The 2021 Remington Park racing season opens with a program of trial events for big-money stakes races. The 49-date American Quarter Horse, Paint and Appaloosa Season begins at 6pm on Sunday, March 7.

The opening seven races on the card are trials for the Grade 3 Oklahoma Derby while the final six events are trials for the Grade 1 Oklahoma Paint & Appaloosa Futurity. A total of 123 horses entered the 13 races for Opening Night, good for field size of 9.5 horses per race.

The meet starts off with a bang in the first Derby trial as the undefeated Leading Cartel, top earner in the field at $161,911 in only three starts, takes on a couple of other stakes winners. Leading Cartel won the $334,000 Mountaintop Futurity at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico last June for his third victory in a row to open his career. The 3-year-old gelded son of Big Daddy Cartel, out of the Special Leader mare Leading Diva, has not raced since that win on June 20. It will have been 260 days since this horse has run in an official race. He does, however, have a couple of bullet workouts to get ready for his return.

Leading Cartel is owned by Reliance Ranches in Guthrie, Okla., and is trained by Mike Robbins. Two-time All American Futurity-winning jockey Esgar Ramirez has been named to ride. He has been aboard for this gelding’s last two wins, in the trials and then in the Mountaintop finals. His first win came on May 1 last year at Remington Park in a maiden race. Leading Cartel was bred by MJ Farms in New Mexico.

Leading Cartel’s top rivals in this first trial may be a stakes winner from Indiana Grand, Heza Fast Kisser, who won the $81,000 Leader of the Class Stakes in his last start on Sept. 15 last fall. This colt is by Kiss My Hocks, out of the First Smart Money mare First Smart Stride. He was bred in Indiana by Mark Michel. His only other win was in a maiden race with Indiana-breds at Indiana Grand. His only race at Remington Park was a fifth-place finish against maidens last spring. Jockey Francisco Raul Ramirez, Jr., has been tabbed by trainer Ricardo Martinez to ride for owner Abraham Favela of Hammond, Ind.

Another that has to be considered in the initial race of the meet is BPmysoutherndynasty, out of trainer Dee Keener’s barn. This 3-year-old gelded son of FDD Dynasty, from the Southern Cartel mare BP Southern Mariah, qualified for the most prestigious race on the books each year at Remington Park – the Heritage Place Futurity – but could do no better than sixth place in the $826,000 finals in 2020. Still, he is the second highest earner in the field with $95,662 in the bank. He was a stakes winner at Fair Meadows in Tulsa on July 25 last summer, winning easily by 1-1/2 lengths as the 1-2 favorite in the Cherokee Stakes. Rolando Raudales will ride for owner Elizabeth Logan of Haskell, Okla. BPmysoutherndynasty was bred in Oklahoma by Bill Price.

Other prominent runners in the Derby trials include Facing the Fire in the fifth race and Relentlessly in the seventh.

Facing the Fire is owned and trained by Eddie Willis of Caney, Okla. Willis will be shooting for his unprecedented 12th training title at Remington Park. He broke a tie with the late Rodney Reed when he won his 11th title last year. Willis conditioned Facing the Fire to a three-race win streak last year that included multiple stakes wins at Remington Park. This gelded son of Valiant Hero, out of the Walk Thru Fire mare DM Sashay N Fire. He won the $100,000 Remington Park Juvenile Stakes on April 18 at 22-1 odds. He came back with a victory in the $45,000 Easy Jet Stakes on May 30 at 6-1 and then the third consecutive win was in the Oklahoma Horsemen’s Association Futurity trials at Will Rogers Downs in Claremore on Sept. 12. He broke badly in the finals and finished eighth at WRD as the 7-5 favorite. Regular rider Jimmy Brooks was in the saddle for all three wins and will be given a leg up again by Willis for this trial.

Facing the Fire is the second-highest earner in the field for Oklahoma Derby trial five with $80,962 and was bred in Oklahoma by Alona James. He will be given a run for the money by the top earner and the horse just to his outside, Card One Starter, conditioned by Edelmiro Carrizales for owner Jose E. Guzman. Guzman won the title for top owner last year at Remington Park, his first trophy in that category. Juan Pulido gets the call for this gelding that has won half of his career starts. He is four-for-eight with earnings of $82,441.

Card One Starter is by Docs Best Card, out of the Tempting Dash mare Stable Dancer and was bred in Oklahoma by the owner. None of his four wins have been in a stakes race, but he was less than a length from winning in two stakes efforts. He was the even-money favorite in the $221,000 Texas Quarter Horse Association Futurity finals on Aug. 29 at Retama Park in San Antonio, losing by three-quarters of a length. He also went off at 17-1 odds in the $151,000 Old South Futurity at Delta Downs in Louisiana, only to lose by a neck.

This fifth race, and trial, could be quite a battle to the wire, but you can’t count out Apollitical Redflash from trainer Clint Crawford’s barn and possibly LR Tempting Beast, who drew the outside post. Apollitical Redflash qualified for the $1 million Ruidoso Futurity last year, winning his trial by an impressive 2-1/2 lengths, but lunged at the start in the finals, never having a chance after that, finishing ninth. He also ran fifth in the $200,000 All American Juvenile Stakes, losing to multiple stakes-winning Eye Work For You. This son of Apollitical Jess, out of the Chicks Beduino Jr mare Chalala. He was bred in California by Rancho El Cabresto Inc. Apollitical Redflash will be ridden by Francisco Calderon, who has won more than 20 graded stakes in his career.

LR Tempting Beast is a bit of an unknown quantity in that he’s raced against lesser company at smaller tracks, but he has never finished worse than second in four starts and is a neck and a head away from being undefeated. His biggest win came in the $55,000 Mile High Futurity at Arapahoe Park just outside Denver and he broke his maiden at Fair Meadows in Tulsa, Okla. This colt by Tempting Dash, out of the Streakin Sixes mare Racing Streak, is owned by Jaime Martinez, trained by Miguel Pena and will be ridden by Raul Herrera. He was bred in Oklahoma by Levings Racing.

Remington Park’s opening three race dates will continue on Monday and Tuesday, March 8-9. After the first three dates, the regular weekly schedule of Thursday through Sunday racing will commence.

Tracked by more than 164,000 fans on Facebook and 10,400 Twitter followers, Remington Park has provided more than $258 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. Live racing returns with the start of the 2021 American Quarter Horse, Paint and Appaloosa Season on March 7. Visit for more information.