06/03/2011 3:19PM

Louisiana Downs: St. John's River pointed for Delaware Oaks, then Saratoga

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Tom Keyser
St. John's River (13), with Rosie Napravnik up, makes a late run to be second in the Kentucky Oaks.

A summer stakes plan for the Kentucky Oaks runner-up, St. John’s River, has been mapped out, and her first serious work for the Delaware Park and Saratoga races will come Sunday at her Louisiana Downs base, said Andrew Leggio Jr., who trains St. John’s River for Dede McGehee.

“She worked an easy half-mile last week and she’ll work a good five-eighths Sunday,” Leggio said Friday. “We’ll pick up the momentum from this point on.”

Leggio said St. John’s River is being pointed first for the Grade 2, $300,000 Delaware Oaks at 1 1/16 miles on July 9. From there, she could see action in the Grade 1, $500,000 Alabama at 1 1/4 miles at Saratoga on Aug. 20.

“If she does well in the Delaware Oaks and comes out of the race healthy, we’ll look at the Alabama,” said Leggio.

Leggio said plans are to ship St. John’s River to Delaware about two weeks before the race in order to get a work in over the track. Following the race, she could remain back east for a while, to train up to the Alabama.

“We’re gearing up for the Delaware Oaks, and then we’re close to Saratoga after that,” said Leggio.

Rosie Napravnik, who was aboard St. John’s River when she finished second by a neck in the Grade 1, $1 million Kentucky Oaks in her last start May 6, will be back aboard for the Delaware Oaks, said Leggio.

Remington boosts Springboard, Oaks

Remington Park in Oklahoma City put out its Thoroughbred stakes schedule Friday afternoon, and boosted by $50,000 each the purse of the Springboard Mile for 2-year-olds, which will be worth $300,000 on Dec. 10, and the Oaks, which will have a purse of $250,000 when it is run Oct. 16.

The races are part of a schedule of 28 stakes worth a cumulative $3.2 million. Remington, which operates a casino, will run 67 dates this year, from Aug. 18 through Dec. 10.

The Oaks, a 1 1/16-mile race won last year by eventual Grade 1 winner No Such Word, will share a card with the $400,000 Oklahoma Derby. The derby, at 1 1/8 miles, is the richest race of the meet. Also on that Oct. 16 card will be the $125,000 Remington Green, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and up.

Remington’s first major stakes will be a rich double for 3-year-olds and up Aug. 20. The $200,000 Remington Park Sprint Cup will be run at six furlongs, while the $100,000 Governor’s Cup is at 1 1/8 miles. Other top offerings during the season include the Oklahoma Classics program of eight divisional Oklahoma-bred stakes Oct. 28. To be run on a Friday night, the races are expected to be worth more than $1 million.

Handle dips on Quarter Horses

Remington wrapped up its 50-date meet for Quarter Horses on Monday, and reported a 3.6 percent decline in average daily handle on its races from all sources. Remington handled an average $388,473 a card this meet, compared with an average $403,179 a program during a 49-date meet in 2010.

Handle on Remington’s races ontrack was up 18 percent, to $84,902 a card, bolstered in part by the track’s decision to race Sunday afternoons for the first time since 2004. But the Sunday afternoon racing worked against handle on the track’s races offsite, according to a Remington release. It averaged $299,421 a card, down 7.6 percent from 2010.

Purses at the meet averaged $261,552 a card, up 11.6 percent from 2010.

Eddie Willis won his sixth straight training title at Remington with a season-record 53 wins. G. R. Carter Jr. won the riding title for the 14th time at Remington, with 91 wins, while the co-leading owners were Bill Price and James Sills.

Retama sets stakes for 2011

Retama Park near San Antonio has released its Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse stakes schedule for its live season of racing that will open July 1 and extend through Oct. 15. The first leg of the three-tiered meet will offer Quarter Horse racing from July 1 to July 28. The track will then conduct a mixed meet for Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses from July 29-Aug. 27. There will then be straight Thoroughbred racing from Sept. 1-Oct. 15.

“We’re excited about the meet,” said Bryan Brown, the chief operating officer of Retama.

The El Joven and La Senorita, which are one-mile turf races for 2-year-olds, highlight the Thoroughbred schedule. Each will be worth $75,000, and they will share a card on Oct. 15. The other Thoroughbred stakes this meet will be two $100,000 divisions of the Texas Stallion Stakes, both for 2-year-olds at six furlongs. The races will both be run Sept. 24.

Brown said simulcast handle for the year has been up, and he projects purses for Thoroughbreds will average $86,000 a day. Purses for Quarter Horses are projected at $60,000 a day. There are 23 stakes for Quarter Horses this season, among them the $100,000-added TQHA Sales Futurity, a restricted Grade 1 to be run on July 30.