Oscar Nominated upsets Spiral but will need to be supplemented to Kentucky Derby

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April 2nd, 2016

Ramsey Farm’s Oscar Nominated rallied to catch Azar in deep stretch and posted a 23-1 upset in Saturday’s $500,000 Spiral (G3) at Turfway Park. The Road to the Kentucky Derby qualifier offered points on a 50-20-10-5 scale to the top four finishers, but Oscar Nominated wasn’t nominated for the Triple Crown.

He’ll need to be supplemented for a $200,000 fee to be eligible for the Kentucky Derby.

“We’re going to the Derby one way or another,” Ken Ramsey said. “We love this horse, I bet him pretty well. I thought that he would finish in there. He had been showing a lot in his training moves and these Kitten’s Joys really love the Polytrack all over, so we thought we had a big shot.”

Haltered for a $75,000 tag from a Belmont maiden claiming win last October, the Mike Maker-trained Oscar Nominated provided Ken & Sarah Ramsey with their third Spiral win. The previous two, Dean’s Kitten (2010) and We Miss Artie (2014), were unplaced in the Kentucky Derby.

“We did not nominate this one,” Ramsey said. “As a matter of fact, just a couple of weeks ago before the last phase went for $6,000, I asked ‘What do you think Mike? Do we have anything worth $6,000?’ and he said, ‘I don’t think so,’ and then he called four or five days ago and said, ‘You know we should have put this horse in. He is really coming around.’ The Polytrack moved him up, I guess.”

With jockey Brian Hernandez Jr., Oscar Nominated stalked the pace while five wide into the first turn, racing a few lengths back in sixth as Ralis and Azar established opening fractions in :23.22 and :48.23. Azar maintained a short lead through the far turn as Oscar Nominated advanced closer into contention while wide through the bend.

After six furlongs in 1:13.62, the race was wide open as the field reached upper stretch. Azar reached the mile mark in 1:38.74, but Oscar Nominated was only a head back in second and determinedly wore down in his rival in the final furlong, scoring by a neck.

The Kitten’s Joy colt completed 1 1/8 miles in 1:51.12 on the Polytrack.

The top five finishers were separated by about a length on the wire. Azar, the 8-1 co-fourth choice among 12 runners, saved the placed by a neck over the fast-closing Surgical Strike, who experienced a tough trip going extremely wide off the far turn while closing from far back at 8-1. It was another neck back to the 58-1 Two Step Time, who edged the 17-1 Ralis by a nose for fourth.

Don’t Be So Salty, Kasseopia, 2-1 favorite Airoforce, Strike Up the Band, Jensen, Swagger Jagger and That Makes Sense completed the order.

In his first start for Ramsey/Maker, Oscar Nominated finished a head second in a Churchill Downs’ turf allowance in late November. He opened 2016 with a neck second in the grassy Keith Gee Memorial at Fair Grounds and entered the Spiral off a 1 ½-length victory over the same course in the February 27 Black Gold.

With the $282,000 payday, the chestnut has now earned $371,860 from a 7-3-2-0 record.

Bred in Kentucky by Mrs. Jerry Amerman, Oscar Nominated is out of the stakes-winning Theatrical mare Devine Actress.

Photo courtesy of Turfway Park/Coady Photography