09/26/2013 4:02PM

Remington Park: Broadway Empire's Canadian form difficult to measure

Ryan Hayes/Coady Photography
Broadway Empire comes into the Oklahoma Derby off a win in the 1 3/8-mile Canadian Derby at Northlands Park in Edmonton, Alberta.

Departing is not the only horse riding a stakes streak into the Grade  3, $400,000 Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park on Sunday. Broadway Empire also has won stakes in his last two starts, in Canada. The horses are part of field of eight for the Oklahoma Derby, a 1 1/8-mile race that was drawn on Thursday.

Departing, to break from post  8, will be a strong favorite on the strength of his streak that began with an eight-length romp in the Grade 2 West Virginia Derby on Aug.  3. It continued earlier this month with a four-length score in the Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby.

Broadway Empire, who drew post  5, has built his streak at Northlands Park in Alberta, Canada. He won the $51,000 Ky Alta at a mile July 6, by a cruising seven lengths. He then advanced to the richest race in western Canada, the Grade 3, $200,000 Canadian Derby, and was a three-length winner as the favorite. That 1 3/8-mile race was run Aug. 17.

For the Oklahoma Derby, Broadway Empire will be cutting back in distance and also moving from four turns to two after racing on a five-furlong oval at Northlands.

“I think that will help him,” trainer Robertino Diodoro said. “That was one of my concerns taking him up to Canada, the bullring. He’s a big horse, with a long stride to him. He’s not built like a bullring horse. But he did handle it fine. He’s worked back [at Turf Paradise] on the mile track, and I think that will help him [Sunday]. He’s meant to be on a mile track.”

Diodoro said Broadway Empire shipped into Remington last Saturday. Rico Walcott, who was aboard for the horse’s wins at Northlands, has the mount in the Oklahoma Derby.

Broadway Empire, a gelded son of Empire Maker who has won 3 of 5 starts, opened his career in March with a 16-length debut win at Turf Paradise.

Departing, a gelded son of War Front who has won 6 of 8 starts, was installed the 6-5 morning-line favorite for the Oklahoma Derby. He is to be ridden by Robby Albarado.

The complete field from the rail with riders and morning-line odds: Texas Bling, Fabio Arguello Jr., 10-1; Carve, Ricardo Santana Jr., 8-1 ; Braveman, Terry Thompson, 10-1; He Has Bling, Belen Quinonez, 10-1; Broadway Empire, 4-1; Holiday Mischief, Cliff Berry, 12-1; Cameo Appearance, Luis Quinonez, 9-2; Departing.

Texas Bling and He Has Bling will be coupled for Hall’s Family Trust and trainer Danele Durham. In a change of equipment, Carve will be wearing blinkers for the Oklahoma Derby.

The race will go as the ninth on a 10-race program, with an approximate post of 5:14 p.m. Central. There is a special first post of 1:30 p.m. The forecast is for partly cloudy skies and a high of 78 degrees, according to The Weather Channel.

There will be a total of six stakes on the card Sunday, with the races worth a cumulative $975,000. Remington will offer a $25,000 guaranteed pool on a pick four that runs from races 7-10. The sequence begins with the $75,000 Kip Deville for 2-year-olds and includes the $100,000 Remington Green and the Oklahoma Derby.

TVG will have a live remote at Remington on Sunday, manned by Rich Perloff.