JOCKEY LUIS QUINONEZ MOVES INTO SECOND PLACE ON ALL-TIME REMINGTON PARK RIDING LIST FOR WINS
It was one Oklahoma Horse Racing Hall of Fame jockey moving past another into second place in the all-time wins category at Remington Park when Luis Quinonez won the third race of the night aboard Ace Gilford.
It gave Quinonez 1,420 wins here, one more than Don Pettinger. The win puts the veteran journeyman 705 behind all-time leader Cliff Berry, who had 2,125. Fittingly, Oklahoma Horse Racing Hall of Fame Trainer Donnie Von Hemel gave Quinonez a leg up on Ace Gilford, a 4-year-old gelded son of Tale of the Cat, out of the Indian Charlie mare Indianella. He races for owner Dream Walkin Farms (Toby Keith) of Norman, Okla.
If you’re going to reach a milestone, it should be done in impressive fashion and Quinonez did not pass up that opportunity. His mount flew to the front out of the gate in this 5-1/2 furlongs race on the main track and just kept widening his lead to the wire. As he hit the finish line in 1:05.31 over the fast track, he was 6-1/2 lengths ahead of everyone. Ace Gilford was sent off as the 2-1 second wagering favorite and made every pole a winning one, setting interior fractions of :22:91 seconds for the first quarter-mile, :46.81 for the half-mile and :58.91 for five-eighths of a mile.
Ace Gilford paid $6 to win, $3.20 to place and $2.60 to show. Bred in Kentucky by the owner, Ace Gilford won for the first time in seven tries, scoring in his career debut at Remington Park. He had hit the board in his last two starts at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., with maiden claimers. Von Hemel gave him nearly five months off and the gelding fired fresh on all cylinders.
Quinonez, inducted into the Oklahoma Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2017, needs only 99 more wins to reach 4,000 for his career. Only Berry, Quinonez and Pettinger have won more than 1,000 races at Remington Park. Two other Oklahoma Racing Hall of Famer jockeys round out the top five – Tim Doocy with 796 and the late Pat Steinberg with 727.
Quinonez has had 26,833 mounts in his career with 3,901 wins, compiling $76,907,686 in horses’ earnings, according to Equibase statistics. His top horses have included Grade 2 winners Alternation and Gold Medal Dancer. He also won with Grade 3 winners Suddenbreakingnews, Shotgun Kowboy, She’s All In, Maysville Slew and Injustice.
Quinonez made it to the Kentucky Derby once, aboard Suddenbreakingnews, the 2016 winner of the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park for Von Hemel. They had teamed up to win the Clever Trevor Stakes at Remington Park in 2015.
Quinonez said he got his first win at Remington Park on his first mount in 1989 when I he was in his early 20s aboard New Writer. He beat such riders as Berry, Steinberg (winner of seven riding titles in the early days of the track and an Oklahoma Horse Racing Hall of Famer), Dale Cordova (10th all-time here and regular rider for Silver Goblin), and Tony McNeil, now the paddock judge at Remington Park. Quinonez now is 54 years old and says retirement doesn’t even cross his mind.
FIELD FOR GRADE 3 $400,000 OKLAHOMA DERBY BEGINNING TO TAKE SHAPE
West Coast-based trainer Doug O’Neill has confirmed he will enter Team Merchants in the Grade 3, $400,000 Oklahoma Derby on Sunday, Sept. 26, Remington Park stakes coordinator Don Thompson has announced.
O’Neill said Team Merchants should arrive in Oklahoma City via a Fed Ex jet from California on Sept. 22. O’Neill, trained two horses to Kentucky Derby wins – Nyquist in 2015 and I’ll Have Another in 2012. Team Merchants is a Kentucky-bred son of Nyquist, out of the Square Eddie mare Edwina E. The colt, bred and owned by Reddam Racing, is lightly raced with five starts, two wins and $88,940 earned. His regular rider is Mario Gutierrez, who rode both of O’Neill’s Kentucky Derby winners in their run for the roses. Team Merchants has yet to win a stakes race in his career.
Keepmeinmind, a 3-year-old that lost by a neck to Essential Quality in the Grade 2 $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga this summer, has been nominated to the Oklahoma Derby, scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 26 at Remington Park. Keepmeinmind is trained by Robertino Diodoro and owned by Cypress Creek Equine, Arnold Bennewith and Spendthrift Farm.
Others already announcing earlier they expectation to run in the Oklahoma Derby include Arkansas and Ellis Park Derby winner Super Stock out of Steve Asmussen’s barn. Asmussen is the all-time winningest trainer in racing history.
Fulsome, a colt by the top sire in the country, Into Mischief, out of the Distorted Humor mare Flourish, could be sent to the Derby by Brad Cox for Juddmonte Farms. Cox is the second-leading trainer in the country behind Asmussen in earnings this year. Fulsome has won four of his last five starts, including the Grade 3, $300,000 Smarty Jones Stakes at Parx in Philadelphia. He also won the Grade 3, $150,000 Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.
Mr. Wireless, a gelding by Dialed In, out of the Arch mare Voussoir, is from trainer Bret Calhoun’s barn and runs for owner JIL Stable. He has won four of his last five starts, including two Grade 3 races – the $500,000 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Park and the $300,000 Indiana Derby at Indiana Grand.
King Fury, a colt by Curlin, out of the Flatter mare Taris, resides in trainer Kenny McPeek’s barn. He is owned by Three Chimneys Farm and Fern Circle Stables and has a win in the Grade 3, $200,000 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland in April, before running second in the Grade 3, $500,000 Ohio Derby at Thistledown in June.
Remington Park racing concludes this week with a nine-race card Saturday, Sept. 18, the first post is 7:07 p.m.-Central.
Tracked by more than 167,000 fans on Facebook and 10,400 Twitter followers, Remington Park has provided more than $269 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 live and simulcast horse racing, and the casino is always open! The Grade 3 Oklahoma Derby and Grade 3 Remington Park Oaks will take place on Sunday, Sept. 26. Visit remingtonpark.com for more information.