PALUXY, AT 24-1 ODDS, PULLS OFF HUGE UPSET OF FORMER OKLAHOMA DERBY WINNER, WARRANT, IN $100,600 GOVERNOR’S CUP STAKES
A year ago, Paluxy was running for a $25,000 claiming tag at Remington Park and couldn’t have warmed up 2021 Oklahoma Derby winner Warrant, out of the barn of the nation’s leading trainer Brad Cox.
It’s amazing the difference a year makes. Blue and Gold Racing (Mike Combs) of Kingfisher, Okla., claimed Paluxy for $25,000 out of that race last August and it paid off. Paluxy, the former claimer, fought off Warrant, a millionaire and graded stakes winner, in the final strides to win the $100,600 Governor’s Cup by a head on Friday, Opening Night of the 2023 Thoroughbred race meeting at Remington Park.
Paluxy, under jockey Floyd Wethey, Jr., hit the wire together with Warrant in the 1-1/8 miles race and the photo finished revealed that the 5-year-old longshot gelding out of trainer Scott Young’s barn, had his head down and the ex-Oklahoma Derby winner did not. Paluxy had never won a stakes race prior to Friday night. Warrant had won the $175,000 Isaac Murphy Marathon at Churchill Downs, the Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park and the Texas Derby at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas.
“All the credit goes to these guys,” Young said, pointing to a contingent of his owners in Blue and Gold Racing in the winner’s circle. “They had enough faith in me and our barn to give this horse the time he needed to get prepared for this. We always thought he had a chance to be really good. I thought we had him ready for the Cornhusker Handicap (a $300,000 stakes race at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa) but he had a really bad trip in that race.”
Paluxy finished seventh, beaten more than 12 lengths in the Cornhusker Handicap. Friday night was a different story. The Kentucky-bred son of Brody’s Cause, out of the Master Command mare Miss Pippa, had a clean trip and it was just a matter of heart and a bit of luck at the wire.
“Scott and I talked about the race and decided it was best to take back, save ground and see if we could beat Warrant,” said Wethey. “He ran huge.”
Wethey was asked if he knew he had the victory at the wire and he replied, “You never know against a horse like Warrant. He’s a great horse, but we had him today.”
Paluxy paid $51.40 to win, $17.40 to place and $6 to show. He covered the distance on the fast main track in 1:52.77 with interior fractions of :24.98 for the first-quarter mile, :50.01 for the half, 1:14.45 for three-quarters of a mile and 1:39.62 for the mile. Warrant was sent off as the heavy 3-5 favorite at post-time and was three lengths ahead of third-place finisher Holden the Lute (7-1), the early pacesetter.
The remaining order of finish in the Governor’s Cup was Number One Dude (4th), Sonneman (5th), Presidential (6th) and Kokokomo (7th).
It was the first win in the Governor’s Cup for all the connections. Paluxy was bred in Kentucky by Spendthrift Farm.
It took Paluxy four races to break his maiden in 2021 at Sam Houston Race Park in Texas, followed by two trips to the winner’s circle in allowance company there also. He didn’t win at Lone Star Park, his next destination. Paluxy didn’t win again until then trainer Bret Calhoun dropped him into claiming company at Remington Park for that $25,000 tag. There’s no one happier that he was up for sale in that race than Blue and Gold Racing. They opened their pocketbooks that night and it paid off as Paluxy earned $60,000 Friday night for the victory and improved his lifetime record to 20 starts, seven wins, three seconds and four thirds for $224,244 in his bankroll.
Racing continues Saturday night at 7:07 p.m.-Central with 10 races scheduled.
Remington Park has provided more than $328 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 home to the Grade 3 Oklahoma Derby and the Grade 3 Remington Park Oaks on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023. 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.