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.
Communications & Marketing Assistant