Last year at this time, three-time world champion Paint, Painted Turnpike, the richest horse of his breed, failed to finish in the top two in the Paul Harber Memorial Stakes for Paints and Appaloosas at Remington Park. He returns to racing action Friday night for the first time since that attempt, as the morning-line favorite in the 2020 edition of the Paul Harber Memorial.

The 2019 attempt was the first time that Painted Turnpike had ever missed a top-two finish in 30 career races. On that night, DTL Samureye pulled off the upset, however mild. Painted Turnpike went off at 1-2 odds in that race to DTL Samureye’s 5-2.

Still, one has to wonder how tight that finish might have been if Painted Turnpike had not thrown his head at the start of the race. It was his first start in six months and now he hasn’t raced in a year. He does, however, have two sparkling works under his belt for this rematch in the $12,000 stakes for Paints and Appaloosas. On Feb. 28, Painted Turnpike worked a bullet, the fastest work of the day for 33 horses going 220 yards, with his :11.30 handily. He followed that with a near bullet which may have been even more impressive. He covered 250 yards in :13.56, handily from the gate, fourth-fastest of 108 horses that went that distance on March 25 at Remington Park.

Painted Turnpike is a 7-year-old horse by PYC Paint Your Wagon (QH), out of the SF Royal Quick Flash mare High Class Turnpike. He is owned by The Estate of Nolan Pevehouse and Matt Whitekiller of Sallisaw, Okla. Whitekiller also trains him. He will be ridden by regular rider Cody Smith. This champion has won 26-of-30 lifetime starts, earning $463,836 in his career, an amazing amount for Paints. In comparison to another multiple world champion, he is $100,000 ahead of Got Country Grip, who won 21-of-30 starts for $361,863 in earnings during his heyday just over a decade ago.

The bridge jumpers paid for Painted Turnpike’s loss last year. Several thousands of dollars came into the show pool in the late betting on Painted Turnpike. A total of $35,129 was bet into the show pool, compared to $10,520 in the win pool. When Painted Turnpike landed fourth it caused the winner, DTL Samureye to pay $7.20 to win, $4.80 to place and $65 to show. The second and third-place horses, D Railed and Bullet Bonnie paid $40.80 and $37.40 to show, respectively.

Painted Turnpike had won the Paul Harber Memorial in 2016 and 2018. The race is named after a founding member of the American Paint Horse Association who helped guide the organization for over four decades.

“Hey, that’s horse racing,” said Painted Turnpike’s trainer Matt Whitekiller at the time of the loss. “Painted Turnpike wasn’t quite himself tonight for sure. But with that being said, that is really a nice horse that won the race. Congrats to all his connections. We will just have to try them again.”

So here we are, trying again. The loss broke a string of 14 wins in a row for Painted Turnpike. He had not lost since Oct. 1, 2016 when he came in second in a derby final at Will Rogers Downs in Claremore. Painted Turnpike holds the all-time record for most wins at Remington Park for Quarter Horses/Paints/Appaloosas with 13. Highland Ice and Elegant Exxactsy each had 15 wins at Remington Park for Thoroughbreds.

DTL Samureye, now a 5-year-old gelding, was no stranger to a winner’s circle, though. It was the gelding’s fifth win in a row, and five of seven since then. He has won 13-of-20 in his career for $157,146 in earnings. This son of SF Royal Quick Flash, out of the Mr Eye Opener (QH) mare Eysa Savvy Queen, is trained by Josue Ponce and owned by Almada Racing of San Antonio, Texas. Last year, he was ridden by Jesse Levario. This year, Mario Delgado gets the call.

Painted Turnpike is the morning-line favorite at 2-1 odds while DTL Samureye is the 4-1 second choice. DTL Chasin Tale is 9-2.

Here is the field, including post position, horse, jockey, trainer, odds:

1) RP Livewire Papasbaby, Daniel Torres, Ray Enlow, 15-1

2) D Railed, Jose Vega, Dee Keener, 8-1

3) Live Moonshine, Andrew Samaniego, Matt Whitekiller, 10-1

4) RP Live Wire Dash, Gonzalo Gutierrez, Ray Enlow, 12-1

5) Memories of Lil Hero, James Flores, Monty Arrossa, 15-1

6) DTL Samureye, Mario Delgado, Josue Ponce, 4-1

7) Painted Turnpike, Cody Smith, Matt Whitekiller, 2-1

8) Admiral Tom, Agustin Silva, Luis Villafranco, 15-1

9) DTL Chasin Tale, Cristian Esqueda, Matt Whitekiller, 9-2

The Paul Harber Memorial is the main event of 10 on Friday night at Remington Park. The first race, with no public spectators, is set for 6pm-Central.

Tracked by more than 163,000 fans on Facebook and more than 10,200 Twitter followers, Remington Park has provided more than $242 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 presents the 2020 American Quarter Horse, Paint and Appaloosa Season through May 30. For more information, reservations and group bookings please call 405-424-1000, 866-456-9880 or visit remingtonpark.com.