OKLAHOMA’S TWO-TIME HORSE OF YEAR, WELDER, TRIES TO PROVE IT ON GRASS COURSE IN FRIDAY’S $70,000 REMINGTON PARK TURF SPRINT
If Oklahoma’s two-time Horse of the Year, Welder, likes the turf Friday in the $70,000 Remington Park Turf Sprint, this 7-year-old gelding might be the most versatile horse in track history.
Welder, a $6,500 purchase picked out by owner Clayton Rash (Ra-Max Farms of Claremore, Okla.) and trainer Teri Luneack, broke the $1 million-mark in earnings on April 28 at Will Rogers Downs in Claremore when he won the $55,000 TRAO Sprint Stakes. It was the fifth year in a row he won that race.
Welder makes his fall debut at the Oklahoma City track Friday night in the RP Turf Sprint and his debut on the grass. He has earned $1,017,018 in his career, but not one dollar on the turf, but that’s only because he has never raced greensward.
“I’ve tried to enter Welder on the grass before,” Luneack. “But it was taken off the turf because of rain. I’ve always thought he may like the grass, and this afforded us the opportunity to try it.”
Welder has won 22 career races in 34 starts and the seven horses taking him on in the turf sprint have won 29 collectively in their 143 starts. The champion 7-year-old gelded son of The Visualiser, out of the Tiznow mare Dance Softly, was going for his 10th win in a row at Remington Park on Dec. 14, his last race here, but fell short. Only Slide Show had won more races in a row – 11 – here.
Although Welder has cemented his place in Oklahoma’s Racing Hall of Fame when he retires, holding track records at six furlongs on the dirt, winning the most stakes in a meet with four, and being the only horse to be voted Horse of the Meet in track history twice consecutively, there is one mark he still could equal or surpass. He has 11 wins at Remington Park and sits four behind Highland Ice (15 wins) and Elegant Exxactsy (15) for that career mark. Welder won four races here in both 2018 and 2019. If he did that again this season, he would be tie the record for wins in Oklahoma City.
“Honestly, I don’t think about having the record for winning the most races at Remington,” Luneack said. “When we broke the million-dollar mark (in earnings), I felt like we had achieved the greatest goal of all with him. Obviously it would be a wonderful thing for him to win that many races, but only time will tell.”
Luneack explained this lightning fast gray streak’s success throughout his career.
“I think the key is his perfect conformation and willingness to do whatever you ask of him,” she said. “I haven’t over-campaigned him and let him tell us when he is ready to run. I’m very blessed with owners that have their horses’ best interest in mind. If I say I feel a horse isn’t ready, they completely support that decision.”
Welder has been made the heavy 3-5 morning line favorite in the Remington Park Turf Sprint. The betting public loves this horse, almost as much as his trainer and owner.
Remington Park racing continues this week through Sunday, with a first post Friday and Saturday of 7:07pm. On Sunday, with a special 11-race Oklahoma Derby card, the first post is set for 3 pm. All times are Central.
Tracked by more than 164,000 fans on Facebook and more than 10,400 Twitter followers, Remington Park has provided more than $246 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 is open daily for casino gaming and simulcast horse racing. The 2020 Thoroughbred Season is scheduled to run through Dec. 20. Visit remingtonpark.com for more information.