10/11/2010 3:18PM

Pleasant Prince pointing to BC Classic

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Dustin Orona Photography
Pleasant Prince wins the $400,000 Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park.

OKLAHOMA CITY – Pleasant Prince earned a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 100 for his win Sunday in the $400,000 Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park and on Monday shipped back to the Keeneland base of his trainer, Wesley Ward.

Pleasant Prince’s next start is likely to come in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Pleasant Prince was freshened following his 11th-place finish in the Preakness on May 15 and has come back with three strong races, starting with a win in the Grade 3 Ohio Derby in July. He then traveled to Parx Racing on Sept. 6 and closed from well back for third in the $300,000 Smarty Jones at a mile and 70-yard distance that Ward felt was less than optimum for him.

Pleasant Prince’s authoritative nature win in the 1 1/8-mile Oklahoma Derby have his connections looking at the 1 1/4-mile BC Classic at Churchill Downs on Nov. 6.

“It was an impressive performance,” Ward said of Pleasant Prince’s four-length win in the Oklahoma Derby. “He seems to really like a conventional dirt surface. And I really think he’ll relish the further distance. With his breeding, he wants to go a mile and a quarter, no doubt.” Ward added that the timing of the BC Classic is a perfect fit for Pleasant Prince, a son of Indy King who has responded best with a nice amount of time between races.

“It will be the toughest competition he has faced in his life,” Ward said. “The good thing is he’s an improving 3-year-old. You can’t win it if you’re not in it. He’s doing really well, and I’d love to see him sit back there and make one big charge and get them.”

Ward said Joel Rosario, who rode Pleasant Prince in the Oklahoma Derby, would have the mount in the BC Classic. Rosario is one of the top riders in Southern California but has longtime ties to the Kentucky-based Ward and his father, Dennis Ward, a trainer who on Sunday saddled Pleasant Prince.

“When I first came here, to the United States, they gave me a lot of chances here to ride, in Northern California,” Rosario said. “I’m happy they gave me those chances.”

Pleasant Prince races for Ken and Sarah Ramsey.

Timely Pursuit and Stachys, who finished a respective second and third in the Oklahoma Derby, will be considered for the $150,000 Zia Park Derby on Dec. 4, according to their connections. Timely Pursuit set the pace in Oklahoma Derby and held second in what was his stakes debut.

“We’ll probably give him a little rest until Churchill,” trainer Mike Tomlinson said of Timely Pursuit.

Stachys, a multiple stakes winner, rallied from last for third in the Oklahoma Derby and for the immediate future will be freshened, trainer Mike Biehler said.

Biehler said longterm, the handicap races at Oaklawn Park this coming winter will be a goal for Stachys. The Hot Springs, Ark., track also is expected to be the winter base for Timely Pursuit.

* Remington Park handled $1,646,788 from all sources on its 10-race card Sunday, which had a total of five stakes. Betting on the program was up 22 percent from the same card a year ago. Remington reported $1.3 million was bet on the card offtrack, up 31 percent, and $278,098 on the card ontrack, up 56 percent.

Remington, which operates a casino, is in its first season under the ownership of Global Gaming.