06/12/2013 1:20PM

Remington Park: Oklahoma Derby, reinstated as a Grade 3, tops 32 stakes worth $3.4 million

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The $400,000 Oklahoma Derby has been reinstated as a Grade 3 race for its Sept. 29 running in the most significant change to the Remington Park stakes schedule that was released on Wednesday. In all, there will be 32 stakes worth nearly $3.4 million during the 67-date meet that opens Aug. 16. The season runs through Dec. 15.

The Oklahoma Derby was last contested as a Grade 3 in 2004, the final year of a six-season run at the level after first achieving graded status in 1999. This year’s 25th running of the Oklahoma Derby will again be held over a mile and an eighth, and it will anchor a Sunday afternoon program of six stakes worth $975,000. There were five stakes on the corresponding card a year ago. Other major components of the most important program of the season include the $200,000 Remington Park Oaks, a mile and a sixteenth race trimmed from last year’s purse of $250,000.

The $150,000 Remington Park Sprint Cup for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs is also part of the Oklahoma Derby program, as is the $100,000 Remington Green for 3-year-olds and up at a mile and a sixteenth on turf. The Oklahoma Derby card was held two weeks earlier than usual last year, and after drawing strong stakes fields, including Grade 1 winner Willy Beamin for the Oklahoma Derby, officials have stayed with the earlier schedule for 2013.

Other notable races on the calendar include the Springboard Mile for 2-year-olds on Dec. 15. The race is worth $250,000 this year after being run for $300,000 last season, when Texas Bling won over Will Take Charge, eventual Rebel winner and a participant in all three legs of this year’s Triple Crown. This year, Remington has added a 2-year-old filly companion to the Springboard Mile, the $100,000 Trapeze, at the same one-mile distance, and on the same card Dec. 15.

Also on the Remington calendar is Oklahoma Classics Night, a program of eight divisional stakes for Oklahoma-breds. The races are worth a cumulative $1 million, making the Oct. 18 card the richest of the season at Remington Park.