Oklahoma-breds had their first stakes attempt of the 2015 Remington Park Thoroughbred Season in the $50,000 Red Earth Stakes over the turf on Friday. As the field turned for home, half of the 10 had a legitimate shot at victory. Perfect to Please grabbed the triumph but only after finding a way through a traffic jam in the final 100 yards.
Owned by Elada Kirk of Muskogee, Okla. and trained by Veronica Griggs, Perfect to Please was ridden by Bryan McNeil, who showed patience in finally getting his mount a place to run.
“It got pretty tight and the horse in front of me (Tenspeed) was stopping and I had no room to go anywhere,” McNeil said from the winner’s circle. “Everything I tried, I was just tucked down in there. Then all of a sudden at the last minute, it opened up and he kicked on.”
Shellac set the pace handling a quarter-mile in :23.60 seconds and a half-mile in :47.52 seconds. In the stretch, Shellac began to fade and Tenspeed took over the front after tracking the early leader for over a half-mile. However, Tenspeed could not maintain the advantage. Once Perfect to Please was able to shoot through an opening between Shellac and Tenspeed, he was able to barge home a winner by neck while crossing the finish 1:30.13 over the course labeled good.
The wagering favorite at 3-5 odds, Perfect to Please paid $3.40 to win, $3 to place and $2.40 to show. Tenspeed returned $13.20 to place and $7.20 to show. Shellac held third and paid $4.80 to show.
Sooner Superstar ran fourth in the Red Earth Stakes. The 6-year-old mare, who defeated male rivals to win the Red Earth Stakes the past two years, made a bid in the stretch but came up empty in her attempt for three straight in the race.
The Red Earth Stakes win is the ninth from 36 career starts for Perfect to Please, an Oklahoma-bred 5-year-old gelding by Pleasantly Perfect from the Forest Wildcat mare Your Pleasure. The $30,000 winner’s check increases the overall bankroll for Perfect To Please to $228,159. He was bred by the John E. & Barbara R. Smicklas Living Trusts.
The trainer standings continue to change nearly every night of the Remington Park season. J.R. Caldwell saddled two winners to bookend the program in winning the first race with Bling It On Baby ($2.80 to win) and Truly Truly Truly ($26.80) in the ninth race. He now has four wins on the season and moved into a three-way tie atop the trainer standings.
Trainer Karl Broberg had one winner Friday with Tight Britches ($5.80) in the fifth race. He also has four wins for the season. Both Caldwell and Broberg join Bret Calhoun at the top of the standings, heading into the sixth race night of the season on Saturday.