DANJER COMES FROM CLOUDS TO GIVE CONNECTIONS HEAVENLY WIN IN $322,081 DEBBIE SCHAUF REMINGTON PARK CHAMPIONSHIP
Danjer showed why he was named the 2020 AQHA Champion Aged Horse and Champion Aged Gelding, by coming from the clouds and flying to victory like Pegasus, in the Grade 1, $322,081 Debbie Schauf Remington Park Championship on Saturday.
Breaking without urgency from the gate, Danjer was in grave danger, chasing a champion in his own right, Apollitical Pence, who broke like a rocket. Apollitical Pence, the winner of last year’s $600,000 Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos, looked like a sure winner with 100 yards to go with Mi Amor Secreto battling for second. However, Danjer, under a red-hot Cody Smith (three stakes wins on Saturday), found another gear and flew between the top two just before the finish, scoring by a neck at 7-2 odds, the third betting favorite in the field.
Seeing horses in front of him seemed to give the 5-year-old champion incentive to win the race even more.
“He got away slow and Apollitical Pence looked extra good the way he jumped out of there,” said Smith. “But my horse likes to eyeball a horse in front of him and use that horse as a target to catch. That horse had us daylighted. It’s just a testament to how fast Danjer is.”
He is fast indeed, recording the highest speed index of the night at 103, stopping the clock in 21.217 seconds for 440 yards. Apollitical Pence, the 3-2 favorite in the race, recorded a 102 as did third-place finisher Mi Amor Secreto (11-1), who ran another head back of the runner-up.
Trainer Dean Frey was a man of few words after the big win.
“Undescribable how I feel,” he said. “It was such a good feeling. Going to be hard trying to sleep tonight.”
Danjer redeemed himself after he finished eighth in this same race last year at 6-1 odds. In fact, he has been tough to beat since that eighth-place finish. He has now won four of his last six starts, all stakes victories. The two races he didn’t win he lost by a nose and a neck in stakes company. The four recent trips to the winner’s circle for this champion began in the Grade 3 Championship Challenge Stakes at Canterbury Park in Minnesota on July 7 last year, followed by the Grade 1 Albuquerque Fall Championship at the Downs at Albuquerque on Sept. 20, the Grade 1 Bank of America Challenge Championship on Oct. 24, and then the Debbie Schauf Remington Park Championship. The two near-wins were in the Grade 1 All American Gold Cup at Ruidoso Downs on Sept. 6 and the Grade 1 Leo Stakes at Remington Park this meet on May 1.
He earned $191,730 for the win and became the latest in millionaire horses to race at Remington Park. He has started 21 times, won 11, run second five times and third three times for a lifetime bankroll of $1,064,448 for owners Dean Frey, Downtown Enterprises, and Billy G. Smith of Rancho Mirage, Calif.
Danjer paid $9, $3.60 and $3.20 to win, place and show. He was bred in Oklahoma by Frey.
The Debbie Schauf Remington Park Championship is named in honor of the longtime executive director of the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Racing Association, who passed away unexpectedly in August 2019.
The final racing program of the 2021 American Quarter Horse, Paint and Appaloosa Season at Remington Park takes place on Sunday, May 30. The first race is at 1:30pm-Central.
Tracked by more than 167,000 fans on Facebook and 10,400 Twitter followers, Remington Park has provided more than $261 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 features live and simulcast horse racing, and the casino is always open! Visit remingtonpark.com for more information.