For a preview of the field of the Remington Springboard Mile, make sure to read Melissa Bauer-Herzog’s article. In separate articles, she also spotlights Brad Cox’s runners on Springboard Mile Day, and points out some pedigree and auction facts about some of the contenders.
Trainer Steve Asmussen sends out five of the eleven horses in the Remington Springboard Mile. One of them, Bankit, looks downright imposing. The New York-bred son of Central Banker does step forward from state-bred stakes company to open, but is fast enough to do so. The pace versatility he has shown makes him particularly appealing. Though Bankit carved the early fractions in his first four career starts, he showed an ability to endure a contested pace. Then, in his longest race to date, he settled well off the pace and won the Sleepy Hollow Stakes impressively. It is that newly shown rating gear that makes Bankit so appealing: with Epic Dreamer, Marquee Prince, :Long Range Toddy, Dunph, and D Toz all best right on the pace, staying out of that fight holds the key to victory. Two turns is a question, as Bankit has only gone the one-turn mile of the Sleepy Hollow — but he can get a mile, and even though sire Central Banker was a stone-cold one-turn horse, dam Sister in Arms (Colonel John) scored both of her career wins over two turns. He should stretch out.
Tobacco Road has been a tough horse to predict during his nascent career. He is still unproven at two turns, as his three best races have all come at seven furlongs: a pair of victories at Ellis, and a third-place finish behind Long Range Toddy in the Clever Trevor. But, Tobacco Road does have some upside in this spot. He didn’t get too fast a pace to chase in the Clever Trevor, as Long Range Toddy was at the vanguard from start to finish, and even second-place Cajun Firecracker came from closer up than Tobacco Road did. With more to chase here, Tobacco Road could make better account. The switch to Ramon Vazquez is a positive — Vazquez is a 24% rider at Remington, and (as I see it, wisely) abandons both Kaziranga and Dobbins G to take this call. And, the breeding does suggest two turns should suit, at least someday, since Tobacco Road is a Quality Road half-brother to class turf routers Isabella Sings and Alaura Michele.
We can’t spend all day talking about the Steve Asmussen entries, even though he has so many live ones. The morning line favourite is Epic Dreamer from the Kelly Breen shedrow, but he has never faced winners, and will be one among a well-populated brigade of frontrunners. More appealing — and likely a better price — is Paul Holthus’s offering, Six Shooter. The son of Trappe Shot has come a long way from debuting in a $20,000 maiden claimer in September — a race from which his current connections claimed him. Six Shooter has since won twice in four starts against protected company. That includes a victory over the one-turn mile at Churchill on November 25. These foes are tougher, of course; that came in a washed-off grass race. But, Six Shooter did beat horses intended for the dirt when he broke his maiden at Indiana Grand in October. And, his running style should suit the Springboard Mile beautifully, since nothing about it suggests that he’ll be lured into the likely pace battle. He has proven that he can sit just off the pace and make a smart rally.
#8 Bankit (3/1)
#9 Tobacco Road (15/1)
#4 Six Shooter (8/1)
Longshot: Like his stablemate Tobacco Road, #6 Tone Broke (15/1) should benefit from the plethora of speed horses entered in the Springboard Mile. Despite a short field and a dawdling early pace, he kicked on smartly in the lane to run them all down. Tone Broke will have to improve off of what he showed in his N2L victory on November 23 to win this, but he can. The last-out win showed he could handle the course and distance, and it was his first start after a two-month break. It’s also a positive that he keeps David Cabrera in the irons — Cabrera is a 22% rider at Remington, has finished in the money in 10 of his last 11 starts for Asmussen leading into the final race week at Remington, and has ridden Tone Broke for his last two starts. Both were victories over the course and distance; it’s safe to say they have a rapport.