Expert Pick of the Week: The Springboard Mile

Dec 12, 2019 John Mucciolo/

A 2020 Road to the Kentucky Derby qualifying race will take place at Remington Park on Sunday. A dozen juveniles will go postward in the $400,000 Springboard Mile Stakes, with a 10-4-2-1 points structure going to the top-four finishers.

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The feature has attracted some solid 2-year-old prospects in what appears to be a competitive cast. Stakes winner Embolden has sprinted on the turf in four consecutive outings, including three straight with stakes competition in advance of the Springboard Mile. Trained by Michael Stidham, the talented son of The Factor will stretch out while making a turf-to-dirt move, and he is my top pick.

Embolden was a $95,000 juvenile purchase in the spring and has justified his sales price by winning or placing in all five starts to date. The Virginia-bred was second on debut on the dirt at Monmouth Park when showing speed and staying on late, and he has improved in every performance since.

The March foal has also shown a new dimension in his last pair of races. The speedy gray was all speed in his first three assignments, but he has taken back and rallied from off the pace in his last two outings which will aid him in his route bow on Sunday. Michael Stidham has the colt in very good form, and I am anticipating a big showing in Embolden’s two-turn debut under Brian Hernandez, Jr.

Answer In is another prime contender inthe Springboard Mile. The Kentucky-bred son of Dialed In has put forth two fine showings to date, including a powerful maiden romp under the Twin Spires last time out. The son of Dialed In earned a robust 96 Brisnet Speed number at Churchill Downs and has trained swiftly in the interim.

Trained by Brad Cox, the $175,000 weanling purchase has endured trouble while breaking last in each of his two races to date, but if he repairs his gate problems, the gelding will be a formidable foe on Sunday. Jockey Javier Castellano will ride and his presence alone is a major positive for the bay.

An exacta box with Embolden and Answer In is the Free Pick of the Week.

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