Instygator, as a 2-year-old, came within a neck of winning the All American Futurity last year. Therefore, it was no surprise when he put up the fastest qualifying time for the Grade 2, $333,010 Heritage Place Derby in trials Sunday night at Remington Park.

The gelded son of Ivory James, out of the Mr Eye Opener mare Eye Popping, lost to the 2020 AQHA World Champion Whistle Stop Café by a neck in the Grade 1, $3 million All American Futurity on Sept. 7 last year. He looked every bit as fast Sunday night.

Runners in the first four trials on Sunday were putting up some sharp times, but the fifth trial was the one everyone wanted to see. Instygator didn’t disappoint, although one horse gave him all he wanted in the trial. The winner broke on top and was soon in top gear, but runner-up Vocalize would not give up, pushing him to the wire. Instygator won by a head under the expert ride of three-time defending Remington Park champion jockey James Flores. Vocalize finished 1-1/2 lengths ahead of the rest of the field. Woodys Gold (5-1) ran third and qualified as the ninth fastest on Sunday.

Instygator topped all the 3-year-olds at Remington Park in the six trials with a time of :19.522 over the fast track for the 400 yards, good for a 94 speed index. Vocalize was the second-fastest qualifier at :19.546, also earning a 94. Instygator was two necks away from winning arguably the two top races in the country as a 2-year-old last year – the All American and the Grade 1, $826,000 Heritage Place Futurity at Remington Park. He ran third in that spot to Shott Gun and Aint She Tempting.

Instygator is trained by Edelmiro Carrizales for owner Barboza Racing Corp. of Seagoville, Texas. He earned $5,784 for winning the trial and improved lifetime to $811,691 and would be approaching millionaire status if he were to win the final. First place in the Derby is $139,864. He has won five-of-eight starts in his career and oddly enough, despite approaching $1 million in earnings, has yet to win a stakes race. Instygator is three-for-four at Remington Park, making $121,025 in Oklahoma City. He was bred in Texas by Bobby Cox.

Vocalize certainly outran his 33-1 odds Sunday night. He is a gelded son of Kiddy Up, out of a Check Him Out mare Thinking Out Loud. The second-fastest qualifier for the Derby, out of trainer Hemerio Hernandez’ barn, had an extremely slow start to his career. He made his debut at the tiny Gillespie County Fair Meet in Fredericksburg, Texas, and was beaten 3-1/2 lengths at 10-1 odds after rearing at the start of a futurity trial there last Aug. 8. He was laid off until October and ran again in a maiden race at Lone Star Park, finishing ninth of 10 horses at 13-1 odds. Another layoff and he was a changed horse making his 3-year-old debut a winning one at Remington Park, scoring a maiden race on March 28 by a head as a 22-1 longshot. Now he is the second-fastest qualifier for the Heritage Place Derby.

Sunday’s Heritage Place Derby trials were contested with tailwinds out of the northeast, ranging from 13-15mph.

The following were the 10 fastest qualifiers, with jockey, trainer, time, speed index, and trial number:

1) Instygator, James Flores, Edelmiro Carrizales, :19.522, 94, trial five
2) Vocalize, Noe Garcia, Jr., Hemerio Hernandez, :19.546, 94, trial five
3) Apollitical Bird, Justine Klaiber, Eddie Willis, :19.561, 93, trial six
4) Relentlessly, Raul Valenzuela, Jose Huerta, :19.624, 92, trial three
5) Fallout, James Flores, Monty Arrossa, :19.628, 92, trial one
6) A Pollitical Gal, Francisco Calderon, Clint Crawford, :19.667, 91, trial four
7) Spotty Politics, Rolando Raudales, Matthew Eck, :19.686, 90, trial two
8) Dreamland Express, Juan Pulido, Dee Keener, :19.795, 88, trial one
9) Woodys Gold, Francisco Calderon, Clint Crawford, : 19.811, 87, trial five
10) CR Appollitical Joe, Berkley Packer, Jason Olmstead, :19.814, 87, trial six

Live racing continues Thursday-Sunday, May 13-16. The first race is at 6pm nightly, except on Saturday, May 15. That special program begins at Noon as the Preakness Stakes simulcast is featured after the live card has concluded. All times are Central.

Tracked by more than 165,000 fans on Facebook and 10,400 Twitter followers, Remington Park has provided more than $260 Million to the State of Oklahoma general education fund since the opening of the casino in 2005. Located at the junction of Interstates 35 & 44, in the heart of the Oklahoma City Adventure District, Remington Park is home to the $1 million Heritage Place Futurity on May 29. Visit remingtonpark.com for more information.