Trainer Eddie Willis qualified 5-of-10 horses for the finals of the restricted Grade 2, $355,800 Remington Park Derby that will be run on Saturday, April 17. However, it was conditioner Monty Arrossa with the fastest qualifier in Candy Blood.

Arrossa saved the best for last as Candy Blood put up a time of :19.761 over the fast track at 400 yards in the final trial of the night on Thursday with three-time defending jockey title-holder James Flores in the saddle. The 3-year-old gray gelding by Apollitical Blood, out of the Wave Carver mare Ranch Candy, stepped on the gas after a slight bobble at the start and cruised to victory in the swiftest time for owner Rick Sumner and Dunn Ranch of Wynnewood, Okla. Candy Blood was bred in Oklahoma by Sumner.

Flores, the top rider here the past three years, was impressive aboard Candy Blood, drawing away to an easy 1-1/4 length win in the final trial for an 88-speed index. The top three finishers in the final trial all qualified among the top 10. Candy Blood improved to 10 starts, five wins, two seconds lifetime for earnings of $152,334.

Willis qualified the fourth, fifth, eighth, ninth and 10th fastest horses from a barn that screams 3-year-old class. In fact, a couple of his qualifiers appeared to have more left in their trials. Jockey Jimmy Brooks was aboard for Willis on his top four qualifiers and Justine Klaiber rode the fifth qualifier. Willis’ top two qualifiers were HR Princess Jess and Apollitical Gold in the third and fourth trials. Those two faced each other last year at Los Alamitos in California in the $1.1 million Golden State Million Futurity. Apollitical Gold was the winner in that head-to-head matchup and HR Princess Jess ran fourth. Apollitical Gold was the top earner in the derby trials on Thursday and with the $8,784 he earned for winning his trial, moved closer to the $1 million mark in earnings lifetime. He now sits at $981,443 and would pass the golden goal with a good showing in the finals. It will be interesting to see which horse Brooks chooses to ride in the finals since he rode both to trial wins.

The other three horses that qualified out of Willis’ barn were MH Apollitical Spy (eighth), Everlong (ninth) and Apollitical Bird (10th).

The top 10 qualifiers for the finals of the Remington Park Derby, restricted to eligible 3-year-old Oklahoma-breds, were (with their jockey, trainer, trial number, times and speed index) were:

Candy Blood, James Flores, Monty Arrossa, trial eight, :19.761 seconds, 88
B Cause Im a Hero, Francisco Calderon, Clint Crawford, trial six, :19.821, 87
Empressum, Rodrigo Vallejo, Heath Taylor, trial five, :19.837, 87
HR Princess Jess, Jimmy Brooks, Eddie Willis, trial three, :19.841, 86
Apollitical Gold, Jimmy Brooks, Eddie Willis, trial four, :19.843, 86
Eye Work for You, James Flores, Edelmiro Carrizales, trial seven, :19.891, 85
A Pollitical Gal, Francisco Calderon, Clint Crawford, trial seven, :19.915, 85
MH Apollitical Spy, Jimmy Brooks, Eddie Willis, trial five, :19.978, 83
Everlong, Jimmy Brooks, Eddie Willis, trial eight, :19.985, 83
Apollitical Bird, Justine Klaiber, Eddie Willis, trial eight, :19.990, 83

Tracked by more than 165,000 fans on Facebook and 10,400 Twitter followers, Remington Park has provided more than $258 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 open daily for casino gaming and simulcast horse racing. The 2021 American Quarter Horse, Paint and Appaloosa Season continues through May 29. Visit for more information.