Wildatlanticstorm sprung a surprise with a rail-hugging run to take the Remington Springboard Mile at Remington Park Dec. 17.
The Indiana-bred son of Stormy Atlantic came into the race with three wins and two seconds to his credit, his most recent start producing a victory in the Clever Trevor Stakes at Remington Oct. 28, but bettors didn’t rate the Remington Park form and let him start at 15-1.
Jockey Leandro Goncalves let Wildatlanticstorm settle just off the pace set by Echo Again, and then slipped through with an inside run to take the lead in the stretch. Favorite Giant Mischief rallied into contention, but couldn’t make up the leeway, and at the line it was Wildatlanticstorm in front by 1 1⁄4 lengths.
Trained by H. Ray Ashford Jr., Wildatlanticstorm is a Jim Jorgensen homebred out of Imsortaspecial, a mare by 2008 Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown. He earned 10 points toward a possible chance to emulate his damsire.
Giant Mischief, who had won both his starts prior to the Springboard Mile, earned four points on the Road to the 2023 Kentucky Derby, with second-favorite Echo Again taking three points for finishing third. Gunflash (two points) and Campfire Creed (one point) rounded out the top five.
By Alastair Bull
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 five finishers on a 10-4-3-2-1 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
|5||Giant Mischief 0-0||$2.40||$2.10|
|1||Echo Again 0-0||$2.60|