Steve Asmussen was already having a banner day at Remington Park on Sunday after a win earlier on the card mad him the track’s all-time winningest trainer. His day got even better a few races later when Shoplifted returned to form in the Springboard Mile.
A colt who had shown his talent in Saratoga when winning on debut then finishing second in the Grade 1 Runhappy Hopeful Stakes, Shoplifted went off form when running in California his following two starts. Asmussen concluded the track must have been his issue and decided to give him one final try as a 2-year-old in the Springboard Mile.
It proved to be the right move with Shoplifted providing the trainer with his sixth victory in the race while also earning 10 Kentucky Derby points.
The one-mile race saw Ricardo Santana Jr. put his mount in sixth for most of the running with the field covering the first half-mile in 47.75 seconds. Santana Jr. started sending his mount for the lead as the field went around the far turn and wasn’t afraid to take him wide to give him clear running.
As they entered the stretch, Shoplifted was almost to fellow out-of-town shipper and leader Embolden but still had work to do. Embolden wasn’t going to give in easily while race favorite Answer In also put his hat in the ring with a run for the lead up the rail.
The three-way battle wasn’t decided until they hit the line with Shoplifted just a head in front of Answered In with Embolden half a length behind them to give the shippers the trifecta. Stopping the clock in 1:37.95, the trio was well clear of the rest of the field with fellow Asmussen runner Jungle Runner 13 ½ lengths behind them.
It was a home-state win for Shoplifted’s co-owner Everett Dobson, whose Cheyenne Stable owns the colt with Grandview Equine and LNJ Foxwoods. Making his last appearance as the owner of a Springboard Mile contender in 2010 with future Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Caleb’s Posse, Dobson was thrilled to be in the winner’s circle nine years later.
“I have to give Steve Asmussen credit,” Dobson said. “He told me [Shoplifted] could be competitive here and in this race and we’re thrilled we came. I have great partners in this horse and they couldn’t be any happier. It’s great to be back in Oklahoma and win a race!”
Asmussen also won the race last year with Long Range Toddy, who provided him the exacta with Bankit. Long Range Toddy ran in this year’s Kentucky Derby while Bankit spent a few races on the Kentucky Derby trail earlier this year.
The Springboard Mile has proved to be a key race for getting into the Kentucky Derby in recent years with the field providing at least one starter in three of the last four editions.