10/15/2009 11:00PM

Fiddlers Afleet likely to get break

Email

The $400,000 Oklahoma Derby last weekend at Remington Park was a big test for Fiddlers Afleet. He was moving back into open company for the first time in a while, he had shipped a considerable distance for the race from his base in New York, and he was running over 1 1/8 miles, a distance that appeared to be beyond his scope.

None of those variables was an obstacle to Fiddlers Afleet. He was a half-length winner over the late-charging Massone. The win was the third straight for Fiddlers Afleet, a streak that started in July, when he took a first-level allowance sprint for New York-breds at Belmont. He also won the $150,000 Albany for statebreds at Saratoga, a 1 1/8-mile race he won by a diminishing neck Aug. 26.

"I thought we might have distance limitations against better horses," said Mike Hushion, who trains Fiddlers Afleet for Marc Ferrell. "I thought a mile and an eighth, we were pushing it a little bit. But I was basing that on the race before when he had run ridiculous fractions. Maybe he has no distance limitations."

The win opens options for Fiddlers Afleet, who earlier this week returned to Hushion's barn at Belmont and is expected to remain idle for the remainder of 2009.

"It doesn't look like there's anything for him between now and the end of the year," Hushion said. "We'll probably take him to Palm Meadows and let him train down there and see where the horse takes us."

Hushion said Fiddlers Afleet could return to action in Florida or next year at Aqueduct. Fiddlers Afleet is a son of Northern Afleet and for his win in the Oklahoma Derby he equaled his best career Beyer Figure, a 93.

Remington dates similar for 2010

Remington's racing calendar for 2010 will look much like its current schedule. During a meeting Thursday, the Oklahoma Racing Commission approved the track's request for a 67-date Thoroughbred meet from Aug. 20 to Dec. 12, 2010. In addition, a 50-date meet for Quarter Horses is set for March 5 through May 31.

In other date approvals, Fair Meadows in Tulsa will race 34 mixed dates in 2010, from June 3 to July 25.

The dates applications for Will Rogers Downs near Tulsa and Blue Ribbon Downs in Sallisaw, Okla., were continued to the commission's next meeting Nov. 19. Will Rogers submitted an amended dates request, seeking separate Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse meets for 2010 instead of its typical single mixed meet in the spring. In its new request, Will Rogers has asked for a 32-date meet for Thoroughbreds from March 6 to May 15, 2010, and a 28-date Quarter Horse meet from Sept. 23 to Nov. 7, 2010.

Also during the meeting, the commission heard a presentation from an official with Global Gaming Solutions, the Chickasaw Nation organization that has reached an agreement to buy Remington Park. John Elliott, the chief operating officer, discussed facility improvements on the table for 2010 and 2011, which include replacing televisions at the track with flat screens and remodeling corporate boxes.

There are also, with commission approvals, plans to update gaming technology in the track's casino. With the purchase agreement in place on Remington, the commission is in the midst of procedural background checks on Global Gaming.

Jones juvenile to Springboard?

Trainer Larry Jones said Backwater Blues, an impressive debut winner at Delaware Park, will be considered for a start in the $200,000 Springboard Mile at Remington. The race is the meet's premier offering for 2-year-olds and will be run Dec. 13.

Jones came to Oklahoma last weekend and won the $200,000 Remington Park Oaks with Payton d'Oro. It was his first starter at the track. Backwater Blues was a head winner of a six-furlong maiden special weight Oct. 10.

"He made his debut the other day and came flying to get there the last jump," said Jones, who trains Backwater Blues for Cottonwood Stables.

For his win, Backwater Blues earned an 82 Beyer.

* Because of the turf course being overseeded, there will be no turf racing at Remington through Oct. 31.

* The stakes-winning Taptam is among seven fillies and mares in the eighth race Sunday, a $35,000 optional claimer at a mile.