Wildatlanticstorm beats 4-5 favorite Giant Mischief in the Springboard Mile (Photo by Dustin Orona)
Shippers Giant Mischief and Echo Again were the focus of attention going into Saturday night’s $400,000 Remington Springboard Mile, but locally-based Wildatlanticstorm stole the spotlight on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. Overlooked at 15-1, Jim Jorgensen’s homebred rallied up the rail to score by 1 1/4 lengths from Giant Mischief.
Wildatlanticstorm had never finished out of the top two in five prior starts, including a pair of stepping-stone stakes at Remington Park. The Ray Ashford Jr. trainee improved from a second in the Sept. 25 Kip Deville S. to win the Oct. 28 Clever Trevor S. in a photo, and he took another step forward against better competition here.
Giant Mischief ranked as the 4-5 favorite after toppling an odds-on choice himself, Arabian Lion, in an allowance on “Breeders’ Cup
Future Stars Friday” at Keeneland. But Giant Mischief’s chances at Remington were compromised right out of the gate. Lunging at the start, he bobbled, got away last, spotted the field a few lengths, and found himself playing catch-up throughout.
The prognosis looked more promising for Echo Again, the 9-5 second choice, who dashed to the lead through fractions of :23.89 and :47.14. Giant Mischief uncorked a big move from last to reach a threatening third on the far turn, but he was covering more ground out wide.
In contrast, Wildatlanticstorm was working out an advantageous trip with jockey Leandro Goncalves. Breaking from the far outside post 9, he nevertheless settled into a good stalking spot, and even made his way toward the rail on the backstretch. Wildatlanticstorm capitalized on a seam to the inside of Echo Again, got through to challenge as they passed six furlongs in 1:12.07, and punched clear upon straightening.
Giant Mischief gamely pursued down the length of the stretch and steadily gained, but could not get to the winner. Wildatlanticstorm kept on well enough to prevail in 1:38.24 and paid $32.
“I just sat between horses as we hit the backstretch,” Goncalves said. “Coming up the rail, I knew we were loaded. The last sixteenth of a mile I was kind of scared because he looked at the lights, but I could feel I had more left.”
Echo Again reported home a further three lengths back in third. There was a 6 1/4-length gap back to fourth-placer Gunflash, who edged Campfire Creed. Next came Money Run, Lil Sweet Thang, Ghost Hero, and the tailed-off American Outlaw.
Although the Springboard Mile offered points on the 10-4-3-2-1 scale to the top five, Wildatlanticstorm and Giant Mischief did not qualify for points because they raced on the medication Lasix. The respective third through fifth – Echo Again, Gunflash, and Campfire Creed – earned points for their efforts because they competed without Lasix.
Now that Wildatlanticstorm has proven himself, Ashford revealed that the chestnut will come off Lasix to pursue the Derby trail.
“We were going to see how he did in this race,” his trainer said, “and if he showed he was good enough, we will have to take him off (Lasix) down the road in other Kentucky Derby point races.
“My boys had this horse up at Claremore (Will Rogers Downs) while I was at Lone Star Park this summer (in July) and they’d call me every day bragging on the red horse. The red horse. The red horse. I had to pull the Dad card and get him to Lone Star, and when he got there I saw that they were right.”
Wildatlanticstorm improved his resume to 6-4-2-0, $366,568. The Iowa-bred is by Stormy Atlantic and out of Imsortaspecial, a daughter of 2008 Kentucky Derby and Preakness
(G1) champion Big Brown.