Okie Ride Makes History in a Stellar Renewal of the Oklahoma Classics at Remington Park

Remington Park on Friday night showcased the best Oklahoma-breds in training with more than $1 million on the line on Oklahoma Classics Night. Phantom Trip won the richest race of the night with a thrilling victory in the $169,250 Oklahoma Classics Cup. Following is a recap of the seven other stakes events on the card.

Okie Ride (Photo by Dustin Orona Photography)
Okie Ride (Photo by Dustin Orona Photography)

A change back to regular equipment and trust in the talent of a veteran horse, is all Okie Ride needed in winning the $122,800 Oklahoma Classics Sprint on Friday at Remington Park for a record-tying fourth time.

Okie Ride joins Oklahoma Horse Racing Hall of Famer Highland Ice as the only other horse to win the Classics Sprint four times. In gaining his fourth victory in the Classics series, Okie Ride now moves into a tie for second in all-time wins, joining She’s All In and Notable Okie. Only Highland Ice has won more in the Oklahoma Classics as the gray speedster racked up five triumphs before retiring.

Owned and bred by the Richter Family Trust of Perkins, Okla. and trained by Kenny Nolen, jockey Luis Quinonez let the 9-year-old Okie Ride dictate his own race. He made that decision after the pair finished a poor fifth in the David M. Vance Sprint on the Oklahoma Derby undercard in September.

“He showed up today. The last time, I think I started to reach too much. I told Kenny today that I was just going to let him run his race and I would adjust to him. He knows how to win.”

Okie Ride also received a switch-back to blinkers, after Nolen had removed the equipment prior to the Vance Sprint, to try and alter the way Okie Ride was starting his races. “He had been getting himself left at the gates and we thought we’d try something different (taking blinkers off). That didn’t work very well, so we went back to what had been working (using blinkers).”

Okie Ride was a relaxed fourth after a quick start in the six-furlong Sprint. Quinonez let him sit back behind runners going into the turn. Then, just before a quarter-mile left to run, Quinonez let Okie Ride begin to roll into the stretch. Welder set the pace with a quarter-mile fraction of :21.88 and a half-mile split of :44.60. The quick pace set up the rally by Okie Ride as he caught Welder at the 70-yard pole and went on to win by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:09.83 over the fast track. Perfect To Please was a closing third, 5-3/4 lengths behind Okie Ride.

The remaining order in the Sprint was: Johnny Whip (4th), Pure Chrome (5th), Yonaguska (6th), Golden York (7th), Agent (8th), Eurobond (9th) and My Validation (10th).

Away at 2-1 odds, Okie Ride paid $6.40 to win, $3.40 to place and $2.60 to show. Welder, the 8-5 betting favorite, paid $2.80 to place and $2.60 to show. Perfect To Please paid $4.60 to show.

The Classics Sprint is the 15th career win for Okie Ride from 40 starts. A gelded son of Candy Ride (Arg) from the Geiger Geiger mare Tic Tic, Okie Ride picked up $73,680 in his fourth Classics Sprint. He has now earned $759,714.

Okie Ride’s latest Sprint gave Nolen his fifth career Oklahoma Classics win.

Gianna's Dream (Photo by Dustin Orona Photography)
Gianna’s Dream (Photo by Dustin Orona Photography)

Gianna’s Dream continues to prove to be too tough when left alone on the lead as she glided to an easy 2-1/4 length win in the $118,900 Oklahoma Classics Distaff Turf at Remington Park.

The speedy 3-year-old filly won the Bob Barry Memorial on the undercard of the Oklahoma Derby in September in similar fashion for owner Jordan Wycoff of Fort Washington, Penn. Trained by Michael Maker and ridden by C.J. McMahon, Gianna’s Dream was never challenged over the 1-1/16 miles that she handled in 1:42.68 over the firm course. Zeta Zody, winner of the Classics Distaff Turf a year ago, rallied for second while Penguini was another length behind in third.

“She left there good. Looking in the form, I saw the 8-horse (Freda Zamba) would be the lone speed and I thought if anybody went out there, crazy, wanting the lead that I was going to sit off of them,” McMahon said in noting his riding strategy. “But she left there running and fell into my hands really well and kicked home awesome. She had those ears up and was just as relaxed as could be.”

Freda Zamba moved in second behind Gianna’s Dream until the middle of the final turn, then gave way. Gianna’s Dream set fractions of :24.18 for the opening quarter-mile; :48.74 for the half-mile; 1:13.40 for three-quarters of a mile and 1:36.68 for one mile.

The remaining order for the Distaff Turf was: Onemorefastdance (4th), Downtowncarolbrown (5th), Katrina Nicole (6th), Lingering Smoke (7th) and Freda Zamba (8th).

The heavy betting favorite at 3-5 odds, Gianna’s Dream paid $3.20 to win, $2.20 to place and $2.10 to show. Zeta Zody paid $3.20 to place and $2.20 to show. Penguini returned $2.40 to show.

The Classics Distaff Turf win is the sixth from 10 career starts for Gianna’s Dream. Bred in Oklahoma by Center Hills Farm & Randy Blair, she is by Twirling Candy from the Rahy mare Untamed Beauty. Gianna’s Dream made $71,340 to run her overall bankroll to $206,498.

Gianna’s Dream provided her owner and trainer with their first Oklahoma Classics win. McMahon won his second career race in the series. He also rode Ibaka to victory in the Turf Classic in 2015.

Okie Diva (Photo by Dustin Orona Photography)
Okie Diva (Photo by Dustin Orona Photography)

Okie Diva circled the field in the $85,500 Oklahoma Classics Lassie on Friday at Remington Park, winning her second consecutive race.

Owned and bred in Oklahoma by the Richter Family Trust of Perkins, Okla., Okie Diva handled the six-furlong event for 2-year-old fillies in 1:11.08 over a fast track. Jockey Luis Quinonez had the assignment for trainer Donnie Von Hemel. Okie Diva looped the field from seventh leaving the backstretch, scoring a driving 2-1/4 length win over a closing Baby K. The third-place finisher was Natalie’s Mischief, six lengths behind the winner.

The remaining order of finish in the Lassie was: Claire’s Music, the heavy favorite at 1-2 odds (4th), Cuando Again (5th), Kowgirl Whiskey (6th), Sparkled (7th), Truly Wild (8th), Js Pearljam (9th) and Marvs Classic Lady (10th).

Away at 5-1 odds, Okie Diva paid $12.60 to win, $6.20 to place and $4 to show. Baby K paid $5 to place and $4.20 to show. Natalie’s Mischief paid $5.20 to show. Claire’s Music did not break sharply and never threatened to finish fourth.

Okie Diva is a daughter of Chitoz from the Prospector’s Music mare Dana Okie. She earned $51,300 for her Lassie triumph to run her earnings through three career attempts to $84,586.

The Lassie victory by Okie Diva gave the Richter Family Trust of Kris and John Richter their third overall win in the race. They also campaigned Okie Smokey (2013) and D Fine Okie (2004). Von Hemel has now won the Lassie twice, adding Okie Diva to his previous score with Peach Brew in 2008. Quinonez won his second Lassie after riding Shotgun Gulch to victory in 2009.

Von Hemel extended his all-time leading mark for training wins in the Oklahoma Classics to 26. Okie Diva gave Quinonez three wins on the night at Remington Park, boosting his career Classics victories to 19 which is third all-time for jockeys.

Steel Cut (Photo by Dustin Orona Photograph)
Steel Cut (Photo by Dustin Orona Photograph)

Steel Cut was a popular winner of the $133,500 Oklahoma Classics Distaff for fillies and mares, three-year-olds and upward. The five-year-old mare by Cactus Ridge was a comfortable winner at 3-5 odds, earning $80,100 for owner and trainer Wesley Hawley of River Ridge, Louisiana.

Steel Cut was claimed by Hawley at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark. for $10,000 in January 2015. She has now earned $346,805 since being claimed. “She’s an unbelievable claim,” said Hawley. “She’s been a dream come true.”

Jockey Chris Landeros arrived from Kentucky to ride the mare and his commitment paid off. “I’m glad she broke running, I thought that was key. She’s just all class and makes my job easy. I felt like when she hits the front, she kind of waits on other horses but when galloping out and they came up to her, I couldn’t pull her up.”

Steel Cut won by 2-lengths and covered the 1 mile-70 yards in 1:41.63 over a fast track. Mimi’s Money was second after moving well from the back of the field early in the race. Chaparella was 3-1/2 lengths behind the winner in third.

The remaining order in the Distaff was: Ribbon Of Darkness (4th), Another Bond Girl (5th), Miss Oreo (6th), Vivid (7th), Plucky (8th) and Slew Hunter who did not finish while eased in the stretch.

Steel Cut paid $3.20 to win, 2.40 to place and $2.10 to show. Mimi’s Money paid $10.40 to place and $7.20 to show. Chaparella made a promising move through the final turn but stalled to finish third to pay $5.60 to show.

Bred in Oklahoma by Dream Walkin Farms of Norman, Okla., Steel Cut is from the Carson City mare Oklawaha. The Distaff is her 12th win from 28 career attempts and her fourth over the Remington Park main track. The Distaff triumph moved her overall bankroll to $392,433.

The score in the Distaff is the first-ever for Hawley or Landeros.

Euro K Shotgun (Photo by Dustin Orona Photography)
Euro K Shotgun (Photo by Dustin Orona Photography)

Euro K Shotgun has now run her lifetime race record to three wins in as many starts after winning the $118,900 Oklahoma Classics Distaff for fillies and mares, three-year-olds and upward.

Bred, owned and trained by C.R. Trout of Edmond, Okla., Euro K Shotgun was sent off as the betting favorite at 7-5 odds. Winning jockey Luis Quinonez did an outstanding job of rating her speed from just off the lead. “I was really just trying to get away in good order and try to have a good position in the turn and give her a chance to win. She was there when I asked her to run and she responded well and went by them to win the race.”

The filly is a half-sister to 2015 Oklahoma Derby winner Shotgun Kowboy, who is also a homebred of Trout. “I’d like to thank all of the fans who came out tonight to watch these horses run,” said Trout. Without you and this Oklahoma-bred program, there wouldn’t be anything for us to do. Our hats are off to you and to Remington Park for the good show that they put on.”

Euro K Shotgun waited until the top of the stretch to make her move on the speedy Devious Rumor who was quick in going a quarter-mile in :21.92 seconds and then a half-mile in :44.46 seconds. She tired coming off the turn, setting up the score for the winner who crossed the finish line in 1:10.08 over a fast track. Devious Rumor held second, 1-3/4 lengths behind the winner with Goodheartedgirl gaining third, another three-quarters of a length back.

The remaining order of finish was Go No Go (4th), Liquor Account (5th), Euro Step (6th), Diva’s Rule (7th) and Alpha Nine (8th).

Euro K Shotgun paid $4.80 to win, $2.80 to place, and $2.20 to show. Devious Rumor paid $3 to place and $2.60 to show. Goodheartedgirl paid $5.20 to show.

Euro K Shotgun earned $71,340 in winning her third straight race this season. She was one of two stakes winners on Oklahoma Classics Night sired by Oklahoma-based stallion Euroears. From the Siphon (Brz) mare Shotgun Jane, Euro K Shotgun has now made $125,474.

The Classics Distaff Sprint win in the second in the race for Trout who also trained Shotgun Gulch for the win in 2010. Quinonez rode Shotgun Gulch as well as Eye Love Jeanie in the 2013 Distaff Sprint. Euro K Shotgun is his third triumph in the race.

Overall, Trout has now won nine Oklahoma Classics races in his career, the fourth most by any trainer.

Runandyrun (Photo by Dustin Orona Photography)
Runandyrun (Photo by Dustin Orona Photography)

The $120,850 OKC Turf Classic was the final stakes race on the million-dollar evening on Friday that is the Oklahoma Classics at Remington Park. Runandyrun pulled the upset, running from last after a half-mile to win, defeating Ibaka who was previously unbeaten over the lawn.

Owned and bred by Mike Jones of Bristow, Okla., Runandyrun is trained by Tyrone Shaw. Jockey Belen Quinonez was aboard for the rousing run as Runandyrun trailed by nine lengths along the backstretch of the 1-1/16 miles event. The 7-year-old gelding was so full of run before the final turn that Quinonez had to work to get him to wait for the proper time to release his best effort while letting others try to soften up the 2-5 betting favorite, Ibaka, near the front of the field of nine.

“I just tried to get him to relax and get him in position. It’s 1-1/16 miles and there might be someone to go with Ibaka, so we had to just be patient and punch him late for home and have some horse. We had to work for it.”

Finding a seam through traffic at the top of the stretch, Quinonez guided Runandyrun into a clear path and let him go. He made the lead in the final sixteenth of a mile and then held sway over a wide rally from Charlie Webb, winning by a neck in 1:41.59 over the firm course. Ibaka held on for third, 1-3/4 lengths behind the winner.

At 13-1 odds, Runandyrun paid $28.20 to win, $7.40 to place and $3.40 to show. Charlie Webb paid $5.80 to place and $3.20 to show. Ibaka returned $2.10 to show.
The remaining order in the OKC Turf Classic was Hot Hand (4th), Pacific Typhoon (5th), Tenspeed (6th), Sitbackrelaxenjoy (7th), Quick Sand (8th) and Just Fred (9th).

The victory was a new crowning moment in the sport for Jones. “This is the most ecstatic I’ve ever been in horse racing. This is the biggest race that we’ve ever won.”

A son of Wilko from the Skip Away mare Stonerun, Runandyrun won his sixth race from 29 lifetime attempts. The fourth career win over the Remington Park turf course was worth $72,510 for Runandyrun who has now made $250,123.

The win was the first for all of the connections in the OKC Turf Classic. Runandyrun gave Belen Quinonez his third career win in the Oklahoma Classics series and his first since winning the Sprint in 2013.

Taxman's Quest (Photo by Dustin Orona Photography)
Taxman’s Quest (Photo by Dustin Orona Photography)

Taxman’s Quest recovered after a tardy break to win the $85,500 Oklahoma Classics Juvenile on Friday night at Remington Park by an expanding 5-3/4 lengths as the 4-5 odds wagering favorite.

Bred and owned by the Litsch Family of Edmond, Okla, the two-year-old gelded son of Euroears from the Dehere mare Radiant Rose, won his career debut in his only previous start, an Oklahoma-bred maiden special weight race at Remington Park on August 12. Winning trainer Roger Engel knew he needed to be patient with his young horse, “He started to get some sore shins after his first start so I wanted to back off and give him some time.”

Ridden by Bryan McNeil, the gelding was unfortunate at the start, “He stepped back when the gates opened and got mad when he got behind horses. I saw a lane open and knew I needed to push then to get to the lead,” said McNeil.

Taxman’s Quest quickly rolled through traffic as the field entered the lone turn in the six-furlong event. In a matter of a few seconds, Taxman’s Quest was at the lead of the 10-horse field and would never be threatened. He covered the six furlongs in 1:10.98. Euroncall was second with Bluecollarman another three-quarters of a length back in third.

The remainder of the field was: Top Player (4th), The Swinging Bear (5th), Uncle Pup (6th), Sultanofswing (7th), Heartland Hit (8th), Irish Capital (9th) and Seeking Him (10th).

Taxman’s Quest paid $3.40 to win, $2.80 to place and $2.20 to show. Euroncall paid $13.60 to place and $8.60 to show. Bluecollarman advanced from 8th-place early to finish third and pay $8.80 to show.

The Juvenile check of $51,300 moves the two-race career earnings for Taxman’s Quest to $72,434.

The win in the Juvenile is the first for the owners while being the second for both Engel and McNeil. Engel trained Champagne Holiday to the Juvenile win in 2000 while McNeil rode Pleasant Storm to victory in the 2009 edition of the race. Overall, Engel has now trained the winners of 10 Classics races with McNeil riding his third career winner.