Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Q & A with Racing Fanatic James McCool

We have some incredible fans and industry experts around the nation that we had to hunt down for some personal insights. Check out the inside thoughts of fellow Oklahoman, James McCool!

How did you fall in love with horse racing?  

I grew up an Oklahoma farm ranch, so I was always around horses, but it was my friend from school who took me to Fair Meadows when I was 18 years old that sparked my love for racing. He and his dad were a regular, so he was a great source of knowledge. Campus was a mile from the track, so we would always go between classes and pick up the program for the night. 

What is your favorite racetrack?

Remington is home and it’s just so modern and nice. The facilities and upgrades are amazing. Oaklawn is right there for me as well… It always takes me on a trip to memory lane.

How many races do you go to in a typical year? 

Wow… too many to count! I can count 9 different tracks over the year that I’ve been to in a single year, maybe more.

What’s your most memorable racing memory?

For me it’s that run Smarty Jones made at Oaklawn. Sweeping all the 3 year old preps there  and the buzz at the track.

Thoroughbred or Quarter Horse season, if you had to choose?

Thoroughbred. It takes longer to lose your money!

Have you ever owned or trained a race horse? 

Yep! None currently that are at the track. I have 2 retired that are at my farm, Bully and Red.

Favorite race day munchies….and GO

The gigantic nachos from Bricktown Brewery!!! 

What is the most you have won when betting? $20,214.00 would be the biggest hit to date on a multi race wager at Del Mar a couple summers ago.

What is your favorite aspect of the horse racing industry?

Horse racing has always been my way to get away from it all, and it’s allowed me to make invaluable friendships over the years at multiple tracks.

How have you seen the industry change over the years? 

Accessibility for one. There are SO many more ways now for fans to get involved now than ever before!

Below you will see James on one of his many adventures with one of our very own, Blaze! They have been known to chase rainbows as they road trip from track to track.

Stay tuned for next week's Q & A segment featuring the next mystery racing guest!

Written by:
Krystal Nelson

Facebook: Remington Park 
Twitter: @remingtonpark // @therpblaze
Instagram: @remingtonpark //@therpblaze
Snapchat: RemingtonParkOK

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

             Erik McNeil:


The joys of winning are always appealing, but the rigors of achieving the win are equally compelling.      

The video portrayal of a day in the life of a jockey is interesting; however, that specific video story is not unique, plus it has a short shelf life.  But!  The depiction of an entire racing season in the life of a jockey from the start of the meet to the conclusion (as the season evolves), is something that is bright and new.  Using a series of short :60 to :90 second weekly video pieces, the ups and downs and drama of being a jockey will be revealed on the Remington Park Coors & Coors Light Superscreen and via RP social media sources. 

So why Erik McNeil?  I thought it would be interesting for viewers to see a rider who does not typically win a race every day at Remington Park.  A rider who is still eager to win (and is trying) can be a natural underdog. 

And when you factor in Erik’s personality of being: outspoken, clever, sometimes dopey, funny and occasionally oblivious to his surroundings – and standings, you’ve got an elixir for some good television.         At least that’s the plan.  Who knows, maybe Erik will even tell us about a horse he thinks can win its next race?

The intent of RP SEASON QUEST – TB 2016 is to enlighten and entertain the horse racing fan, or potential horse racing fan.  We want you to watch an episode – and then be eager for the next episode. 

In the future, this video series will ideally feature other jockeys, as well as, trainers, owners and possibly even racing fans.  For now, we want to walk, trot and hopefully canter with a member of our jockey colony who is effervescent and unpredictable; and that person, this season, is jockey Erik McNeil.

We hope you enjoy and anticipate this video series.  If you do, please talk and tweet about it. 

Facebook: Remington Park   
Twitter: @remingtonpark   

Written by:
Chris Kotulak
Writer & Producer

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!