Typical February issues surrounding winter weather—the type that is more nuisance than severe—brought its normal frustrations to Remington Park as training began for the 2015 season. As March arrived, aspirations for spring and racing riches have returned.
Remington Park once again features a series of Grade 1 futurity and derby events for Paints, offering more opportunities to excel than any other major track in North America. The top-flight action begins immediately. Opening Night on March 6 will feature seven trials for the $140,000 Oklahoma Paint & Appaloosa Futurity followed by two more trials for the $47,000 Speedhorse Graham Derby.
The futurity trials boast 61 2-year-olds entered in the 300-yard heats, attempting to make the final on March 21. All of them will make their pari-mutuel racing debut, putting huge emphasis on how they have been working in the mornings and how they performed in their Remington Park training races, if they competed there.
There is a little more to work with in the two derby trials as a group of 14 3-year-olds compete in over 350 yards. The fastest 10 will advance to the March 21 final. Among the participants is Texas Silk in trial No. 2 (race 10 on the program). The winner of both the Grade 1 American Paint Classic Futurity and Speedhorse Graham Futurity last year at Remington Park, Texas Silk was easily voted the Champion Paint for the Remington Park season. The 2012 sorrel solid gelding by Texas Six and out of Judys Silk was APHA’s No. 1 racing money-earner in 2014 and was named 2014 World Champion Solid Paint-Bred Running Horse.
Owned by Charles Leggett of Muskogee, Oklahoma, and trained by top Paint conditioner Dee Keener, Texas Silk pulled in more than $210,000 in his initial year of competition. Jockey Berkley Packer—up for all six of Texas Silk’s wins last year, including a score in the Speedhorse Fair Meadows Futurity—has the return engagement Friday evening.
In the same trial with Texas Silk is the only horse to defeat him in a stakes final a year ago, Cant Be Caught (ApHC). Also trained by Dee, Cant Be Caught knocked off Texas Silk in the Lone Star Park Paint & Appaloosa Futurity in November, finding more over 400 yards than the Paint gelding.
Placed evenly with a major futurity final each month of the Remington Park season, April brings the estimated $100,000 American Paint Classic Futurity and the American Paint Classic Derby, both on April 25. In May, the rich estimated $250,000 Speedhorse Graham Paint & Appaloosa Futurity falls on the final night of the season, May 30.
In addition to the top futurity and derby offerings, what secures the title for Remington Park as the great Paint venue, is the offering of other stakes races for older horses and 2-year-olds. They include the Paul Harber Memorial on March 28 for Oklahoma-breds; the Victoria Ennis on April 17 for 2-year-old Oklahoma-breds; the Grade 1 Mister Lewie Memorial on April 18, named for the late “King of Paints” trainer Lewis Wartchow and the Grade 1 National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum Stakes on May 23. Those races help keep the Paints in major competition throughout Remington’s 50-date season.
New in 2015, Remington Park will feature 50-cent minimum wagers on three offerings. Offered on a regular basis for the first time in Remington Park history, the Trifecta, Pick 3 and Primetime Pick 4 will all carry a 50-cent minimum. The 50-cent trifecta will be available for every Remington Park race. The 50-cent Pick 3s will be offered starting with the third race on each program. The 50-cent Primetime Pick 4 takes place over the final four races at the end of the program.
Post times for Remington Park’s Opening Weekend are 6 p.m. on Friday, March 6; 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 7; and 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 8. The regular weekly schedule begins after the opening weekend with racing at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, then Sunday afternoon racing at 1:30 p.m. March 6 also features the 2014 APHA Racing Championship Banquet—for more information, contact APHA Director of Racing Karen Utecht at email@example.com or (817) 222-6444.
Special Remington Park post times will be in place for Kentucky Derby Day on May 2 and Preakness Stakes Day on May 16 with local action underway at 3:45 p.m.
Racing on Memorial Day Monday, May 25, starts at 1:30 p.m. On the final night of the season, May 30, racing begins at 5 p.m. on what is expected to be the richest racing program ever offered at Remington Park with eight stakes races already on the schedule.
Expect the best of Paint racing in 2015 at Remington Park and enjoy the competition as it heats up over the course of the season.
Dale Day is the track handicapper at Remington Park in Oklahoma City; follow him on Twitter @thedaleday. His “Pick a Winner” column is regularly featured during the Remington Park meet season at myflashyride.com.
[Reprinting this article is permitted, so long as credit is given to Flash/APHA and a link provided to myflashyride.com.]