Mucho Gusto Favored in Competitive Oklahoma Derby

Mucho Gusto wins the Affirmed Stakes at Santa Anita Park
Mucho Gusto wins the Affirmed Stakes at Santa Anita Park

Benoit Photo

Eight stakes will highlight Remington Park‘s Sunday card, including the $200,000 Remington Park Oaks (G3) for 3-year-old fillies three races before the featured Oklahoma Derby.

Trainer Bob Baffert brings in West Coast invader Mucho Gusto, the 8-5 morning-line favorite for the 1 1/8-mile Derby.

Third last time out in the Aug. 24 Travers, the Mucho Macho Man  colt has not finished off the board in nine starts. After a win in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park in his season debut, he returned March 24 to finish third in the Sunland Park Derby (G3).

Not having enough points to get into the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1), Mucho Gusto stayed in California and scored back-to-back wins in the May 18 Lazaro Barrera Stakes (G3) and June 16 Affirmed Stakes (G3).

Traveling east for the first time, he then finished second to the disqualified Kentucky Derby winner, Maximum Security, in the Haskell Invitational Stakes (G1) one start before the Travers.

The Michael Lund Peterson-owned colt will be ridden by Joe Talamo from post 10 in the 11-horse field.

Tax, who competed in both the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1), enters the Oklahoma Derby off a seventh-place finish in the Travers. One start prior, the son of Arch won the July 27 Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) over TacitusGlobal Campaign, and Preakness Stakes (G1) winner War of Will.

Trained by Danny Gargan, the gelding has a string of quick breezes, with his latest Sept. 21 when he completed four furlongs in :47 3/5 on Belmont Park‘s dirt training track to be the fourth-fastest of 64 that day.

Tax, who arrived in Oklahoma City Wednesday, will be ridden by Kendrick Carmouche from post 5.

Owendale, a closing third in the Preakness, beaten only 1 1/4 lengths by War of Will, is the 3-1 morning-line second choice. The Into Mischief  colt went on to win the June 22 Ohio Derby (G3) over recent Pennsylvania Derby (G1) winner Math Wizard and fellow Oklahoma Derby entrant Long Range Toddy.

Fifth in the Travers, Owendale also worked Sept. 21, posting a bullet five furlongs for trainer Brad Cox in :58 4/5 to be the fastest of 42 at Churchill Downs that day. Florent Geroux will be aboard from the outside post.

Trainer Steve Asmussen enters Long Range Toddy, who was last seen finishing fifth in the July 13 Indiana Derby (G3). The Take Charge Indy colt finished third in the Southwest Stakes (G3) and won a division of the Rebel Stakes (G2) to earn a start in the Kentucky Derby.