10/21/2006 12:00AM

Mr. Pursuit takes Oklahoma Derby


OKLAHOMA CITY - Mr. Pursuit had been knocking on the door in a number of stakes races this year, and hit the jackpot on Friday night when he outgamed Private Fight for a three-quarter length win in the $273,000 Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park.

The mile and an eighth race was one of six stakes on what was the richest card of the meet. Purses for the races exceeded $675,000.

Mr. Pursuit ($18.20) settled in fifth early, racing off the rail as Wait In Line set fractions of 23.55 seconds for the opening quarter, 47.62 for the half-mile mark, and 1:11.93 for six furlongs. Mr. Pursuit advanced on the final turn, came into the stretch three wide, and went on to cover the distance over a track rated fast in 1:50.21.

"I was a little wide, but I was in the catbird's seat the entire way," said Cliff Berry, who rode Mr. Pursuit for trainer Joe Petalino. "When I pushed the button, he went fast. He ran fantastic."

Private Fight, who was prominent throughout, was disqualified from second and placed fourth for interference in the stretch with Casino Evil. The change moved More Than Regal into second place in the Oklahoma Derby, followed by Casino Evil in third. Louisborg, who was the favorite, finished fifth and was compromised by the moderate pace, said his connections.

"He has to have a pace," said Tony Richey, who trains Louisborg. "And when [Master of Disaster] scratched like he did, that was the speed. He's got to have that pace."

Mr. Pursuit, who had placed in three stakes prior to the Oklahoma Derby, earned $163,380 for his first career stakes win Friday, pushing his earnings to $296,975. He is a son of General Royal and races for Illona Whetstone. Mr. Pursuit is based at Remington with Petalino, who recently underwent bypass heart surgery. The Oklahoma Derby was Petalino's second stakes win on the card Friday, following a $69 upset by Lineofbull in the $75,000 Remington Park Sprint Championship. Justin Shepherd rode Lineofbull.

The remaining order of finish in the Oklahoma Derby was R's Star in sixth, followed by Sensational Score, Almost Certain, Wait In Line, Like an Eagle and Belligerence.

Brownie Points dominates Oaks

Brownie Points was the only winning favorite on the program, powering to a three and three-quarter length win in the $100,000 Remington Park Breeders' Cup Oaks. Speed Wagon finished second, a half-length clear of third-place finisher Chetten County.

Brownie Points ($3) raced closer to the pace than usual in the Oaks, stalking Mila's Fame through fractions of 24.07 for the opening quarter, 47.87 for the half-mile mark and 1:12.37 for six furlongs. Brownie Points overtook that one into the stretch, and went on to a commanding win, covering the mile over firm turf in 1:36.77.

"We were a little concerned about what the pace would be in the race," said Donnie Von Hemel, who trains Brownie Points. "It turns out she was laying second, about three or four back early, and went about it very professionally and won like a 1-2 shot is supposed to."

Luis Quinonez rode Brownie Points for Pin Oak Stable. The filly earned $60,000 for the win, which was her second straight stakes score behind the $200,000 Marie P. DeBartolo Oaks at Louisiana Downs.

Dirt win for Going Ballistic

Von Hemel won a second stakes on the program when Going Ballistic made a successful transition to dirt and won the $100,000 MEC Mile for 2-year-olds. In three prior starts, Going Ballistic had raced on turf, winning his maiden and the $100,000 El Joven at Retama Park, and finishing second in the $100,000 Juvenile at Louisiana Downs.

"He ran great," said Berry, who rode Going Ballistic. "The dirt didn't bother him a bit."

Going Ballistic ($7.80) closed with a rush for a four and a half length win over Western Prize. It was another two lengths back in third to Loose Leaf. Going Ballistic covered the distance in 1:37.40.

Major Rhythm in Remington Green

Major Rhythm held off the late surge of Notable Okie for a nose win in the $100,000 Remington Green. It was another length and three-quarters back in third to favorite Dontbotherknocking.

Major Rhythm ($9.40) was prominent throughout the mile and a sixteenth turf race, covering the distance in 1:43.38. Earlie Fires rode the winner for trainer Ed Beam.

* Polynesian Kitty ($30.40) edged favorite Round Lake on the wire to win the $50,000 E.L. Gaylord for 2-year-old fillies by a neck. Helen Vanek rode the winner for trainer Shawn Payton.

* Handle on the 11-race card was $1,783,106, up from the $1,163,156 that was bet on the corresponding card in 2005.