10/08/2009 11:00PM

Payton d'Oro isn't limited to one style


The extreme facelift given to Sunday's $200,000 Remington Park Oaks has enabled the 1 1/16-mile race to draw three graded winners: Payton d'Oro, Hightap, and Peach Brew. They will mix it up on the meet's richest program, which also includes the $400,000 Oklahoma Derby and the $150,000 Remington Park Green.

Last year, the Oaks was a turf route worth $75,000. This year, it hits the main track and six figures.

"We wanted to make it more compatible as a sister race, as it were, to the derby," said Scott Wells, president of Remington.

Payton d'Oro reached a career high back in May, when she won the Grade 2 Black Eyed-Susan at Pimlico. She led throughout and earned a career-best Beyer Figure of 94 under regular rider Terry Thompson.

"She happened to draw the rail that day and there wasn't a ton of speed, so Terry let her go out and dictate things," said Larry Jones, who trains Payton d'Oro for John Ferris and Mike Pressley. "But I think she'll do whatever the race calls for her to do."

Payton d'Oro showed her versatility in the three races she won leading up to the Black-Eyed Susan. She closed from well off the pace for a maiden score in January, then used stalking tactics to win a first-level allowance and the $75,000 Instant Racing, both at Oaklawn.

She has raced twice since the Black Eyed-Susan, finishing second to Bon Jovi Girl, a horse she defeated at Pimlico, in the $125,000 Susan's Girl at Delaware Park. One start later, Payton d'Oro was fifth to future Grade 1 Alabama winner Careless Jewel in the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks on July 18.

"We've been hooking some real horses," Jones said. "To be honest, I don't know that Delaware is one of her favorite tracks. I'm hoping that a little different change in scenery will get her back to what she can do."

Hightap bagged a pair of Grade 3 races earlier this year, taking the Dogwood at Churchill in May and the Iowa Oaks at Prairie Meadows in June. From there, she was sixth in the Grade 1 Coaching Club at Belmont Park on July 25, and third in the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks on Aug. 15.

"I thought it was a little quick back off the Coaching Club," said Steve Asmussen, who trains Hightap. "With that being said, she's had plenty of time since her last start and is training nicely. I expect a good race from her."

Shaun Bridgmohan has the mount on Hightap.

Peach Brew won the Grade 3 Arlington Oaks in July, and is 2 for 4 at Remington. Quincy Hamilton has the mount for trainer Donnie Von Hemel.

Steve's Double defends title

Steve's Double tends to mean business when he invades this region from his Kentucky base. Last year, he came to the Southwest twice and took the $200,000 Unbridled Handicap at Louisiana Downs in September and the Remington Green in October.

Now Steve's Double is back to defend his title in the Green, which is for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles on turf. He enters off a close third in the Grade 3 Red Bank at Monmouth on Sept. 6. Joe Rocco Jr. has the mount for trainer Ronny Werner.