The nation’s second-leading trainer with 262 wins in 2021, Karl Broberg, has entered the $175,000 Governor’s Cup defending champion, Hunka Burning Love, back in the race for opening night at Remington Park.

Despite winning the race last year by more than six lengths, the 7-year-old gelded son of Into Mischief, out of the Thunder Gulch mare Touch of Fire, has been made a slight outsider at 8-1 odds due to his recent form. He is only one-for-seven in the winner’s circle this year.

“That doesn’t bother me,” said Broberg. “I’m surprised he’s not 20-1 off his current form.”

That doesn’t mean he is ready to concede the race to his competition in the eighth event on a nine-race card Friday night, scheduled for a post time of 10:23pm.

“(Hunka Burning Love) has been very unlucky this year on off tracks,” Broberg said. “He hates wet tracks and he’s just gotten wet after wet after wet after wet racetracks. When it has rained and the track is sealed, he’s OK. But if it’s loose and muddy, he can’t stand it. He has only had one fast track to run on all year.”

Here’s the good news for Broberg – Hunka Burning Love is three-for-three to the winner’s circle in races at Remington Park in which he has run around two turns. This race is 1-1/8 miles on the dirt, fitting that description.

There will be a rider change from three-time defending champion jockey here, David Cabrera, who was aboard Hunka Burning Love in the 2020 Governor’s Cup. Friday night, newcomer Reylu Gutierrez has the mount.

“Yeah, David decided to go with that other horse (Trident Hit at 8-1),” said Broberg. “Does he know what he’s doing? Do any jockeys ever know what they are doing?”

Broberg pondered his goals now that he has been allotted 40 stalls for the season at Remington Park.

“Yea! I’m back,” he said. “I’m obviously happy to be back. My goals? I should set a goal. Hmmm. OK, let’s just say I’d be thrilled and very happy to finish a distant second to Steve Asmussen again in the trainer’s standings.”

Asmussen recently became the all-time winningest trainer in North American thoroughbred history, passing Dale Baird. Asmussen, going into Thursday’s races, had 9,454 wins. Baird finished his career with 9,445 victories. Both Asmussen and Broberg live in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area these days. Asmussen has won 16 training titles at Remington Park, a record here, and has won every title but one here since 2007. The only time in that skein that he didn’t win, Broberg beat him with 62 wins in 2015.

“Remington Park is near and dear to me,” said Broberg. “When it opened up in 1988, I was living in Tulsa and I would ride the bus for $20 a day to come over here. I was just a gambler back then and I would handicap on the way over and then handicap the next day’s card on the way back. I loved those days.”

Broberg currently is 63 wins behind Asmussen’s 325 trips to the winner’s circle overall this year and he has no delusions of grandeur that he will catch him.

“It’s done; it’s over with,” said Broberg, solidly in second place. “I don’t even look at it anymore.”

Among the horses Broberg has to fill up his 40 stalls is one named Greeley and Ben, whose claim to fame is a recent victory over Oklahoma-bred millionaire Welder at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa. Welder is currently tied for the all-time record of wins at Remington Park with 15. He will try to break that mark this season as an 8-year-old.

“I hate to break the news,” Broberg said. “but Welder is a shell of his former self…and I’m the world’s biggest Welder fan. Listen, after being without stalls last year and seeing how hard it is to win races if you’re not training them on the grounds, I have the utmost respect for Teri Luneack and what she’s done. It’s incredible. There’s a lot to be said for what she’s done, training off the farm. I love him and he’s one of the greatest sprinters of all-time there. For my money, I’ll take Darrell Darrell first.”

Luneack has no stalls at Remington Park and ships all her Ra-Max horses from Claremore, Ok., three hours away on the day of their races.

So, Greeley and Ben and Welder might meet again in the $150,000 David Vance Stakes on Sunday, Sept. 26?

“Well, I don’t know about that,” said Broberg. “I’ll try to keep him in the softest spots I can, where he can win. He’s eligible for a lot of stuff other than stakes races. He’s going to run this Friday in an allowance race at Prairie Meadows. I never look past the next race. I didn’t even have to win a shake for him on the claim at Oaklawn. There were rumors about him having bad feet chronically his whole life, so I was the only one who put in a claim.”

Greeley and Ben is a 7-year-old gelded son of Greeley’s Conquest, out of the Langfuhr mare Traci’s Wild, that Broberg claimed for $10,000 at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., on March 7. Since that claim, the horse has won seven of eight races, including six in a row. None of those have been stakes races, however.
Greeley and Ben now has won 13-of-23 lifetime for $318,798 and 8-of-11 starts this year.

The first race of the season at Remington Park is Friday, Aug. 20 at 7:07pm. All times are 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 2021 Thoroughbred Season begins Aug. 20. Visit remingtonpark.com for more information.