By US Racing Team
A rainy opening day at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort was all about Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen kicking off his quest for that elusive victory in the Kentucky Derby.
And it went well for Oaklawn’s leading trainer. Of his four entries in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes on Thursday, three earned Derby qualifying points with long shot Gold Street winning easily by 2 ¾ lengths over a muddy track, Shoplifted finishing third and Silver Prospector fourth.
With the results, Asmussen now has three of the top point leaders early on the Road to the Derby.
Gold Street ($22.80 for a $2 win bet) jumped onto the leaderboard at No. 12 by earning 10 points for the victory in his 3-year-old debut, his third straight win after closing out 2019 with a pair of victories for a record of 6-3-2-0 for owner Mike McCarty.
Three Technique, owned by NFL Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells’ August Dawn Farm and trained by Jeremiah Englehart, was second to earn four Derby points, with Shoplifted garnering two points (12 qualifying points for fourth on the leaderboard), and Silver Prospector adding one point to move into sixth place with 11 qualifying points.
Lynn’s Map, a Derby prospect trained by Mark Casse, was fifth, followed by Shared Sense, Lykan, Asmussen-trained Jungle Runner, and Nucky,
Last year’s Smarty Jones winner was Spun to Run, who upset Omaha Beach in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1), and, along with Omaha Beach, was scratched out of Saturday’s $3 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park.
Shoplifted won the Springboard Mile at Remington Park on Dec. 15 for his first 10 qualifying points, while Silver Prospector took the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 30 for his first 10 points.
The Southwest Stakes (G3) is the next Derby prep race on the Oaklawn calendar, set for Feb. 17.
Asmussen, trainer of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin as well as champion Rachel Alexandra, is 0-for-20 in the Derby with two runner-up finishes (Lookin At Lee, 2017l Nehro, 2011).