RED RIVER WITCH GOES GATE TO WIRE IN OKLAHOMA STALLION FILLIES STAKES FOR JOCKEY DAVID CABRERA, TRAINER ANDY GLADD
It would have been easy for trainer Andy Gladd and Red River Witch’s connections to give up on her after she was beaten by 18 lengths in one maiden race at Remington Park last year and followed that with a race in which she was eased to a walk.
They are glad now that they didn’t. On Friday night, the 3-year-old Oklahoma-bred filly won the $35,600 Oklahoma Stallion Fillies Stakes at seven furlongs, winning for the third time in her last four tries. Her only loss in her last four was a troubled third-place finish at Will Rogers Downs in Claremore, Okla., prior to this race in the $55,000 Cinema Stakes. In that race, she was rank and then jockey Chad Lindsay had to steady her early. Despite that trip, she still ran a good third, beaten only 1-1/2 lengths at the one-mile distance. Turning back to seven furlongs in the Stallion Stakes and handing the reins to four-time riding title winner here, Cabrera, did the trick and put her back on form. She had won three races at Will Rogers Downs before being laid off from May 8 to tonight.
Last year, she didn’t get out of a gallop in four of her five maiden race tries until her final effort, but still left Oklahoma City without a victory. It wasn’t until her first race of 2023 at WRD that she finally won for the first time in her sixth race of her career on March 7 at one mile under jockey Alex Birzer. She also won $7,500 claiming races for non-winners of two and non-winners of three in back-to-back efforts at WRD before stepping up in class to the Cinema Stakes.
“Yes, this was the first time I’ve ridden her in a race,” Cabrera said, “but I’ve gotten on her in the mornings. She’s had some great gallops and I knew she was ready. They started coming at us in the stretch, but I knew we were still loaded and had a lot in the tank.”
He was right about that as Red River Witch held sway to the wire, drawing away to win by 2-1/4 lengths at 8-1 odds. She’s starting to prove she is much more than a winning claimer. Expensive Liaison (8-1) was the runner-up while the 8-5 second favorite, Mamashavnahotflash, checked in third another 1-3/4 lengths back. Red River Witch paid $18 to win, $5.80 to place and $3 to show.
The remaining order of finish was Doudoudouwanadance (beaten-even money favorite), Artistic Vision, Im the Bigger Bear and Tom’s Girl.
She earned $21,360 from the $35,600 purse for owner Scattered Acres (Robert Garrett) of Crescent, Okla.
“Andy and his team do such a great job,” said Garrett, “and it doesn’t hurt to have the best rider at Remington Park on her.”
The winner covered the seven-eighths of a mile in 1:27.41, winning from gate to wire and setting early fractions of :23.10 for the first quarter mile, :46.81 for the half-mile and 1:13.37 for six furlongs over the fast track.
“It was surprising to win on the front end,” said Gladd. “But David told me if she wants to go to the front I’m going to let her. I said, ‘Well, I’ll put it in your hands.’ She’s just like her mother (Foreign Sultress). Both are ornery. Her mother won two stakes at Will Rogers Downs.”
Red River Witch, by Wilburn from the Foreign Policy mare Foreign Sultress, improved her record to 12 starts, four wins and three thirds for $67,978 in earnings. That’s not too shabby for a filly that lost the first four races of her career by almost a 100 lengths combined. She was bred in Oklahoma by her owner. It was the first win for all the connections in this stakes series. The race is for progeny of registered Oklahoma stallions.
Remington Park racing continues Saturday, Sept. 9 with first post time is 7:07 p.m. CDT.
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.