by Melissa Bauer-Herzog
The closing day of the 2018 Remington Park meet proved to be a banner day for trainer Steve Asmussen.
Not only did the trainer tie his record of most wins in a single day with five, he also broke his own record of most wins in a season with 105 – including two on the final day with horses he also owns. But perhaps his most impressive feat of the day was training three of the first four home in the Springboard Mile, including the exacta.
Surprisingly, it was Asmussen’s longest shot of five entries that won the race with Long Range Toddy going off at odds of 18.60-to-1 and paying $39.20 for his victory.
Sitting about a length off the leaders as they set early fractions of 24.13 and 48.76 in the one-mile race, coming around the far turn Long Range Toddy dropped back and for a second looked as if he may be in trouble. But it quickly became obvious the move was by design as jockey Richard Eramia was able to get him in the clear and past the leaders in deep stretch to stop the clock in a time of 1:39.75.
The wire couldn’t have come any later from Long Range Toddy with Bankit, the shortest of Asmussen’s shots at 3.30-to-1, making a late surge to lose by only a head. The stablemates provided owner Willis Horton Racing a 1-2 finish as well with Long Range Toddy bred and owned by Horton and Bankit co-owned with Winchell Thoroughbreds.
“He’s a beautiful colt, a home-bred of Mr. Horton’s,” Asmussen said. “It was a nice win and I’m proud of him and Bankit, who ran second.”
Dunph was the only horse in the top four not to be trained by Remington’s leading trainer, taking home two Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard points for trainer Mike Maker when finishing third.
Long Range Toddy has a familiar connection to two of Horton’s most famous racehorses. He is by Take Charge Indy – a half-brother to Horton’s Will Take Charge and the dam of his champion Take Charge Brandi – and his dam is by Will Take Charge’s sire Unbridled’s Song. Long Range Toddy’s extended family includes champions Champagne Room and Brujo under his fourth dam in addition to Grade 1 winner A.P. Valentine (also by Take Charge Indy’s sire A.P. Indy).
Long Range Toddy’s dam Pleasant Song has produced three winners from four to race. She went through the ring at the Keeneland November Sale when Long Range Toddy was a weanling, carrying a full sibling to the colt when bringing $22,000 from Machmer Hall in 2016.