GHOST HERO WINS BACK-TO-BACK STAKES RACES, TAKING DON McNEILL STAKES IN HIS FIRST ROUTE RACE WITH FIGHT TO FINISH
Ghost Hero may have been the only one that knew he was going to win the $75,000 Don McNeill Stakes at Remington Park on Friday in the final strides.
His jockey and trainer sure thought it was something of a miracle as Ghost Hero appeared to have given way to Send the Boss as the two approached the wire. In the last 50 yards, however, when it seemed Ghost Hero was definitely the runner-up, the 2-year-old colt found more heart and passed Send the Boss to get up for the win by a head.
“That was quite a battle,” jockey Stewart Elliott said. “I really didn’t know if we were going to get in front.”
Trainer Jayde Gelner reiterated his jockey’s thoughts.
“That was crazy, he really had to rebreak when that horse passed him,” said Gelner. “He broke his maiden against stakes company in the ($100,000 Oklahoma Classics Juvenile). I guess we should have started with stakes.”
Ghost Hero’s only losses have come in two maiden races in four tries.
Gelner said if this colt by Shaman Ghost (Ghostzapper), out of the Super Saver mare Queen Buxley, comes back from this stakes race in good shape, he will be pointed toward the $400,000 Springboard Mile on closing night, Saturday, Dec. 17, a race in which Kentucky Derby points are in play.
Ghost Hero virtually went wire-to-wire as the 3-5 betting favorite in the race despite giving up the lead for a couple of seconds. He set every early fraction over the good track, going :24.16 for the first quarter-mile, ;49.18 for the half-mile, 1:13.98 for six furlongs and 1:26.42 for seven-eighths of a mile. He squeaked out the victory over Send the Boss (2-1), who was 5-3/4 lengths better than third-place finisher Eakly (5-1).
Ghost Hero paid $3.40 to win, $2.10 to place and $2.10 to show. The colt is owned by Norman Stables (Robert Norman) of Thomasville, Ala., who earned $45,000 for the trip to the winner’s circle. The colt improved lifetime to four starts, two wins, and one second, accumulating $108,504 in earnings.
He was bred in Oklahoma by Clark Brewster of Tulsa. It was the first win in this stakes series for all the connections.
This stakes race is named in honor of the late Don McNeill. The owner and breeder who was so prominent in Oklahoma-bred racing, represented by many talented horses including top Oklahoma-breds Clever Trevor and Mr. Ross, as well as 2011 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Caleb’s Posse. McNeill passed in 2015.
Live racing at Remington Park continues Saturday with the first race at 7:07pm-Central.
Tracked by more than 171,000 fans on Facebook and 10,600 Twitter followers, Remington Park has provided more than $308 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 the $400,000 Springboard Mile, our top 2-year-old race on the final night of the season on Saturday, December 17. Remington Park also presents simulcast racing daily and non-stop casino gaming. Visit remingtonpark.com for more information.