JOCKEY JOSE ALVAREZ WINS HIS THIRD CONSECUTIVE USEEIT STAKES, THIS TIME WITH NICE NEIGHBOR FOR TRAINER BRET CALHOUN
If you don’t have jockey Jose Alvarez on your filly for the Useeit Stakes, you best be prepared to settle for second or worse. Alvarez won this stakes a third consecutive time on Friday at Remington Park, this time aboard first-time stakes winner Nice Neighbor.
Alvarez won in the saddle of Hits Pricey Legacy last year and Sunday Flashback in 2021, both times for Oklahoma Horse Racing Hall of Famer C.R. Trout. On Friday night, he did the same for conditioner Bret Calhoun.
It might have been Nice Neighbor’s first stakes win, but what may be even more impressive is that she has raced nine times in her career and never finished worse than third in any race. The 3-year-old daughter of Good Samaritan (Harlan’s Holiday), out of the Archarcharch mare Whataclassylady, had previously run second in the $75,000 Slide Show Stakes at Remington Park on Nov. 11, 2022, to Doudoudouwanadance when they were 2-year-olds. The winner Friday turned the tables as Doudoudouwanadance finished third in the Useeit. Sandwiched between those two was Swingin’ Okie. Nice Neighbor’s second attempt in stakes company came when she ran second in the $100,000 Oklahoma Classics Distaff Sprint on Oct. 20 this year, beaten only by multiple stakes winner Dicey. That old mare prevailed on Oklahoma Classics Night by 1-3/4 lengths over Nice Neighbor.
The margin of victory in this Useeit Stakes was three-quarters of a length as the heavy favorite was sent off at 4-5 odds and paid $3.60 to win, $2.40 to place and $2.10 to show. Nice Neighbor earned $30,000 from the $50,000 purse and improved to nine starts, four wins, three seconds and two thirds for $147,991 in earnings for owner Highlander Training Center (Larry Hirsch) of Sulphur Springs, Texas. Nice Neighbor was bred in Oklahoma by Amy Marie Bayle and was purchased by Hirsch for $40,000 from the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky February Mixed Sale of 2021. This was the first win in the Useeit Stakes for Highlander Training Center and for Calhoun.
Alvarez sat second for the first half-mile of the Useeit with Nice Neighbor just off the shoulder of front-running Sexy Brown. They took over for the second half of the one-mile race. The early fractions were :24.19 for the first quarter-mile over a muddy track and :48.74 for the half-mile. Nice Neighbor finished up, going three-quarters in 1:13.76, seven furlongs in 1:26.66 and completing the mile in 1:40.18. Swingin’ Okie (9-5 second favorite) ran second, 1-3/4 lengths ahead of Doudoudouwanadance (10-1). The rest of the field were Tom’s Girl (31-1) fourth, Okie Attitude (11-1) fifth, Sexy Brown (37-1) sixth, Gypsy Rose (9-1) seventh and Ruby the Destroyer (40-1) eighth. The Useeit Stakes is named after the Oklahoma-based broodmare from the early 1900s who produced Black Gold, the winner of the 1924 Kentucky Derby. Both Useeit and Black Gold were owned by Oklahomans Al and Rosa Hoots. Remington Park racing puts a bow on the 2023 Thoroughbred Season with a 12-race program underway on Saturday, Dec. 16 at 2:30pm-Central.
Remington Park has provided more than $340 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 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.