10/08/2009 11:00PM

Kelly Leak tops list of invaders


The $400,000 Oklahoma Derby on Sunday might have lost a couple of potential entrants to last week's graded derbies in Indiana and Ohio, but it has managed to draw horses from California, Florida, Kentucky, and New York.

Kelly Leak, the winner of the $900,000 Sunland Park Derby, and Massone, who was third last out in the Grade 2 Super Derby, are on hand from Southern California.

Iowa Derby winner Duke of Mischief has invaded from his Florida base.

Fiddlers Afleet, a stakes winner at Saratoga, is in from New York, and Zion came down from Kentucky after not drawing into the Grade 2 Indiana Derby.

Run at 1 1/8 miles, the Oklahoma Derby is the highlight of the Remington Park meet and will anchor a card that has three stakes totaling $750,000. The card, the richest of the meet, also includes the $200,000 Oaks and the $150,000 Remington Green.

Kelly Leak defeated Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird when he won the Sunland Park Derby in March, the richest Thoroughbred race in New Mexico. He had briefly been considered for the Indiana Derby, but his connections decided to target Remington.

"We thought the extra week would help him," said Mike Machowsky, who trains Kelly Leak.

Kelly Leak comes into Sunday's race off a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby on Sept. 7. He moved up to third in the stretch run, then lost ground late to blowout winner Gone Astray, who went on to win the Ohio Derby. Kelly Leak was beaten 11 lengths and earned a Beyer Figure of 85.

"I thought maybe he was a little fitter than he was going into that race," Machowsky said. "He hung a little bit. That was only his second start of the layoff. He had to start and stop all spring."

Kelly Leak was set to start in the Grade 3 Lone Star Derby in May, but an ulcer on his epiglottis forced him to miss it. The race was won by Mythical Power, who was second to him in the Sunland Derby.

Machowsky said he thought Kelly Leak was back on track earlier this summer, but a "flat" work led him to pull blood from the horse. Machowsky said his levels were out of balance, and as a result, Kelly Leak did not return to the races until August.

Machowsky said he hopes Kelly Leak will be sitting on a peak race in his third start off the layoff. Alonso Quinonez has the mount.

Duke of Mischief was fourth in the Pennsylvania Derby, but trainer David Fawkes said Duke of Mischief may not have liked the surface. In addition, he had trouble at the start.

"He stumbled and came up and got sandwiched," said co-owner Alex Lieblong. "It wasn't the best of trips, but we couldn't have beaten Gone Astray that day. He's a good one, and he showed it again the other day in the Ohio Derby."

Eibar Coa has the mount on Duke of Mischief.

Fiddlers Afleet was a neck winner in the $150,000 Albany for statebreds at Saratoga in his last start Aug. 26. He set the pace to equal his best Beyer Figure of 93.

"I thought he was a beat horse when I saw the early fractions," said his trainer, Mike Hushion. "Then he got passed a half a head and fought back. It was a very strong race, a much better race than it looks like in the Form because of the pace factor."

Channing Hill has the mount. Jermaine Bridgmohan will ride Zion for leading trainer Steve Asmussen, and his older brother, Shaun, has the mount on Asmussen's other representative in the race, Retap.