DANJER TURNS TABLES IN DEFNDING HIS TITLE IN DEBBIE SCHAUF REMINGTON PARK CHAMPIONSHIP
After one of his worst losses ever, Danjer got his regular jockey Cody Smith back Saturday, and in turn, he regained his dignity by defending his title in the Grade 1 $270,880 Debbie Schauf Remington Park Championship.
When Danjer, the 2021 American Quarter Horse Association World Champion, raced in the $100,000 Leo Stakes on April 30, Smith had a left ankle injury from a gate incident and the ensuing surgery placed him on the sideline for a couple of weeks. Without Smith, who was aboard for all five of Danjer’s stakes wins last year, Danjer was not himself. With a flipping halter hooked on the gate in the Leo, Danjer sat back as the gate popped and was left behind the field of 11 in last place. He was able to run eighth, 3-1/2 lengths behind the first two finishers Jess My Hocks and Instygator, who returned to face him again in the Schauf Remington Championship.
In the biggest race of the season for older Quarter Horses, Danjer did not have a flipping halter in use. Smith fired him out of the gate like an Olympic sprinter from the blocks on Saturday and there was never any doubt that Danjer was back. At a generous 3-1 odds, he flew to the finish line in :21.449 for 440 yards on the fast track and a speed index of 96. The 6-year-old gelding by FDD Dynasty, out of the Take Off Jess mare Shez Jess Toxic, had gained his revenge. Jess My Hocks (7-2) could only get up for third, three lengths behind the winner and Instygator, last year’s All American Derby winner, ran a dull fifth as the even-money favorite of the bettors.
“From gate to wire, he ran his race,” said Smith. “When he gets away from the gate, I’m always confident from jump one that he’s going to win. I think he was pissed off from that last race.”
Danjer is trained by Dean Frey, who also partially owns the horse with Downtime Enterprises (Patrick Guthrie) and Billy G. Smith of Rancho Mirage, Calif.
“When he left the gate tonight, he was gone Johnson!” Frey said.
As far as the road traveled to another AQHA World Championship, he said it isn’t out of the question.
“We’ll try it again this year,” he said.
Danjer earned $161,838 for his owners and bumped record to 28 starts, 16 wins, six seconds and three thirds for $1,665,813 in total earnings. Frey bred him in Oklahoma, raising him from a baby.
Danjer has become quite the specialist at 440 yards. He has won 12-of-18 at that classic distance with his earnings at 440 alone reaching $1,333,961.
Danjer paid $8.20 to win, $6.80 to place and $3.80 to show. The big surprise in the race was the huge effort from 46-1 longshot Midday News, who came flying on the outside to get second. He was easily ahead of the rest of the field after Danjer. With the longshot second, the $2 exacta was worth $235.
The remaining order of finish was Flash Bak (4th), Instygator (5th), Candy Blood (6th), O Donovan Rossa (7th) and Big Eagle Gone (8th).
Frey, Smith and the owners have now won the Schauf Remington Park Championship twice in a row, both times with Danjer. This is the first time a horse has won consecutive editions of this race since Tailor Fit won three in a row in 1999, 2000 and 2001.
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.
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 features simulcast horse racing daily and the casino is always open! Visit remingtonpark.com for more information.