10/16/2011 9:00PM

Remington: Redeemed responds to new equipment by taking Oklahoma Derby

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Dustin Orona Photography
Redeemed, equipped with blinkers for the first time, captures the Oklahoma Derby under jockey Edgar Prado.

OKLAHOMA CITY - Redeemed took his game to a new level on Sunday, when he closed with authority to win the $400,000 Oklahoma Derby over Grade 2 winners Alternation and Prayer for Relief. It was the first stakes win and first win at two turns for the rapidly improving  Redeemed, who added blinkers one start after finishing second in the $300,000 Smarty Jones at Parx Racing.

The Oklahoma Derby was the richest race of the Thoroughbred meet and it was supported by the $250,000 Remington Park Oaks that was won by Tourmaline ($52) and the $125,000 Remington Green won by Cherokee Lord ($4.40).

Redeemed ($12.80) settled about three lengths off the pace in the early stages of the Oklahoma Derby, as Socialsaul took the initiative from the start and led the field through fractions of 23.44 seconds for the opening quarter, 45.43 for the half-mile, and 1:11.96 for six furlongs. Redeemed foraged his way through a wall of horses on the final turn, angled out into the stretch, and closed strongly to overtake Alternation by a head. It was another three-quarters of a length back in third to Prayer for Relief. Redeemed covered the 1 1/8-mile  on a track rated fast in 1:49.20.

“The horse broke real well,” said Edgar Prado, who rode Redeemed for trainer Tony Dutrow. “I didn’t really want to be inside, that’s only place I could be. Everybody was outside of me. I just had to bide my time, and hopefully find room at the top of the stretch and have a nice kick, and that’s exactly what happened.”

With the win, Redeemed, who races for Jay Em Ess Stable, became the fourth next-out winner to emerge from the Smarty Jones. Wilburn, the winner of the Smarty Jones, returned in his next start to take the Grade 2 Indiana Derby; I’m Steppin It Up, who was third, has since won both the $265,000 Kent at Delaware Park and the Chief Tamanaco at Belmont Park; and Concealed Identity, who was seventh in the Smarty Jones, came back to win an allowance at Laurel.

Redeemed began his career with Tony Dutrow’s brother, Richard  Dutrow Jr., for whom he won a maiden special weight and two allowances, between Gulfstream Park and Belmont Park. Tony Dutrow said he began training Redeemed following the Smarty Jones that was run Sept. 5. Dutrow said the horse would return to his Aqueduct division now, and is probable to winter in Florida. He said no plans had been made for the horse at this point, and that they would be determined after he confers with Jay Em Ess Stable. Dutrow on Sunday said he was “encouraged” with the blinkers, and overall was well-pleased with the race from Redeemed in the Oklahoma Derby.

“It being the end of the 3-year-old year, we were hoping to see what we saw today,” he said. “He stepped up and ran a great race for us today and we have every reason to believe his future is bright.”

Prayer for Relief, who was seeking his fifth consecutive win Sunday, was the even-money favorite in the Oklahoma Derby. He raced in fourth along the inside for much of the race, boxed in along the rail. One start prior, Prayer for Relief had wired the field in the Grade 2 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs. 

“My horse broke good,” said Rafael Bejarano, who rode Prayer for Relief. “I tried to send him, go to lead, but those horses on the outside they kept sending. He was a little bit uncomfortable with the track, so I didn’t try to keep rushing my horse.”

Prayer for Relief made a bid in the stretch, then surged again late between horses in what was his first start at Remington.

 

Redeemed is by Include and from the Pleasant Tap mare Early Mass. He was bred in Virginia by Morgan’s Ford Farm and has now won 4 of 7 starts and $424,140.

 

Remington handled $1,314,578 on its 11-race card from all sources Sunday. Of that amount, the large, ontrack crowd bet $264,557 on the program. Remington, which operates a slots casino, offers free admission.