In multiple respects, the Remington Springboard Mile Stakes ranks among the youngest Kentucky Derby prep races. It’s also one of the fastest-growing prep races in terms of national recognition and impact.
Remington Park’s signature race for juveniles was given its current name and mid-December calendar slot in 2009, having previously been run as the Remington MEC Mile Stakes. In the years since, steady purse increases have served to significantly raise the profile of the one-mile race.
Case in point? During the first decade of its revamped conditions, the Springboard Mile produced five Derby starters. Leading the charge was the aptly-named Will Take Charge, who turned in a gallant front-running effort to finish second in the 2012 Springboard Mile. The following season, Will Take Charge competed in all three legs of the Triple Crown and was voted champion 3-year-old male of 2013.
The rising prominence of the Springboard Mile didn’t go unnoticed by Churchill Downs. In 2017, the Springboard Mile was added to the Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race schedule, offering qualification points to the top four finishers on a 10-4-2-1 basis.
The horses aren’t the only stars competing in the Springboard Mile. Prominent jockeys and trainers have also set their sights on the increasingly rich prize. In 2017, three-time Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Victor Espinoza guided Greyvitos to victory in the stakes-record time of 1:37.14. Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen has saddled a handful of winners, including It’sallinthechase, who parlayed victory in the 2001 Remington MEC Mile into a start in the 2002 Kentucky Derby.
Asmussen also saddled 2018 Springboard Mile winner Long Range Toddy, who inadvertently had an outsized impact on the 2019 Kentucky Derby. When the ultimately victorious Maximum Security ducked out sharply on the final turn, Long Range Toddy was forced to steady sharply in traffic, part of a chain reaction that famously led to the disqualification of Maximum Security.
Suffice to say, the Remington Springboard Mile has earned its place on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and should only continue to grow in stature.
By J. Keeler Johnson