EMPEROR VALERIAN PREVAILS IN STRETCH BATTLE WITH WAHOO, CARTER WINS 17TH REMINGTON PARK TITLE
For Immediate Release
Sunday, June 01, 2014
OKLAHOMA CITY – The 2014 American Quarter Horse & Mixed-breed Season closed Sunday afternoon with the Grade 3, $56,390 Remington Park Distance Championship as the final stakes event. Emperor Valerian pulled off the upset after a thrilling stretch battle with Wahoo in the 870-yard race.
Owned by Salvador Pimienta of Marana, Ariz. and trained by Brandon Muniz, Emperor Valerian was overlooked at 18-1 odds. Wahoo was the 8-5 wagering favorite based on his two consecutive stakes wins at 870 yards earlier in the season.
Jockey Ricky Ramirez had the mount on Emperor Valerian, placing his charge alongside Wahoo for the duel. “He felt strong, he never quit me. Emperor just never quit and got their first. Whenever he breaks good, he usually gets comfortable around the turn and I’m able to pace him and save him for the end and that’s what happened today.”
Emperor Valerian and Wahoo moved in tandem from the top of the stretch before the former gained the edge in the final yards, crossing the finish in :44.833 seconds over a fast track, winning by a half-length. Wahoo ended the race 3-3/4 lengths ahead of the late-charging Droppin Timber who came on for third.
Emperor Valerian paid $38.20 to win, $9.40 to place and $6.60 to show. Wahoo returned $3.20 to place and $2.80 to show. Droppin Timber paid $5.20 to show.
A 6-year-old gelding by Heza Fast Dash from the Dashin Val mare Sheeza Lil Val, Emperor Valerian was bred in Oklahoma by Kelly/Yearsley Equine, LLC. The Distance Championship win is his seventh from 30 career starts and his third at Remington Park. The first-place check of $35,238 moves his lifetime bankroll to $180,349.
$50,000 Easy Jet Stakes
Oklahoma-bred 2-year-olds were featured a final time in the Easy Jet Stakes at 350 yards. Vod Kanockers made up ground to get to the finish a neck better than L Diablo in :17.798 seconds.
Owned by Philip Brassfield of Muskogee, Okla. and trained by Tana Pace, Vod Kanockers was ridden by the season’s jockey champ G.R. Carter.
Vod Kanockers was 9-2 in the wagering and paid $11 to win, $6.80 to place and $4.40 to show. L Diablo paid $8.80 to place and $6 to show. Coronas Miss Perry was on the lead midway through the race before settling for third, returning $9.20 to show.
A gelding by Stoli from the Streakin La Jolla mare Stranger To Shame, Vod Kanockers won for the second time in four attempts with both wins at Remington Park. Bred by Kimberly & Herman Hogue, Vod Kanockers picked up $29,784 for the effort to roll his earnings up to $45,933.
The Easy Jet is named in honor of the 1969 All American Futurity winner and AQHA World Champion who was bred, owned and trained by Walter Merrick of Sayre, Okla.
2014 Champion Jockey – GR Carter
Carter wrapped up another Remington Park season where he normally does, atop the rider standings. The Pawhuska, Okla. native and Oklahoma City resident won his 17th Remington Park title and his 11th straight.
Carter won 66 races overall, finishing 11 wins ahead of second-place Berkley Packer who enjoyed his best local season with 55 triumphs. Jimmy Brooks was third in the standings with 45.
Carter became the AQHA’s all-time leading jockey by career wins on May 23 while riding at Ruidoso Downs, N.M.
Carter also was the top rider by mount earnings with $1,633,478. His biggest score of the season came in the $298,000 Remington Park Derby on April 19 aboard This Candys Awesome.
Brooks was second in earnings with $1,032,081 while Packer was third with $1,027,992.
Jack Brooks Award Winner – Eddie Willis
Trainer Eddie Willis enjoyed another successful Remington Park season, winning the Jack Brooks Award that is given to the leading conditioner. Brooks, a resident of Edmond, Okla. and eight-time winner of the All American Futurity, was on hand to present the award named in his honor.
Willis had 51 wins, claiming his ninth Jack Brooks title overall and his fifth consecutive. Clint Crawford posted 31 wins to finish second in the standings while Tana Pace had 23 to finish third.
Willis was the only trainer to earn more than a million dollars with his athletes totaling $1,648,790. This Dude Can Fly provided the biggest win for Willis, scoring the Grade 2, $257,050 Heritage Place Derby on May 31.
Champion Owner – Reliance Ranches, Llano, Texas
Reliance Ranches won their first ever championship as leading Remington Park owner with 15 wins. Rock You was one of their top horses on the season, winning the Grade 2, Bob Moore Memorial Stakes on April 19.
Wade Helton of Pampa, Texas, the Remington Park champion owner in 2013, finished in a tie for second in the standings this year with Valeriano Racing Stables of Odessa, Texas. Each had nine wins for the season.
Reliance Ranches also led all owners in money earned with $455,138.
Remington Park live racing now goes on hiatus until the start of the Thoroughbred Season on Aug. 15. Until then simulcast racing and casino gaming are offered every day. Opening daily at 10:30am, Remington Park features the Bricktown Brewery on the casino floor. Admission, general parking and valet parking are always free at Remington Park.
Tracked by over 51,000 fans on Facebook and 5,000 Twitter followers, Remington Park is Oklahoma City’s only Racetrack & Casino and is located at the junction of Interstates 35 & 44, in the heart of the Oklahoma City Adventure District. For more information, reservations and group bookings please call 405-424-1000, 866-456-9880 or visit remingtonpark.com.