Da Candy Cane is the kind of horse that would make a trainer have second thoughts about retiring. However, Kenny Nolen did retire anyway after the 2022 season at Remington Park.

Now the 4-year-old filly, a winner of two-of-three starts here last year, is in veteran trainer Joe Offolter’s barn. Da Candy Cane made her first workout appearance this morning at Remington Park for the upcoming 67-date Thoroughbred Season that begins Friday, Aug. 18 and continues through Springboard Mile Night on Friday, Dec. 15.

Da Candy Cane, an Oklahoma-bred daughter of Da Stoops, out of the Candy Ride (ARG) mare Cajun Candy, has not raced since she won in allowance-non-winners-of-two company Dec. 2. She is owned by Bryan Hawk of Purcell, Okla., who finished third in the owners’ standings for wins and earnings last year.

“There’s really no reason she’s been off since December,” Offolter said. “Bryan didn’t want to run her at Will Rogers Downs (in Claremore, Okla.) and he really just likes to turn his horses out and give them a breather. Plus, she’s an Okie-bred, so there are plenty of races for her at Remington Park.”

Da Candy Cane worked three furlongs in :38.16 on Tuesday morning over a muddy surface, following drenching rains overnight in the Oklahoma City metro area. The bullet for that distance was :37.95 put up by Tungsten.

This filly showed a ton of promise last year despite not making her first start until she was deep into her 3-year-old racing year. Her career debut was better than it looked at first on paper. She ran second in an Oklahoma-bred fillies and mares, maiden special weight race on Oct. 12, 2022, beaten 4-3/4 lengths on paper by a filly named Chillaxification, owned by Terry Westemeir of Broken Arrow, Okla. Chillaxification went on to run third in the $70,000 Useeit Stakes to the top 3-year-old filly on the grounds, Hits Pricey Legacy, out of the barn of Oklahoma Horse Racing Hall of Famer owner-breeder-trainer C.R. Trout of Edmond, Okla.

Da Candy Cane broke her maiden in her second career start against a similar field on Nov. 7, but this time she showed strong improvement, pulling away by 9-1/4 lengths as the 1-2 odds-on favorite. Jockey Jose Alvarez booted her home a winner. In her first try against winners, her third start, she defeated an allowance field by one length as the even-money favorite, covering seven furlongs in 1:26.15 for the top speed figure of her career. Just as she was peaking, the race meet ended and she’s been on vacation since.

The record for Da Candy Cane going into this meet is three starts, two wins and one second for $56,328 in earnings.

“She breezed good (Tuesday),” said Offolter. “I don’t get real excited about them this early. Hopefully we can find her a non-winner-of-three but if we can’t we’ll go from there. I’ve had her about three weeks now. We’d like to race her in about 30 days.”

Offolter, 63, hails from Dibble, Okla., his home “all my life,” he said. The Oklahoma Horse Racing Hall of Famer also has with Hawk a 5-year-old mare named Ragan’s Jet, who is a standout among the distaff horses at Remington Park. The Oklahoma-bred daughter of Mister Lucky Cat, out of the Songandaprayer mare She’sgotherownjet, has won five of her last six starts coming into this meet, four of those stakes races at Remington Park, Will Rogers Downs and Fair Meadows in Tulsa. That streak started with the Muscogee Creek Nation Stakes at FMT on July 18, 2022, followed by the Oklahoma Classics Distaff at Remington Park on Oct. 21, 2022; the Miranda Diane Stakes at Will Rogers Downs on March 27 this year, prepared for the Remington meet by defending her championship in the Muscogee Creek Nation on July 19.

“She’s won her last four Oklahoma-bred sprints for fillies and mares,” Offolter said. “(Jockey) Gerardo Mora has ridden her in all her stakes wins. We have had a lot of luck together. When he’s not riding for me, it’s usually Richard Eramia. She last ran in July, so we’d like to get a work in her in about 10 days.”

Ragan’s Jet’s record coming into this meet is 17 starts, eight wins, four seconds and two thirds for $286,646 in earnings.

Entries for the Opening Night of the season, Aug. 18, will be drawn on Thursday, Aug. 10.

Remington Park has provided more than $328 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 Grade 3 Oklahoma Derby and the Grade 3 Remington Park Oaks on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023. Remington Park presents simulcast racing daily and non-stop casino gaming. Parking and admission are always free. Must be 18 or older to wager on horse racing or enter the casino gaming floor. Visit remingtonpark.com for more information.