REIGNING WORLD CHAMPION DANJER, MAKES HIS 2022 DEBUT IN LEO STAKES AT REMINGTON PARK
A field of 11 horses boasting career earnings in excess of $5 million will line up Saturday night in the $100,000 Leo Stakes that features last year’s American Quarter Horse Association World Champion, Danjer.
A total of $5,175,117 has been earned on the racetrack by the 11 Quarter Horses entered in one of the toughest races Remington Park has ever hosted. The Leo is for 3-year-olds-and-older, will roll at 400 yards.
Danjer is bred and trained by Dean Frey and owned by Downtime Enterprises (Patrick Guthrie), and Billy G. Smith of Rancho Mirage, Calif., in conjunction with Frey. Danjer is the top money earner in the field at $1,503,885, but not far behind him is Instygator at $1,450,239. This Leo Stakes field is loaded with multiple stakes winners and horses that have made a name for themselves on the national level.
Danjer, a 6-year-old gelded son of FDD Dynasty, out of the Take Off Jess mare Shez Jess Toxic, has been made the 9-5 morning-line favorite for Saturday night’s Leo Stakes. He won five stakes races from seven starts in 2021, at five different tracks. He took down the Debbie Schauf Remington Park Championship, followed by the Championship Challenge at Canterbury in Minnesota; the All American Gold Cup at Ruidoso Downs and the Challenge Championship at the Downs at Albuquerque, both in New Mexico, and finished the year with a victory in the Refrigerator Stakes at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas. He was bred in Oklahoma. Danjer’s record now is 26 starts, 15 wins, six seconds and three thirds.
Danjer’s regular jockey, Cody Smith, will not ride him in the Leo Stakes. Francisco Calderon gets the call instead. Smith is, however, named to ride one horse on Saturday night, the favorite, Livewires Turnpike, in the $153,000 American Paint Classic Futurity, the race before the Leo.
Smith is attempting to return from an ankle injury he incurred on April 10. That evening, jockey Jorge Torres was transported to the hospital when one of his horses fell in an early race on the card. Smith picked up one of Torres’ mounts later on that program and won with Ms Kiddy. Oddly enough, two races later, Smith was injured when El Grande Papi reared in the gate, banging the top-three rider at the time, against the unforgiving apparatus. Smith broke a bone in his left ankle and tried to come back the next Thursday, April 14. He rode one race, but was scratched for the rest of the card. The following Monday, he had surgery to have a pin inserted in his ankle.
The rest of the monsters lined up to try to take down Danjer in the Leo includes a power pair from trainer Michelle Hurdle’s barn. She will send out multiple stakes winners Charlies Fury and Jess My Hocks, the defending champion of the Leo Stakes, one of only two horses that actually beat Danjer last year. In the past two years, Jess My Hocks has won the Leo last year, the Derby Challenge at Will Rogers Down in Claremore, Okla., in 2020; the Challenge Derby Championship at the Downs at Albuquerque, also 2020; and the Bank of America Challenge at Remington Park on April 3 of this year. His stablemate and half-brother, Charlies Fury, is a five-time stakes winner in his career. The 6-year-old gelded son of Furyofthewind, out of the Take Off Jess mare Jess Charlena, has been established at 12-1 odds in the morning line while Jess My Hocks is the defending champion and sits at 10-1 in the odds.
Tom and Kathleen McNally of Guthrie, Okla., own both Charlies Fury and Jess My Hocks. The McNallys bred both in Oklahoma. Jess My Hocks’ record is 18-9-0-4 with earnings of $338,876. Charlie’s is 27-11-7-5 for $405,801. Mario Delgado will get a leg up on Jess My Hocks from Hurdle while Agustin Silva stays with Charlies Fury for this race. He has ridden both in the past.
The second morning-line favorite in the Leo, at 2-1 odds, is Instygator. The 4-year-old gelding by Ivory James, out of the Mr Eye Opener mare Eye Popping, will be sent out by leading trainer Santos Carrizales, Jr.
Among Instygator’s big scores are a win in the All American Derby at Ruidoso Downs as a 3-year-old last year. He races for owners Barboza Racing (Francisco Barboza) of Seagoville, Texas. Instygator’s record is 12-8-3-1. This gelding has won three races in a row, a streak that might be five in a row if not for Relentlessly breaking it up when he won the Heritage Place Derby at Remington Park in 2021, with Instygator finishing second.
Relentlessly is the third morning-line favorite in the Leo at 5-1 odds. Relentlessly is owned by Aguila Negra Racing (Jose Huerta) of Fairview Heights, Ill., and trained by Huerta. He was bred in Texas by Randy or Sandy Coleman. His racing record is 14-8-3-1, $340,400. He is a 4-year-old horse by Hes Relentless, out of the Carters Cartel mare Runaway Renata.
The field of 11 looks like this with post position, horse, odds, jockey and trainer:
BP Primetime, 50-1, Roman Cruz, Buddy Clay
Instygator, 2-1, Juan Pulido, Santos Carrizales, Jr.
Charlies Fury, 12-1, Agustin Silva, Michelle Hurdle
Apollitical Redflash, 20-1, Jorge Torres, Clint Crawford
Hooked On a Win, 30-1, Cristian Esqueda, Jerry Livingston
Danjer, 9-5, Francisco Calderon, Dean Frey
Famous Chief, 30-1, Bryan Candanosa, Duke Shults
Jess My Hocks, 10-1, Mario Delgado, Michelle Hurdle
Giant Courage, 50-1, Ricky Ramirez, Felesha Gold
Jettz, 12-1, James Flores, Juan Vazquez
Relentlessly, 5-1, Raul Valenzuela, Jose Huerta
The Leo Stakes is named in honor of one of Quarter Horse racing’s foundation sires. Leo, an AQHA Hall of Fame member, stood the bulk of his long stallion career in Perry, Okla., where a life-size statue commemorates him to this day. Leo was owned for the final decades of his life by Bud Warren.
Live racing continues this week with a Thursday–Sunday schedule. First post time Thursday, Friday and Saturday is 6 p.m. Sunday racing starts at 4 p.m.
Tracked by more than 168,000 fans on Facebook and 10,600 Twitter followers, Remington Park has provided more than $288 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 will feature the $1,000,000 Heritage Place Futurity and the $250,000 Debbie Schauf Remington Park Championship on May 28. Simulcast horse racing is featured daily at Remington Park where the casino is always open! Visit remingtonpark.com for more information.