The Grade 2 Remsen was run on Saturday December 3rd, offering a total of 20 Derby Points toward entry in the 2023 Kentucky Derby. Seven two year olds traveled 1 mile and ⅛ for the first time in graded stakes company on a track that was labeled sloppy.
Tuskegee Airmen was sent off as the 6-5 favorite with Arctic Arrogance and Dubyuhnell as the second and third choices. Il Miracolo, who I saw as a longshot that could be a pace presence early missed the break, allowing for Arctic Arrogance to secure an easy early lead, with Dubyuhnell pressing from the outside. Arctic Arrogance set respectable early fractions for the track and distance, going 24:31 and 48:13 through the first half mile. Tuskegee Airmen was stuck behind rivals on the rail, sitting around midpack. When they turned for home, Arctic Arrogance and Dubyuhnell accelerated. Tuskegee Airmen was able to switch off the rail to about the three path, but he came up empty as the two frontrunners dueled through the length of the stretch. Dubyuhnell got up to win by a half length on the wire. He stopped the clock in 1:50:88, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 90 for his victory. That time was over two seconds faster than the final clocking of the Demoiselle, for two year old fillies at the same distance in the race before this one. Dubyuhnell is sired by 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner, Good Magic, out of the Forest Wildcat mare, Wild Gams.
While I thought that performance from the top two runners was more impressive that what we saw last week in Kentucky, I do wonder if the final figures and performances from them were somewhat inflated due to the sloppy course. Both Dubyuhnell and Arctic Arrogance were the only two runners in the field to have a win on an off track prior to this race. Both runners also have pedigrees that would suggest they’d handle the off track well. I was concerned about the pedigree for Dubyuhnell in terms of getting the nine furlong distance. Horses that were foaled by his dam had started 60 times prior to that race, most of those efforts coming in sprints. Only one runner had a win at two turns. Only one of those 60 starts came at this nine furlong distance, and that effort was a 34 length defeat. Dubyuhnell could certainly get some stamina influence from his sire, who won both the Grade 2 Blue Grass and the Grade 1 Haskell in 2018 at nine furlongs. Dubyuhnell could be headed to Florida with the possibility of returning to New York for the Wood Memorial, if not sooner, Arctic Arrogance appears to be pointed to either the Jerome in January or the Withers in February.
Tuskegee Airmen is the one other horse I’d be willing to give another chance to in a graded stakes race. His two wins at Parx at Delaware were strong performances on fast tracks. He looks like a horse that has a ton of physical ability, but his mind needs to catch up with his body still. He didn’t appear to be traveling as comfortably over the sloppy surface as he was over the dryer tracks that he saw in the Mid-Atlantic. He was in a position where he was taking more mud to the face than anyone else in the race, which, as a young horse, could have affected his performance. Being down on the inside was not a great place on Saturday. None of the first six winners on the card were closest to the rail at any point in their respective races. After losing by over 11 lengths, there should be some value on him if he does wind up in a Derby Points race in his next start.
The other four runners were all 28 lengths or more behind the winner. While they clearly didn’t care for the conditions, I think it’s fair to say that the top two are clearly better horses at this stage in their careers.
There are no Derby Points races scheduled next week. The Los Alamitos Futurity was originally penciled in for December 10th when the Derby Points Schedule came out. However, that race will be run next Saturday, 12/17, on the same day as the Springboard Mile at Remington Park. Both races will be covered on the In The Money Blog, under the 2023 Kentucky Derby Trail.