ICYMI: Springboard Mile; Big A Winter; Baffert Wins Starlet; Equinox Stands for $140K

The $300,000 Springboard Mile provides Remington Park in Oklahoma City with the opportunity to showcase 2-year-olds who could wind up in the Kentucky Derby.

It’ll be the 15th edition of the ungraded $300,000 Springboard, but significantly the race is one offering qualifying points for the 150th Derby at Churchill Downs on May 4.

Long Range Toddy won the 2018 Springboard and sure enough made it to the 2019 Derby, finishing 18 in the race in which Maximum Security finished first but was disqualified for interference and Country House became the official winner.

A field of nine is entered for Friday night’s Springboard, including a pair from Brad Cox, the nation’s leading trainer in earnings. Cox will send out Gettysburg Address (6-1) and Fidget (8-1), both of whom worked on Dec. 8 at Churchill Downs.

The winner gets 10 Derby points, with the next four finishers receiving 5-3-2-1 points.

Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen has the slight favorite in Otto the Conqueror at 5-2. A son of 2007 Derby winner Street Sense, Otto the Conqueror (two wins in three starts) worked Dec. 5 at Oaklawn Park (5 furlongs, 1:01.20). Tyler Gaffalione has the call.

Two-time Derby-winning trainer Doug O’Neill is sending out Raging Torrent, the 3-1 second choice, along with West Coast-based rider Antonio Fresu. Raging Torrent worked 6 furlongs in 1:14 at Santa Anita last week. The colt won in his debut, ran third in the Best Pal (G3), then fourth in both the Del Mar Futurity (G1) and the American Pharoah (G1).

Big A Winter Meet: Jan. 1-March 30; Three Derby preps set

A 47-day winter meet at Aqueduct includes 26 stakes races worth $3.5 million and runs from Jan. 1-March 30. Live racing will be Thursday-Sunday for the first three weeks of January and Friday-Sunday from Jan. 26 through the first week of March. Four-day race weeks resume on March 7.

Among the Kentucky Derby (G1) preps are the Jerome on Jan. 6 (10-5-3-2-1 points), the Withers (G3) on Feb. 3 (20-10-6-4-2 points); and the Gotham (G3) on March 2 (50-25-15-10-5 points).

Baffert records 7th straight Starlet win; 10th overall

Of course. The only question about the winner of the $250,000 Starlet Stakes on Saturday (Dec. 9) at Los Alamitos was which Bob Baffert 2-year-old filly would win.

It was Baffert’s Nothing Like You (2-1) who took the lead early and went on for a 5 ¼-length victory in the 1 1/16-mile race. His other filly, Grazia, the 8-5 co-favorite, was last of six after tiring in the stretch.

“Once I saw her on the backside with that long stride, you could tell she was in control of the race,” Baffert said of Nothing Like You.

“The others broke better than me,” winning rider Juan Hernandez said. “I was hoping to sit behind them. When I grabbed a hold, she took off. After that, she was comfortable.”

Champion Equinox retired; will stand for $140,000 in Japan


Equinox, the world’s top-rated horse recently retired to stud, will stand for a record ¥20 million ($140,000 US) at Shadai Stallion Station in Hokkaido, Japan.

The price is a Japan record for a first-year sire.

Equinox provided a thrilling finish to his racing career by rallying from 20 lengths behind for a four-length victory in the Japan Cup (G1) on Nov. 26 before a cheering crowd of 85,000 at Tokyo Racecourse.

Once his stud fee was established after his Nov. 30 retirement, it didn’t take long for his book to be fully filled for 2024.

The 4-year-old will stand for the same fee as his sire, Kitasan Black, which matches the top fee in the country for 2024. He finished his racing career with an 8-2-0 record from 10 starts and $15,930,077 in earnings for owners Silk Racing. Equinox ran second in his first two Grade 1s and followed by winning six Grade 1s ending with Japan Cup.

A retirement ceremony is scheduled at Nakayama Racecourse in Funabashi, Japan, on Dec. 16.


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