BATTLE OF THE BIG BOYS SET FOR GRADE 1 $250,000 DEBBIE SCHAUF REMINGTON PARK CHAMPIONSHIP
A couple of millionaire horses and a multiple stakes winner that just beat them both are back for the rematch everyone wants to see in the Debbie Schauf Remington Park Championship on the season’s final race night, Saturday, May 28.
It’s Instygator vs. Danjer vs. Jess My Hocks once again in the biggest race of the meet for older American Quarter Horses, the Grade 1, $250,000 Debbie Schauf Remington Park Championship at the classic distance of 440 yards with a field of eight. The race was named for the late, beloved Oklahoma Quarter Horse Racing Association executive director.
The overwhelming question of which of these three horses was the best, going into the Leo Stakes, hung heavy in the air. Danjer was the 2021 AQHA World Champion, winning five stakes races at five different tracks. Instygator had won the $929,000 All American Derby at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico last year. Jess My Hocks was a multiple stakes winner, had far less money in his bankroll than the other two and was ignored at 10-1 by the betting public even though he was defending his Leo win from the year before.
Two things happened in the Leo that may have left that question unanswered. First, on April 30, Instygator went off the even-money favorite and lost the battle to the stubborn longshot Jess My Hocks at 400 yards by a half-length. The other thing was Danjer never had a chance after sitting back as the gate was popped and breaking a couple of lengths behind the field. He did pass three horses to get eighth, but never got to show his wares in his first start of 2022.
Since those losses, both Dean Frey, trainer of Danjer, and Santos Carrizales, Jr., trainer of Instygator, have gone back to the regular riders for the Schauf Remington Park Championship. Cody Smith will be back aboard Danjer and Juan Pulido returns to Instygator. Smith rode Danjer to all his wins in his World Championship year. Pulido was aboard Instygator for the victory in the All American Derby. Both jockeys were nursing injuries at the time of the Leo this year. Mario Delgado, after his win aboard Jess My Hocks, retains the mount for this big race.
Instygator, despite losing to Jess My Hocks in the Leo, has been installed as the 9-5 morning-line favorite for the Schauf Remington Park Championship, slightly ahead of Jess My Hocks at 2-1. Danjer has been made a lukewarm 4-1 in the morning line after his gate problems.
Instygator and Danjer are the two millionaires vying for the Championship and Jess My Hocks is a multiple stakes winner at Remington Park. Instygator races for owner Barboza Racing (Francisco Barboza) of Combine, Texas, and Remington’s leading trainer Santos Carrizales. He holds a six-win lead over 12-time winning trainer at Remington, Eddie Willis, with three days of racing remaining. Instygator is a 4-year-old gelding by Ivory James, out of the Mr Eye Opener mare Eye Popping. His record is 13 starts, eight wins, four seconds and one third for $1,472,531 in earnings. Only once has he finished worse than first or second and that was in the $826,000 Heritage Place Futurity in 2020 when he lost by a neck to Shott Gun. Instygator has won four-of-five at 440 yards. Instygator was bred in Texas by Bobby D. Cox.
Danjer is trained by Frey and he owns the 6-year-old gelding in conjunction with Downtime Enterprises (Patrick Guthrie and Billy G. Smith) of Rancho Mirage, Calif. The gelded son of FDD Dynasty, out of the Take Off Jess mare Shez Jess Toxic, has run his record to 27-15-6-3 with $1,503,975 in his bankroll, the top money earner in the field. Danjer is 11-of-17 at the distance, earning the majority of his money ($1,172,123) at this classic measure. Danjer was bred in Oklahoma by Frey.
Jess My Hocks is a monster of a horse, weighing in at 1,309 pounds when he won the Leo and that was down from 1,326 the race before when he won the Bank of America Remington Park Challenge on April 3, three weeks before the Leo. Owned by Tom and Kathleen McNally of Guthrie, Ok., Michelle Hurdle has trained him into top form this season when he matured as a 5-year-old. The gelded son of Kiss My Hocks, out of the Take Off Jess mare Jess Charlena, won the Leo last year from post-position one, the same post he drew for the championship on Saturday. His record is 19-10-0-4 with $410,552 earned. He has won two-of-five starts at 440 yards and is an Oklahoma home-bred for his owners.
The field for the Schauf Remington Park Championship is as follows, with post position, horse, odds, jockey and trainer:
Jess My Hocks, 2-1, Mario Delgado, Michelle Hurdle
Flash Bak, 10-1, Rodrigo Vallejo, Heath Taylor
Instygator, 9-5, Juan Pulido, Santos Carrizales
Danjer, 4-1, Cody Smith, Dean Frey
Candy Blood, 8-1, Francisco Calderon, Heath Taylor
O Donovan Rossa, 30-1, Jesus Salazar, Dee Keener
Big Eagle Gone, 10-1, Bryan Candanosa, John Stinebaugh
Midday News, 30-1, Raul Ramirez, Jr., Michael Joiner
The Debbie Schauf Remington Park Championship is the 11th of 12 races on the Champions’ Night program. The race is set for a 9:51pm start. The other nine stakes events on the final evening of the season:
Race 3: Grade 1, $30,000 National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum Stakes, 440 yards, Paints & Appaloosas
Race 4: $50,000 Easy Jet Stakes, 350 yards
Race 5: Grade 1, $50,000 Remington Park Distance Championship, 870 yards
Race 6: Grade 1, $236,850 Speedhorse Graham Paint & Appaloosas Futurity, 350 yards
Race 7: $100,000 Heritage Place Juvenile, 350 yards
Race 8: Grade 1, $100,000 Junos Request Stakes, 400 yards
Race 9: $278,600 Heritage Place Oaks, 400 yards
Race 10: Grade 2, $270,100 Heritage Place Derby, 400 yards
Race 12: Grade 1, $1,112,440, Heritage Place Futurity, 350 yards
The final three nights of the Remington Park season includes racing on Thursday and Friday (May 26-27), at 6pm. The Champions’ Night program Saturday begins at 5pm. All times are Central.
Tracked by more than 170,000 fans on Facebook and 10,600 Twitter followers, Remington Park has provided more than $290 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 $1,102,440 Heritage Place Futurity and the $250,000 Debbie Schauf Remington Park Championship on May 28. Simulcast horse racing is featured daily at Remington Park where the casino is always open! Visit remingtonpark.com for more information.