The 2015 Remington Park stakes schedule of racing begins this Saturday, Aug. 15, as the fields for $175,000 Governor’s Cup and the $75,000 David M. Vance Stakes were set this morning. The first race Saturday is at 7pm.
The Governor’s Cup, the season’s first offering of more than $100,000, heads a program of nine races worth total purse money of $417,777. The average field size for the Saturday program, upon entry, is 10.8 per race. A field of 11 will navigate the 1-1/8 miles of the Governor’s Cup.
Among the notables in the group of 3-year-olds and older is the defending champ in the race, Code West. Owned by Bryan, Tim and Leo Hawk of Shawnee, Okla. and trained by Boyd Caster, Code West will attempt to be the first repeat winner of the race since millionaire Oklahoma-bred Mr Ross turned the trick in successive years in 1999 and 2000. Code West has been tabbed as the 3-1 morning-line favorite by odds-maker Rick Lee.
The 6-year-old Code West has put in plenty of official workouts at Remington Park to prep for his first start since a sixth-place effort in the $100,000 Essex Handicap at Oaklawn Park in February. Trained by Boyd Caster, Code West breezed a half-mile in :49.33 seconds on Saturday, Aug. 8 here. Jockey Cliff Berry will have the call. He rode Code West to victory in the Governor’s Cup last year.
Texas Air, winner of the Grade 3, $200,000 Texas Mile at Lone Star Park in May, returns to Remington Park for his first start since last year’s Governor’s Cup when he was eighth behind Code West. Owned by Paul Rigali, Jr. of Dallas and trained by Allen Milligan, Texas Air will be ridden by Quincy Hamilton. The 7-year-old was second in his final Lone Star Park attempt of the season on July 11, the $50,000 Assault Stakes for Texas-breds.
Recent stakes winner Ecleto Red, will try to continue his consistently successful summer. Owned by the Dumas, Ark. partnership of Glynn Puryear and Jack Crews, Ecleto Red won the $50,000 Prairie Meadows Handicap on July 25. Trained by Lynn Chleborad, Ecleto Red won the Grade 3, $300,000 Cornhusker Handicap at Prairie Meadows on June 27. The 5-year-old has elevated his game from the claiming ranks earlier this year and has won three of his last four starts. Jockey Alex Birzer is the regular jockey for Ecleto Red.
2012 Oklahoma Derby winner Politicallycorrect has found his way back to Remington Park for the Governor’s Cup. Claimed for a $35,000 price at Lone Star Park on June 27, the 6-year-old will start for owner Danny Keene of Greenville, Texas. He is now trained by Shea Stuart who is in his first full season of competition at Remington Park. Stuart is the son of long-time Remington Park trainer Clinton Stuart. Remington Park newcomer Deshawn Parker will ride.
Even Echo will be represented in the Governor’s Cup with dual National Racing Hall of Fame connections. Trainer Jack Van Berg has the 4-year-old on a two-race winning streak and has named jockey Calvin Borel to ride.
The Governor’s Cup is the eighth race Saturday with an approximate post time of 10:16pm Central. Here is the field by post position and program order with trainer, jockey and morning-line odds:
1. Alamo Heights – Danny Pish, Lindey Wade, 15-1
2. Even Echo – Jack Van Berg, Calvin Borel, 20-1
3. Politicallycorrect – Shea Stuart, Deshawn Parker, 20-1
4. Code West – Boyd Caster, Cliff Berry, 3-1
5. Stormdriver – Patrick Devereux, Jr., Luis Quinonez, 7-2
6. Holiday Mischief – Joe Offolter, C.J. McMahon, 12-1
7. Russellin – Chris Hartman, Ramon Vazquez, 8-1
8. Texas Air – Allen Milligan, Quincy Hamilton, 8-1
9. Real Appeal Deal – Steve Asmussen, Jareth Loveberry, 9-1
10. Ecleto Red – Lynn Chleborad, Alex Birzer, 4-1
11. Smack – Don Von Hemel, Shane Laviolette, 15-1
Ivan Fallunovalot, the 8-5 odds morning-line favorite, will attempt to repeat in the David M. Vance Sprint, at six furlongs for 3-year-olds and older. The 5-year-old gelding won the race a year ago by three-quarters of a length. In 2015, he won his first two starts at Oaklawn Park, including the $100,000 King Cotton Stakes. Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel was aboard for the wins and two more races where Ivan Fallunovalot finished second at Oaklawn before getting a rest. Trainer Tom Howard has named Borel to ride again as his speedy veteran seeks his 10th career win and his seventh from his last 10 races.
Trying to wrest the Vance Sprint trophy from Ivan Fallunovalot, among others, will be Delaunay. Owned Maggi Moss of Des Moines, Iowa and trained by Tom Amoss, Delaunay won the $125,000 Iowa Sprint Handicap at Prairie Meadows on June 26. Jockey Ramon Vazquez had the winning ride then and will be up again on Saturday.
Pricelesscommodity pulled clear to win the $75,000 Dark Star Stakes at 6-1/2 furlongs in his last out on June 21 at Canterbury Park in Minnesota. Owned by Alan Booge Racing of South Sioux City, Neb. and trained by Tim Padilla, the 5-year-old horse will be ridden by Hugo Sanchez who has booted him home to two consecutive triumphs.
Imahit, the two-time defending Oklahoma Classics Cup winner, will make his first start at a sprint distance in more than two years. Owned, trained and bred in Oklahoma by C.R. Trout, Imahit will be ridden by Jareth Loveberry.
Forin Sea, a winner of six consecutive races on the New Mexico circuit and undefeated this year, will make his first Remington Park start for trainer Carlos Alvidrez. Jockey Ricardo Jaime has the mount.
The Vance will go as the sixth race on the program at 9:20pm Central. Here is the field of seven by post position and program order with trainer, jockey and morning-line odds:
1. Pricelesscommodity – Tim Padilla, Hugo Sanchez, 9-2
2. Flat Black – Tim G. Williams, Floyd Wethey, 15-1
3. Ivan Fallunovalot – Tom Howard, Calvin Borel, 8-5
4. Bruvver Max – Tim Martin, Terry Thompson, 12-1
5. Imahit – C.R. Trout, Jareth Loveberry, 12-1
6. Forin Sea – Carlos Alvidrez, Ricardo Jaime, 8-1
7. Delaunay – Tom Amoss, Ramon Vazquez, 9-5
Title Trainers Abound at Remington Park
A large group of trainers coming off seasonal championships have set up residence for the Remington Park season. Their titles came at previous stops this year before moving horses to Oklahoma City.
Federico Villafranco, who trains the vast stable for six-time leading Remington Park owner Danny Caldwell, won the title at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa. Villafranco posted 51 wins to win the trophy as that season ended Aug. 8.
Karl Broberg has one title under his belt with the possibility of gaining two more in the coming weeks. Broberg was leading trainer at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas with 66 victories. He currently leads the trainer standings at both Evangeline and Louisiana Downs. At Evangeline, Broberg has 94 wins and is 53 ahead of his nearest rival in Opelousas, La., where the season will close on Aug. 29. A total of 35 wins shows the way for Broberg at Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, where the season continues into mid-September.
Steve Asmussen, a winner of 11 Remington Park training titles with the last eight consecutive (2007-2014), was the leading trainer at Sam Houston Race Park earlier this year with 28 wins.
Roger Engel won the training title at Will Rogers Downs in Claremore, Okla. this spring, saddling 39 winners. When the Oklahoma racing circuit moved to Fair Meadows in Tulsa, Jody Pruitt came away with the summer championship while posting 11 wins.
Chris Hartman, a regular at Remington Park for many years, has not committed a regular string of horses to Oklahoma City at this time. However, he has horses involved Saturday, namely Russellin in the Governor’s Cup. Hartman was the leading trainer at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark. this spring with 34 wins.
Elevated Purse Structure Debuts Opening Night
The first racing program of the 2015 Remington Park Thoroughbred Season, Opening Night on Friday, Aug. 14, features nine races with large fields competing for a lofty purse structure.
A total of 97 horses entered the nine races, an average field size of 10.8 for the first night of the season. The total purses for Opening Night stand at $255,475, an example of the recent 10% increase, in effect immediately, to begin the season. Estimated daily purse averages for the 67-dates are expected to be $230,000, which would be a record for the Remington Park Thoroughbred Season.
Remington Park’s average daily purse distribution record for the Thoroughbred Season is $228,524, set in the 2012.
Leading Jockeys Fill Remington Park Colony
As the season opens, a crowded jockey colony at Remington Park will begin their competition. Many of the riders have enjoyed a season title this year at various venues around the country before making their move to Oklahoma City. Among those track champs is C.J. McMahon, winner of the Lone Star Park season in Grand Prairie, Texas with 95 wins. McMahon will ride for the first time this season at Remington Park and has four mounts on Opening Night.
Also in Oklahoma City for the first time is Deshawn Parker, winner of the Sam Houston Race Park title earlier this year with 55 wins. He has been named on four horses on Opening Night.
Other jockey title winners this year competing at Remington Park include two-time defending local champ Ramon Vazquez, coming off a title at Prairie Meadows in Iowa where he had 94 wins; Bryan McNeil, winner of the Will Rogers Downs title in Claremore, Okla. this spring with 56 wins; and Curtis Kimes, riding leader at Fair Meadows in Tulsa this summer with 37 wins.
Friday Night Live Begins
The Opening Night of the 2015 Remington Park Thoroughbred Season will coincide with the beginning of the Friday Night Live online discussions with Horse Player NOW.
Hosted by noted racing experts Jeremy Plonk and Jerry Shottenkirk, Friday Night Live engages horse racing fans from the novice to the professional. The interaction takes place via computer, smart phones and tablet devices from coast-to-coast. Friday Night Live begins at 6:30pm, 30-minutes before the first race of the evening at 7pm. All times are Central.
To take part in Friday Night Live at Remington Park, fans simply go to Horseplayernow.com to join the winning fun. The forum can also be accessed at Remingtonpark.com.
Friday Night Live will be a regular weekly feature throughout the Remington Park Thoroughbred Season, running thru Dec. 13.
50-cent Trifectas, Pick 3s and Primetime Pick 4
Utilized in special circumstances a year ago, Remington Park will feature 50-cent Trifectas, 50-cent rolling Pick 3s and a 50-cent Primetime Pick 4 as a regular part of the Thoroughbred season wagering schedule for the first time. The added-value minimum wagers will be in effect starting Opening Night, Friday, Aug. 14.
Opening Weekend Promotions
Remington Park will offer added-value to racing guest during Opening Weekend “Big Bag of Bets” and “Mystery Mutuel Voucher” promotions.
Guests on Opening Night, Friday, Aug. 14, will enter a drawing and could be selected to draw from the “Big Bag of Bets” where they will receive either a $100 win bet, $100 place bet of $100 show bet. There will be three drawings from “Big Bag of Bets” throughout the night with six guests getting bets in each drawing.
Upon entering the Racing Lobby on Saturday night, Aug. 15, guests will receive a Mystery Mutuel Voucher worth between $2 and $1,000. The vouchers will be distributed, while supplies last, beginning at 5pm.
Berry Special Season Begins
The 2015 Thoroughbred Season will be the final one for all-time leading local jockey Cliff Berry, a winner of 2,078 races at Remington Park and more than 4,400 overall. Berry has announced his retirement once the season closes in December. In honor of his career, Remington Park will reward fans with cash or prizes, for all wins posted by Berry this season.
Remington Park will open the 2015 Thoroughbred Season on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 14 & 15. The regular post time throughout the season is 7pm (central). The normal weekly schedule of racing will take place Wednesday thru Saturday, beginning on Aug. 19.