Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Gone In a Flash

The Quarter Horses have come and gone from Remington for 2016.  Per every RP QH meet, the season seems to start and finish in the blink of an eye.  Official workouts begin in February, those precious training races follow soon thereafter and by early March we’re off to the races

It is always a wild Springtime with something special going on every week. Trials, finals, Extreme Racing, The Kentucky Derby simulcast, the Mega-Card and tons of horsepower, promotions and winning through it all.

Win at Remington Park, okc
A new promotion and added way to win at Remington Park, was our League Night contest and competition.  On Friday nights, guests were encouraged to participate in a free, four-race handicapping contest. There was a weekly $200 cash prize and a $1000 top prize for the 11-week contest.  Those who joined it - enjoyed it. League Night at RP got started off like a winner.  It will return for the 2016 Thoroughbred meet in August. 

Remington Park, Silks restaurant, los churros, mexican food, okc
Fiesta At The Park faced some weather woes, but once a month Remington Park recognized its many Hispanic guests and horsemen with three events filled with live Mexican music and Mexican food trucks.  The threat of April showers forced one band to relocate inside to our Silks clubhouse restaurant; but on all three occasions there was a nice vibe, vibration and libations.   Long live los churros!

Remington Park, crowd, community
Extreme Racing for Charity is always tough to top and this year was no different.  The Clydesdales cantered, the donkeys ducked (and bucked), the ostriches – odd as ever, and the camel race saw jockey G.R. Carter come out of retirement to win aboard a camel at RP for the third time.  Carter retired from riding as Quarter Horse racing’s all-time leading jockey in wins and earnings.

Remington park, quarter horse racing
G. R. retired in 2015 having won 18 Remington Park Leading Jockey titles.  So then, without Carter on his throne, jockey Ivan Carnero was quick to find the lead in the standings and finish up on top.  Ivan is a kind and quiet young man who deserves the charmed life he is living in the saddle.  Many of his wins came astride Clint Crawford trained horses.  Clint tied for the 2015 RP Leading Trainer and won it outright and convincingly this year at RP.

Remington Park, horse racing
There were many racehorse stars at RP in 2016.  Ivoriona began her career by setting a track record here at 250 yards (13.03).  She went undefeated in three races, leaving it all on the track in a gut-wrenching, dead-heat win (with PHQ Goodbye Earl) in the G1 Speedhorse Graham Paint & Appaloosa Futurity.  Ajs High also won three races; all three were stakes races and all three wins suggest he can face the best of the best in Quarter Horse racing.  However, he did not face Zoomin Effortlesslywho was a thing of beauty.  We only saw Zoomin Effortlessly run twice at RP, but his wins and the post-race winnerviews” with jockey Santos Carrizales were memorable.  Beyond the trainer and owner of the horse, Santos has a remarkable bond with the 5-year-old gelding who he frequently referred to as “a member of the family.” Zoomin Effortlessly also set a track record at 440 yards (20.75) and was voted 2016 Quarter Horse of the Meet. 

Years ago, the AQHA tagged the racing American Quarter Horse as “America’s Fastest Athlete.”  I’ll buy that.  There are many robust, well-trained, equine athletes that come into the RP paddock.  And they are fast!  It was a treat to experience arguably the best-balanced meet of Quarter Horse racing in the world.  

Over 550 times, in typically less than :20 seconds.  Whoosh!  That’s it.  It started and it’s over.  That’s Quarter Horse racing.  And that was RP QH 2016.

Chris Kotulak
June 16, 2016  

Thursday, March 24, 2016

                                           5 DATES YOU CAN’T MISS THIS SEASON

       Fiesta at the Park- April 16th
Time to FIESTA! Authentic food, beer and live music, now that’s what we call a party… Not to mention some of the best Quarter Horse racing in the nation! So mark your calendars, save the date, you’ll be missing out if you don’t join the fiesta!

2.       Extreme Race Day- April 24th
From snouts to humps, you can bet they’ll be on the track this day! Ostriches, check. Camels, check. Donkeys, check. Pigs, don’t doubt it. Zebras, you bet and don’t forget about the always amazing Quarter Horses! Think we forgot about your tummy, nope; check out the food truck derby too… It’s a day of EXTREME races and EXTREME giving as we raise money for our Remington Park charities! 

3.       Kentucky Derby- May 7th
Dress to impress! We know you’ve been waiting all season long for this… From hat contests to mint juleps, this might take the cake as the biggest date of the season and trust us… You want your slice! We know it’s the talk of the town, so talk derby…

4.       Memorial Day- May 30th
Start with some live music and finish with some live racing. The goodies and giveaways are just the beginning to a day filled with fun. So leave the I’s we’ll dot them and we’ll cross those t’s too… We’ve got Memorial Day covered from the time you walk in the door. Salute!  

5.     Quarter Horse Season Closer- June 4th
It’s obvious that you don’t want to miss this day… OVER 1 MILLION DOLLARS IN PURSE WINNINGS! Yes, we saved the best for last… This is deserving of a please, thank you and you’re welcome!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Cliff Has Class

Celebrity, or at least notoriety, is a parcel of success. The modern day professional athlete typically gets heaps of attention and a mountainous salary. Too bad their behavior at work and beyond can often be the pits.
A professional athlete has a responsibility to themselves, their team and their public. Nowadays, much practice is needed in the practice of professionalism.
I define the word class as: the intellect of knowing the difference between right and wrong, and making an effort to do what is right. The definition is simple. But so often there is a deficiency in the knowing or doing part – or both.
Cliff Berry is all class. I’ve only known Cliff for five years, but my experience with him in the “working media” and as a friend has been memorable. He has always carried himself as a humble gentleman, he has been dependable and I’m sure he made an effort to do things that he might not have wanted to do. But he did them because he was a professional jockey - and he has class.
Cliff Berry retired as the 44th all-time leading rider based on wins. All-time! Think about that. If he was ranked 44th for 2015 alone that would be a fine honor, but concluding a career at 44th in the national history of thoroughbred racing might be an accomplishment that Cliff hasn’t yet entirely absorbed. Good for you Cliff Berry.
You’ll genuinely be missed by the thousands of horsemen and handicappers who relied on you.
Godspeed to you and your family good man.

Written by,

Chris Kotulak

Thursday, June 4, 2015

 The Meaning of MEGA

Churchill Downs has the Kentucky Derby, Ruidoso Downs has their All American Futurity – Remington Park has the MEGA CARD.  The Kentucky Derby is known as, “The most exciting two minutes in sports.” I have long-called the All American Futurity, “The quickest million in sports.”  And our MEGA CARD night can easily be called, “The Biggest and Best card in Quarter Horse racing.”  Without a doubt, the collection of horses, purse money and graded stakes offered in one night, on our concluding weekend of racing, is annually the best QH race card on the planet.  This year we offered over 2.4 million dollars in purse money, eight stakes races, six graded stakes and three G1 stakes.  The G1 Heritage Place Futurity was worth over 1.1 million this year.  In one race alone, the G1 $250,000 Remington Park Championship Invitational not only had three 2014 AQHA divisional champions, one was the reigning AQHA World Champion.
We can really draw some big crowds at Remington Park, but typically there is the coinciding allure of an event that drives the attraction.  The Kentucky Derby or Oklahoma Derby are always big days; and there is no bigger day at RP than Extreme Racing Day, when donkeys, zebras, ostriches and camels all race from the gate.
But MEGA CARD night at Remington bolstered enthusiasm because the racetrack was bustling – if not busting – with racing fans; aka, fans of racing.  It was so gratifying to see the facility filled from top to bottom with guests who came to see our product – World Class Quarter Horse Racing!
So thank you to the fans of racing who came out to see our showcase of the best collection of Quarter Horses they might ever see in one day or night.  Thank you for the owners and breeders of these horses.  Thank you to the horsemen, because a genuine horsemen is like a master chef or a maestro musician.  Thank you to the RP team members whose goal is to offer a Winning Experience at all times.  And the biggest thank you goes to the stars of the night; the equine athletes who come forth with a gleam in their eye, a sheen in their hair, and something hidden in their heart that bursts brightest at the finish line.

Chris Kotulak

Monday, February 23, 2015

Training Races at Remington Park!


Early February is always the start of a surreal time in Oklahoma City. The American Quarter Horse (and Paint & Appaloosa) racing season at Remington Park does not begin until March but they are already off to the races over the RP racing surface. While the “training races”that are conducted here  they are not unique to RP, the manner in which they are conducted is, without a doubt, decidedly distinctive. There’s nothing covert or undersold in the purpose, production or promotion of the training races at RP. Why?

There are only a few states in the United States that conduct training races and those that do should be commended. The purpose is to provide an opportunity for the horse to gain valuable seasoning (schooling) before it competes in a pari-mutuel horse race. When a horse benefits from a training race it can be ready to provide a 100% effort when it reaches its actual racing debut. That’s when the horses are running for real purse money and when your real money has been wagered.

First of all, it feels like an actual race card of horse races. The lower grandstand level is buzzing with horsemen. Tables are secured for seating and the Henry Hudsons restaurant is open and in full swing. Hundreds of folks are seated on benches and tables in both the paddock/walking ring area and on the front plaza. It feels like a day of racing is taking place –because it is. Horses are saddled with standard color-coded saddle cloths, they proceed through a proper post parade and there is a free, printed program which is available to note the action. A program!?!It gets better. The races aren’t just run and done. Each race and post parade is shown on the television monitors and on the 50’Coors Light Superscreen giant infield television monitor. And it is replayed a number of times before the next race.
Perhaps the best part of it is that the training race results are posted with official race times and chart comments. There are genuine remarks regarding if the horse has/has not been approved by the stewards and/or starter; and there even bona fide trip notes that are part of the race chart archives. Remington Park realizes that Knowledge is power! Fortunately, RP and the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Racing Association are in agreement. The cherry on top isthat the training race replays are archived and available, at no charge, at www.oqhra.com and via www.remingtonpark.com (click on: HANDICAPPING or HORSEMEN) At Remington Park, Training Races are treated like a majorleague production –because they are a major league production. What’s good for the horses and horsemen is also good for YOU!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Have you ever dreamed of owning your own sports franchise?

By: Scott Wells
President & General Manager
Remington Park and Lone Star Park

Have you ever dreamed of owning your own sports franchise?  You probably think you’d have to be a billionaire, right?  Or at least a multimillionaire.  Not necessarily.  What about the guys who bought an $8,000 mare and spent $2,000 to breed her to an obscure stallion?  Yep, that colt turned out to be California Chrome, this year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner who, if he never wins another race (and he most assuredly will), is probably worth $10-$20 million dollars—maybe much more.  Because California Chrome is a star in one of the world’s oldest professional sports—Horse racing.  And if you own one racehorse or a hundred, your “franchise” just might be able to win “The Big One,” whether that’s the Kentucky Derby, the Oklahoma Derby or even just a beginner’s race at Remington Park.  Believe me, the first time your horse wins any race and you see him coming down the stretch, the jockey dressed in the silks you designed, you’ll feel that same incredible rush of pride and excitement that the owners of California Chrome felt or that the owner of any other sports franchise feels when his or her team wins a championship.

2013 OKC Summer Sale - Work & Gallop Videos
Click “Playlist” at the top of the video screen for a full menu of options.

After you select a video you can use the Playlist button YouTube Playlist Button  to choose more videos.

            That’s one of the reasons that many team owners of the “Big Four” professional sports (Football, baseball, basketball and hockey) also own racehorses.  The excitement is unsurpassed.  And, you can bet on your own horse and not have to give points!  At one time, the owners of the Buffalo Bills, the Pittsburg Steelers, the San Francisco 49ers, the San Diego Chargers, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Cleveland Browns all owned a stable of racehorses, and many of them still do.  Wayne Gretzky is an experienced racehorse owner.  George Steinbrenner was an avid racehorse owner who once had a favorite for the Kentucky Derby and said he’d rather have that win than another World Series victory.  These days his ex-coach, Joe Torre, is part owner of some world-class runners.  As is basketball coach Rick Pitino.  Legendary golfer Gary Player, a longtime racehorse breeder, said he’d rather win the Kentucky Derby than any golf tournament.  And it’s not just the world’s most famous race that matters.  Oklahoma has its own set of races designed to help people enter the sport at a less-than-expensive level and this Sunday is an excellent opportunity for you to observe (or even participate in) the OKC Summer Sale at the State Fairgrounds.  About a hundred young, unproven thoroughbreds will be on display and for sale.  There’s no admission charge and even if you don’t ever own a racehorse, the sight of these beautiful, sleek animals is something you’ll never forget.

            In all likelihood, there are some future winners of high-stakes races in the group.  And there will unquestionably be some major bargains.  A filly named “Miss Natalie” sold for $10,000 and has earned $280,190 so far.  “Pure Habit” sold for a paltry $1,300 and has earned $61,060 so far.  “Big Sugar High” sold for $5,000 and has earned $89,957 and counting.

            And ladies, don’t think this is only a “Good ol’ Boys” Club.”  Some of the most prominent horse owners in the world are women, starting with Queen Elizabeth and including Penny Chenery, owner of the greatest thoroughbred ever—Secretariat.

            So if you want something to do which is out-of-the-ordinary and FREE this Sunday afternoon, the OKC Summer Sale starts officially at 2 p.m. but the colts and fillies will be on display all day.  So come out and see if you can spot a future winner of the Oklahoma Derby.  It’s like a four-legged NFL draft—and you only need one “player” to start a franchise!

OKC Summer Sale at the State Fairgrounds starts officially at 2 p.m.
Sunday, August 17th, 2014
FREE Admission 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Season End

Since the first training race for the 2014 RP QH racing season was conducted on February 14th, our hearts have been filled with hope, and the heart-stopping action at RP has been non-stop.  On the very first night of racing, PAINT ME PERRY romped to win in his Oklahoma Futurity trial race – and then would go on to do the same in the Grade 2, $370,800 final.  He was fun to watch on his undefeated run for owners J And B Rentals Inc., trainer Francisco Gonzalez, and jockey Paul Nieto.  But after three-straight wins he got into a tangled mess at the start in the million-dollar, Grade 1 Heritage Place Futurity and finished 8th.  He got knotted and knocked with IMA FANCY PYC who had won all four of his previous starts, including the Grade 3, $791,000 Remington Park Oklahoma-Bred Futurity.  His old-school trainer Joe Thomas and the weathered jockey Randy Wilson were steady all season long.  Owner Dustin Cox was ebullient in his winners circle joy after their big win, along with many of the 70 people who joined in the euphoric fray from his hometown of Duncan, Oklahoma.  
On March 22, MAJOR TOM won the Speedhorse Graham Paint & Appaloosa Derby in what appeared to be something slightly faster than a light gallop.  It was something to see – and we got to see his silky stride a total of three times during the season.  Three times was enough because his third start and win came with a track record-setting demolition of his foes in the Grade 1 National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum Stakes.  Jockey Cody Smith picked up the winning mount when Jimmy Brooks was unavailable due to riding obligations at Ruidoso Downs.  But honestly, you or I could have ridden him – and won!  It appears the magic ride for owner Mary Hainline of Noble, Oklahoma, could last as long as she likes.   The brilliant Appaloosa was named 2014 Horse of The Meet, the first time a breed other than a Quarter Horse has won that title during our QH meet.  
Trials for the Ruidoso Futurity always lure the top RP jockeys away for a day or two during our meet.  And that was the case when jockey G.R. Carter Jr. rode his 3,632nd winner, breaking the all time QH wins mark (previously held by Alvin “Bubba” Brossette) but it was back here at Remington Park where he has enjoyed the bulk of his success – and enjoyed the biggest celebration.  It was nice to see G.R.’s parents with him for the celebration in the winners circle; and it was equally nice to see many of his fellow jockeys join him too.  G.R. can be tuff on his colleagues; he plays the game hard and no doubt his cunning ways help him lead the way. 
Btw, G.R. has now won the RP Leading QH Jockey title 17 times.  It’s also worth mentioning that he has ridden over 390 Appaloosa winners, over 330 Paint winners and over 330 Thoroughbred winners.  That means the jockey/cowboy from Pawhuska, Oklahoma has 5,000 overall lifetime wins within his grasp.  
What else?  Well, Eddie Willis did it again with his arsenal of bombshell runners.  He won 51 races and has now won the RP Leading QH Trainer title (named the Jack Brooks Award) for the 9th time.  Eddie has a no frills image and delivery; his horses are the ones who always have the shine.  I’m sure he’s just fine with me saying that – because it’s true.  He’s as pragmatic as they come; he calls all the shots; and he wins a bunch of races.  In fact, on April 6th, he and jockey Jimmy Brooks won five consecutive races; all trials to the Heritage Place Derby.  THIS DUDE CAN FLY won the $257,000 final for Eddie and would go on to be voted Champion Three-Year-Old for the season.  
While PURE D SPIT won zero year-end awards, trainer Rodrigo Covarrubias didn’t end up with zero.  Rodrigo (who looks a bit like “Young Elvis”) won “a suitable award,” a Gist belt buckle for virtually sweeping a series of starter allowance races.  Pure D Spit won five consecutive races at distances of: 250, 300, 330, 400, and 440 yards.  Young Rodrigo won 7 of 14 races this season… Thank you very much!
SLEW OF SUCCESS was also a win machine; he was a four-time starter and a four-time winner.  He won three Oklahoma-bred stakes races: the Mr. Jet Moore, the Sooner State and the Boyd Morris Memorial. Those identifiable lemon-lime colors worn by jockey Ricky Rameriz for owner Mary Kirby of Pryor, Oklahoma, equated to half of the 8 wins recorded by trainer Jackie Kirby.  
After the meet was over we had two big weekends that attracted a lot of spectators and caused a lot of RP Teamwork.  It was worth it.  
California Chrome’s bid to win the elusive Triple Crown came on the same Saturday that The Red Earth Festival concluded a very successful move from Downtown OKC to RP.  Mother Nature did her best to spoil the day – but didn’t!  Tonalist won The Belmont.   We had a large crowd at the track that day and things generally flowed very well, just ASK ME.  
The Sport of Kings Challenge horse show was also hosted at Remington Park.  The cause is to generate awareness of a second career for all breeds of racehorses competing in dressage, barrels or in jumping fences.  There was much build up and much teamwork; it was needed and it was worth it.  “It,” was rewarding to reveal the latent and learned talents of both horse and rider.  I will not soon forget the focus and earnest effort of retired Thoroughbred HERECOMESTHEMANNOW and his rider Chaya Johnstone.  
Success takes a foundation of fundamentals and dedication to execution.  Herecomesthemannow earned his success on the racetrack with a refined: walk, trot, canter and jump.  We humans can achieve personal and team success with similar devotion to the essentials.  May the horse continue to lead us all to our personal and team successes.
Chris Kotulak
Remington Park

Communications & Marketing Assistant