of the Unbridled's Song mare Pleasant Song.
· Tobacco Road, owned L and N Racing of Tulsa, Okla., ran third to Long Range Toddy in the Clever Trevor with leading rider David Cabrera, and spent the late summer/early fall racing in Kentucky where he was also bred by Flaxman Holdings Limited & Arlie Stud.
· Tone Broke has the same connections as Tobacco Road. This son of Broken Vow, out of the Smart Strike mare Mendocino Beano, has won his last two in a row, breaking his maiden at Remington and then winning an allowance race here.
· B.B. Dude, owned by Jerry Durant of Weatherford, Texas, won the $75,000 Kip Deville Stakes at Remington Park by a neck on Sept. 30 and then ran seventh in the Spendthrift Juvenile Stallion Stakes, 12-3/4 lengths behind Dunph. He is a colt by Shakin It Up, out of the Unbridled's Song mare Perfect Song.
· Ninth Street, owned by H.V. Farms, Ltd., of Lexington, Ky., broke his maiden at Remington on Sept. 7 over a sloppy track at a mile and then journeyed down to Louisiana to win the $50,000 Jean Lafitte Stakes at Delta Downs by six lengths.
· Tight Ten, owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC of Kentucky, ran ninth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile after running second in graded stakes races at Saratoga and Churchill Downs. After breaking his maiden at Churchill, he was entered in the Grade 2, $200,000 Saratoga Special on Aug. 12 and finished a length behind Call Paul at 6-1/2 furlongs. He then ran second at Churchill in the Grade 3, $150,000 Iroquois Stakes, beaten a half-length to Cairo Cat at 1-1/16th miles.
The Springboard Mile, and the 12-race program for the final day of the season on Dec. 16, will be drawn on Tuesday morning, Dec. 11.
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