AQHA DISTANCE CHAMPION FOR 2021, WASCALLYWITTLEWABBIT, MAKES 2022 DEBUT A WINNING ONE IN PAULS VALLEY STAKES
Wascallywittlewabbit was the American Quarter Horse Association Distance Champion for 2021, putting together a campaign of 870-yard wins in which he was virtually unbeatable. He began his defense of that title with a victory in Thursday night’s $50,880 Pauls Valley Stakes.
Wascallywittlewabbit had a few things working against him, coming into this stakes race at Remington Park. He lost his regular rider Benito Baca, who retired this year. He ran poorly in his debut in Oklahoma City last year, managing only a fourth-place finish after a layoff. Finally, he was facing a multiple stakes winner, Shockinglyfamous, who had just won his first try around the hook at 870 yards by more than seven lengths. In fact, even though that race wasn’t in stakes company, the public sent Shockinglyfamous off as the favorite at 4-5 odds against the country’s top turn horse.
None of it mattered as Wascallywittlewabbit, from the rail post-position, was first out of the gate, negotiated the turn with ease, and jockey Josh Romero, aboard him for the first time, locked down on him at the end. The 7-year-old gelding by Heza Motor Scooter, out of the Rabbits Rainbow mare Rabbits N Diamonds, drew off to win by 3-1/2 lengths. He was the even-money second choice and paid $4 to win, $2.10 to place and $2.10 to show.
Wascallywittlewabbit had shown trainer Michael Joiner and owner Rogers Farm (Jarett Rogers) of Clint, Texas, that he was indeed ready with two workouts in the morning at Remington Park of :34.53 breezing for 660 yards on March 5, the bullet (fastest work of the day) and a :34.56 handily from the gate work follow-up on March 19. Most of the faster horses that have worked that distance this meet have checked in at about 36-seconds.
“He’s such a cool little horse,” said Joiner. “We are fortunate to have him. He even makes me look like I can train a little.”
Wascallywittlewabbit won at 870 yards for the sixth time in his past seven tries. To garner his award as best hook horse in the country last year, he won this race, the Pauls Valley Stakes to get things going, and then took home trophies from the $64,000 Remington Park Distance Championship on May 29, followed by the $50,000 Zia 870 Championship on Aug. 28 at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico and last, but certainly not least, the $104,000 Challenge Distance Championship at the Downs at Albuquerque, on Oct. 23 to finish the year. He also sandwiched an allowance win along the way at Ruidoso.
Shockinglyfamous checked in second in this year’s Pauls Valley, clear of third-place finisher Bubba Bad (7-1), another 2-1/4 lengths back.
Running time for Wascallywittlewabbit was :45.08 over the fast track for a 97 speed index. Wascallywittlewabbit earned $29,946 from the purse to push his record to 23 starts, 12 wins, and two second for a bankroll of $312,046. It was his 11th win in 17 starts at 870 yards and his fourth trip to the winner’s circle in five tries at Remington Park.
“I chased him all year long last year (aboard other horses) and couldn’t catch him,” said Romero. “It was nice to get the mount this year. He broke decent from the gate, but I think he can do even better. But once he got to the lead, he pricked those ears forward and took care of business.”
It was the second year in a row Wascallywittlewabbit won this race, matching the number of wins for Joiner and Rogers Farms. The Pauls Valley Stakes is named after the town of the same name, located about one hour south of Remington Park.
Live racing continues Friday and Saturday night at 6 p.m. with 11 trials on tap each night for 2-year-old Oklahoma-bred Quarter Horses trying to qualify for the finals of the restricted Grade 1, $973,665 Remington Park Futurity that will be run on Saturday, April 16. The top five fastest times from each night will qualify as the 10 finalists.
Tracked by more than 168,000 fans on Facebook and 10,600 Twitter followers, Remington Park has provided more than $286 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 will feature the richest futurity for state-breds, the $925,000 (estimated) Remington Park Futurity on April 16. Simulcast horse is racing featured daily at Remington Park where the casino is always open! Visit remingtonpark.com for more information.