Dark Afternoon had won three races in his six career tries going into Friday night’s Remington Park Turf Sprint Stakes and all three times he had made the winner’s circle he went gate to wire.

The 3-year-old gelded son of Black Bear (Midnight Lute), out of the Came Home mare Afternoon Liaison, broke poorly in fourth in this year’s edition, but it didn’t matter. For the first time in his career, he passed horses to win and did it against stakes company in the RP Turf Sprint, fighting past Twentyone N Change in the final strides under confident jockey Jermaine Bridgmohan.

“Jermaine said, ‘Don’t panic if he breaks bad; he will be all right,’” owner-breeder James Rogers of Elk City, Okla., said. “His half-brother Denver City won this race last year, so maybe more good things are coming.”

Bridgmohan said he wasn’t worried by the late start, sitting behind horses in the first half of the race.

“He showed his versatility on the turf, almost winning from off the pace (at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, on June 16),” Bridgmohan said. “He has shown a new dimension, passing horses. He did it well.”

Twentyone N Change set all the pace for this five-furlongs race on the grass with early fractions of :21.50 for the first quarter-mile and :44.43 for the half-mile. Dark Afternoon used all his closing momentum to swing past on the right to win by three-quarters of a length. Pomeroy Haze began his late close but could only manage a third-place finish another three lengths back.

It was not only a turf battle between those top three, but also a battle for favoritism. Dark Afternoon finished the race in a winning time of :56.74 and was sent off as co-second favorite at 5-2 odds with the runner-up and Pomeroy Haze was the 2-1 beaten wagering favorite.

Dark Afternoon paid $7.40 to win, $4 to place and $2.60 to show. Dark Afternoon earned $30,000 from the $50,000 purse in the Remington Park Turf Stakes and improved his record to seven starts, four wins, one second and one third for earnings of $111,855. It was Dark Afternoon’s second win in three starts this meet.

David Cabrera, Remington Park’s second-leading rider this season, had won on Dark Afternoon on Aug. 26, but the young jockey broke a femur in a fall Thursday night and had surgery today to repair the damage. He posted on social media that he would be leaving the hospital Saturday. He originally was named to ride Dark Afternoon in this race, but was replaced by Bridgmohan, who just came to Oklahoma City this week.

Dark Afternoon was bred in Oklahoma by his owner.

The remaining order of finish was Mister Wayside fourth, Euromantic fifth, Shannon C sixth, El Blaze seventh, He’s a Bomb eighth and Ragan’s Jet ninth.

Remington Park has provided more than $331 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.