10/02/2012 4:25PM

Remington notes: Sticks Wondergirl taking speed to Chilukki at Churchill Downs


OKLAHOMA CITY – Remington Park Oaks winner Sticks Wondergirl keeps stepping up her game, and next month she will get the biggest test of her career. Trainer Greg Burchell said the Grade 2, $150,000 Chilukki at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3 is the target for Sticks Wondergirl, who on Tuesday left Oklahoma to return to her Keeneland base in Kentucky.

The Chilukki, for fillies and mares at a mile, will be the first graded start for Sticks Wondergirl. She has used her good speed to win her last three races wire to wire, including the $250,000 Remington Park Oaks in her stakes debut Sunday. Sticks Wondergirl held off favorite Jemima’s Pearl for a three-quarter-length win, earning her best career Beyer Speed Figure, a 91.

“She came back good,” said Burchell, who trains Sticks Wondergirl for his wife, Beth Burchell and Alvin D.Haynes. “We’ll go for the Chilukki.”

Sticks Wondergirl began her streak in her second start, when she won a maiden special weight at a mile at Ellis Park on July 15. She proceeded to take a first-level allowance at Hoosier at a mile Aug. 22, then won the Remington Park Oaks. For all of her wins she has been ridden by Jon Court.

Burchell is a lifelong horseman who left the track and then returned in the last year to resume training. He took management positions with Taylor Made and Adena Springs, where he oversaw the early life of such horses as Ghostzapper and Ginger Punch. Burchell and his wife later developed the bloodstock agency Cross Roads.

His father, James W. Burchell, trained stakes winner Harry’s Secret Joy, a winner of 19 races.

Breeders’ Cup debate for Alsvid

The plans for Alsvid, who won his fourth stakes this year Sunday in the $200,000 Remington Park Sprint Cup, are wide open and include the possibility of supplementing him to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, his connections said. The horse is not Breeders’ Cup nominated, and to become eligible for the $1.5 million race at Santa Anita on Nov. 3 his owners would need to pay a fee of $100,000.

Alsvid, a 3-year-old son of Officer, has defeated older horses in both major sprint stakes run this meet at Remington. He covered six furlongs in 1:08.60 when winning the David M. Vance on Aug. 11, then returned to win the Remington Sprint Cup on a good track in 1:09.40. Alsvid earned his second straight Beyer Figure of 97.

“He came back in great shape,” trainer Chris Hartman said Monday. “I’m going to start scouring stakes schedules to find a spot somewhere.

“He can run a mile. It’s not out of his realm. I think he might end up being a real good miler.”

Hartman said a race that owner James Rogers wants to target down the road is the $50,000 King Cotton, a six-furlong race at Oaklawn Park on Jan. 26. “He said it’s one race he’s always wanted to win,” said Hartman.

Hartman is applying for stalls at the upcoming meet at Oaklawn.

Diamond Joe to remain at Remington

Diamond Joe, who was riding a nine-race win streak, emerged from his 10th-place finish in the $400,000 Oklahoma Derby on Sunday healthy and will continue to train at Remington Park while plans for the Nebraska-bred are made, said trainer Chuck Turco.

“We’ll play it by ear for a while, and when things feel right he’ll go again this year because he’s healthy,” said Turco.

Diamond Joe, who is the winningest horse in North America, got a hind leg over the gate Sunday just before the start of the Oklahoma Derby.

“He walked into the gate and bounced off of it,” said Turco. “He’d never had any trouble in the gate.”

Turco said Diamond Joe was stiff after the race and again Monday, but appeared to be fine on Tuesday. Diamond Joe has won seven stakes this year and entered the Oklahoma Derby off an allowance win at Remington.

Derby date discussed

Remington ran the Oklahoma Derby two weeks earlier this year than in the past, and discussions will be held to determine whether the new date sticks for 2013, said Scott Wells, the track’s president. The Oklahoma Derby was one of five major stakes run on a card that annually is the biggest day of the meet at Remington.

“It’s a double edged sword,” Wells said of the earlier running. “In one way, it helps position all the races as preps for the Breeders’ Cup.”

But, he said, with the Oklahoma Derby being run so close to the Sept. 8 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs, “it probably cost us a couple of participants.”

“It’s something we’re in the process of re-evaluating,” Wells said.

Remington handled $1,698,017 on its 10-race card from all sources Sunday, up 29 percent from an 11-race Oklahoma Derby card in 2011. The track reported $1,435,394 was handled on its Sunday card offtrack, which was up 9.2 percent. The ontrack crowd bet $256,871 on Remington.

Wells said attendance ontrack Sunday was 12,600, a number that includes patrons at the casino. He said the track does not differentiate attendance figures between the two as it gets crossover customers.

Bret Stossel More than 1 year ago
Remington should differentiate between the two attendance figures. Go to Remington on an average night and the casino will be overflowing. Walk over to the trackside and you might see a couple of hundred people milling around, including children. People go to Remington for the casino, not the racing. Sad but true.