10/14/2005 11:00PM

Oklahoma Derby falling into place


The $150,000 Oklahoma Derby was taking shape on Saturday, with Real Dandy and Military Major among the leading contenders expected for the 1 1/8-mile race that will be run at Remington Park in Oklahoma City on Friday night. Entries will be drawn Tuesday.

Golden Rainbow, who is in sharp form, is a possible for the race, according to Tim Ritchey, who trains the horse for the Cash Is King syndicate that also races Afleet Alex. In his last start, Golden Rainbow stormed to a 5 1/4-length win in a two-other-than allowance at Delaware Park on Oct. 9.

"He won pretty convincingly," said Ritchey.

Ritchey said if Golden Rainbow goes in the Oklahoma Derby, he would ship in early in the week in order to train over the track at Remington.

Real Dandy is one of two horses trainer Steve Asmussen said he will start in the Oklahoma Derby. He also plans to enter either Ready Ruler or Jazzy Gallop. Real Dandy won the Grade 3, $750,000 West Virginia Derby in August, and is the most accomplished member of the prospective field for the Oklahoma Derby. He was compromised by a lack of pace in his last start, the Grade 2, $750,000 Super Derby on Oct. 1, and finished eighth.

Military Major has been under consideration for this race since he finished fourth, beaten 2 1/2 lengths, in the Super Derby. Mike Carama, who trains the horse for Kinsman Stable, said one of the draws of the Oklahoma Derby is that it is one of the final dirt route stakes for 3-year-olds in 2005.

"On paper, he might be the favorite for the race," said Caraman. "I think we've got a good shot."

Military Major is a half-brother to Grade 3 winner Acceptable. Caraman said Jeff Burningham is expected to ride in the Oklahoma Derby.

Lumbre worked five furlongs in 1:00.35 at Remington on Saturday morning and is being pointed for the Oklahoma Derby, according to his new trainer, Bret Calhoun. Robert Bone purchased the horse privately following his third-place finish against older sprinters last out in the $40,000 Taliaferro Memorial.

Calhoun, the leading trainer at Remington, said Quincy Hamilton, who led the rider standings here heading into the races Saturday, has the mount on Lumbre.

Lucky Bid is another probable for the race. He drilled five furlongs in 1:02.80 at Remington on Saturday. He has recently joined the stable of trainer Joe Petalino after racing in the allowance ranks in Southern California. Petalino said Lucky Bid will add blinkers for the Oklahoma Derby.

Flying Eagle, who has won his maiden and an entry-level allowance by a combined 9 1/4 lengths in his last two starts, is being seriously considered for the Oklahoma Derby, trainer Roger Engel said. Other possibles for the race include Kilates Kiss, who took the lead for a brief while in the Super Derby before finishing sixth, fourth lengths behind the winner, The Daddy.

The Oklahoma Derby has undergone some changes this year. The purse and distance remain the same, but the race is being held a month earlier and has lost its Grade 3 status. The Oklahoma Derby will also be run at night and on a Friday for the first time in its 16-year history. The race will be supported by three other stakes this year, making for the richest card of the meet at Remington.

The undercard stakes include the $75,000 MEC Mile for 2-year-olds, which is expected to draw stakes winners Premier Dance, Out Our Way, Brick Crew, and Almost Certain. Dontbotherknocking, the winner of the $125,000 DeBartolo Memorial and the $125,000 Harrah's Louisiana Downs Handicap, is among the probables for the $50,000 Remington Green, while More than Promised tops the prospective field for the $40,000 Remington Oaks.