CANDY BLOOD BRINGS HOME DEE RAPER SOONER STATE STAKES TROPHY
It seemed somewhat apropos that a horse named Candy Blood would win the Dee Raper Sooner State Stakes where all the horses wore crimson saddle cloths.
It was a tribute to Raper, who ran Belle Mere Farm in Norman, Okla., and was an avid Oklahoma Sooners fan before passing away in 2020. Dee and wife Betty stood the legendary Easy Jet as a stallion at one time. So, to see a horse named Candy Blood win the restricted Grade 1, $100,000 Sooner State Stakes in a red saddle cloth seemed pre-destined.
Raper was inducted into the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2010 and into the Oklahoma Horse Racing Hall of Fame at Remington Park in 2012. Dee and wife Betty stood the legendary Easy Jet as a stallion at one time and produced many great horses through the years.
Candy Blood a 4-year-old gelding by Apollitical Blood, out of the Wave Carver mare Ranch Candy, outlasted one of the toughest fields of 3-year-olds and older this meet. He outlasted JK Wildcat Red to the wire by a neck. The winner, owned by Rick Sumner and Dunn Ranch (Matt Dunn) of Wynnewood, Okla., is trained by Monty Arrossa and was ridden to victory by Francisco Calderon.
Candy Blood is a three-time stakes winner, taking the Dee Raper Sooner State Stakes for Oklahoma-breds, the $15,000 Z Wayne Griffin Directors Handicap and the $20,000 Holiday Handicap, both at Los Alamitos in California. He has had brushes with success in much larger races, however. In 2020, he won his Heritage Place Futurity trial and then ran fourth in the finals. He also won an All American Futurity trial but did not have a fast enough time to qualify for the finals. He went into the All American Juvenile Stakes and finished fourth in that stakes. In his 3-year-old year, Candy Blood won his Remington Park Derby trial, only to finish second by a neck in the $356,000 Derby final, losing to one of the most impressive 3-year-olds in the country, Empressum. Candy Blood went on to win an All American Derby trial and was the third-place finisher in the $929,000 finals.
Saturday night’s Dee Raper Sooner State Stakes win was his debut as a 4-year-old. Candy Blood was easily the most active horse in the paddock before the race, kicking and jumping, ready to run.
“That horse will keep you on your toes,” said Arrossa. “Every day is a new day with him. He has a lot of energy and is sometimes his own worst enemy. We were fortunate tonight that he channeled it into the race.”
Candy Blood stopped the timer in the Sooner State at 400 yards in :19.589 on a fast track. That compared to Dreamsville, a 3-year-old, in the Remington Park Derby at :19.460. Candy Blood was bred in Oklahoma by Sumner.
Leaving the gate as the prohibitive 3-5 favorite, Candy Blood proved his worth. JK Wildcat Red gave it his all, but could only get within a neck at the finish at 22-1 odds. JC Wild King, a multiple stakes winner, was third at 3-1 odds, another head behind in the photo finish.
The remaining order of finish in the Dee Raper Sooner State Stakes was Presidential Embrace (4th), O Donovan Rossa (5th), XF Wingman (6th) Apollitical Gold (7th) Its the Whiskey (8th) and BP Primetime (9th).
Candy Blood earned $57,600 from the purse and improved his record to 18 starts, nine wins, three seconds and one third for $477,475 in earnings.
It was the first win in the Dee Raper Sooner State Stakes for all connections.
There will be no racing on Easter Sunday. Live racing continues next week with racing Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 6 p.m. A week from Easter, racing resumes on Sundays at 4 p.m.
Tracked by more than 168,000 fans on Facebook and 10,600 Twitter followers, Remington Park has provided more than $288 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 $1,000,000 Heritage Place Futurity and the $250,000 Debbie Schauf Remington Park Championship on May 28. Simulcast horse is racing featured daily at Remington Park where the casino is always open! Visit remingtonpark.com for more information.