Oklahoma’s millionaire hero of a horse, Welder, tied the all-time mark for most wins at Remington Park on Saturday night, winning for the 15th time in his career here.
Welder equaled the all-time mark in winning the $38,675 open-company allowance feature, titled the Guthrie Sprint. The race came up strong for open stakes-caliber horses as the 7-year-old gelding tied Highland Ice and Elegant Exxactsy for the most Remington Park wins in history. He gained a little revenge in the historic victory, beating Share the Upside in the process.
Trained by Steve Asmussen, Share the Upside had beaten this year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Whitmore in the $125,000 King Cotton Stakes at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., on Feb. 8. The previous year, Share the Upside had finished a half-length ahead of Welder in the Hot Springs Stakes at Oaklawn when Whitmore won that race by two lengths. Share the Upside was second and Welder third.
Trainer Teri Luneack, jockey David Cabrera and owner Ra-Max Farms (Clayton Rash of Claremore, Okla.) were excited and looking forward to facing Share the Upside again.
“We really thought we had to redeem ourselves,” Luneack said. “We knew we could beat that horse. Welder got caught down on the inside against him at Oaklawn and didn’t run his race.”
They say revenge is sweetest served cold and the temperatures were in the mid-30s when Welder and Share the Upside broke from the gate, going six furlongs. They were heads apart for the first half mile as it turned into the match-race most expected. It was only at the top of the stretch when Welder pushed his head in front and started to edge ahead of his rival. At the wire, the two-time Oklahoma Horse of the Year, had gained his vengeance, winning by three-quarters of a length.
“This horse,” said Cabrera of Welder, “you have to let him do what he wants to do. If you try to do something different, he doesn’t like it. We knew that other horse was going to go and Welder wanted to go, so we went. I felt Welder was running comfortably. The only worry I had was the saddle didn’t feel right before we went into the gate. So we were trying to fix it because he doesn’t like the gate anyway. Thank goodness we got it fixed and it felt great during the race.”
Luneack was on pins and needles watching the race. When did she feel comfortable?
“When he crossed the finish line,” she said with a sigh. “What an amazing horse.”
Welder, a gelded son of The Visualiser, out of the Tiznow mare Dance Softly, set fractions of :22.35 for the first quarter-mile, :45.01 for the half-mile and :56.97 for five furlongs. He stopped the timer in 1:09.79 seconds over the fast track, well off his own track record of 1:08.13 he set in the David Vance Stakes on Sept. 29, 2019.
Welder was sent off as the 3-5 wagering favorite and Share the Upside took his share of the money at 5-2 odds. Welder paid $3.40 to win, $2.20 to place and $2.10 to show. Share the Upside was another 3-3/4 lengths ahead of third-place finisher Direct Dial (4-1), who had a three-race win streak ended, that included a pair of stakes wins this summer at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas. D’ Rapper, who has beaten Welder multiple times in stakes races at Prairie Meadows in Iowa, came up fourth, three-quarters of a length behind Direct Dial. Tiz Alluptome Now, second to Welder in the 2019 Vance Stakes, was fifth, while American Dubai finished last.
Luneack said she is honored to train Welder and is so humbled by being tied with Highland Ice and Elegant Exxactsy. “That’s crazy to have won 15 here,” Luneack said. “And to win 26 races in a lifetime; how many horses do you think have ever done that? This is a great way to end the meet, a great way to end the year and a greatest Christmas present ever.”
Highland Ice’s record at Remington Park was 24 starts, 15 wins, five seconds and two thirds for $390,810 at this track. Elegant Exxactsy’s record at Remington Park was 59 starts, 15 wins and earned $95,809.
Welder earned $25,024 in winning Saturday night and now has a record at Remington Park of 20 starts, 15 wins, three seconds and one third for $844,883 in Oklahoma City.
Bred in Oklahoma at Center Hills Farm, Welder has now won 26 of 38 career starts with five seconds and four third, for total earnings of $1,204,042.
According to Equibase statistics, Welder would need seven more wins to move into the top 100 all-time North American winners.
Welder now gets a bit of a respite at his home stall in Claremore before Luneack maps out a possible rematch with Whitmore at Oaklawn.
“We would really like to take him there again,” she said. “Our problem is there is no place in Oklahoma to train him that’s open in the down-time where we don’t have to van him. If the weather gets bad, it’s a tough haul to Oaklawn. We took him over the day of the race in 2019, but you can’t do that anymore. With the Covid rules, you have to be there three days in advance. We’ll just have to see.”
For now, she said Team Welder can bask in his latest glory. They will just have to hope that four wins again at Remington Park in one meet, three stakes victories and an allowance race that was his toughest spot of the year, will be enough for him to win an unprecedented third Horse of the Meeting honor.
(from Remington Park news release)