SHOTT GUN UNLOADS BOTH BARRELS TO PULL UPSET IN GRADE 1 HERITAGE PLACE FUTURITY
Not many gave Shott Gun much of a chance going into the Grade 1, $826,260 Heritage Place Futurity to close out the Remington Park season Saturday night. His trainer Heath Taylor felt differently, believing his charge was sitting on the race of a lifetime.
Shott Gun, a gray 2-year-old gelded son of Valiant Hero had looked pretty green in his first maiden race, bolting out after breaking from the gate and running second. Despite being only .07 seconds slower than heavy betting favorite Aint She Tempting in the Heritage Place qualifying trials, and after winning his trial and improving, Shott Gun was still sent off at 17-1 odds in the lucrative final.
“These horses of (owner) Bobby (Cox’s) are paid up into about eight different futurities,” said Taylor. “I made a decision, which is probably my fault, but it turned out well. I didn’t run those horses in a schooling race. Shott Gun was right outside of Instygator in that maiden race and when Instygator broke phenomenal, it scared him. He stepped away from the horse and still ran a decent race to get second. That was really, truly the horse’s schooling race.”
Jockey Rodrigo Vallejo was only 1-for-21 at Remington Park this season, but when the money is on the line, he is money. He also had a good feeling about Shott Gun’s chances before the race.
“The horse was very-focused warming up,” Vallejo said through Taylor who translated. “He was very loose and relaxed. Very confident. In the gates he was really, really good. Didn’t leave in front but every time he hit the ground he got faster and faster. Really took off the last 100 yards.”
Shott Gunn earned $347,029 for Cox and sent all the connections home happy, hitting the wire in 17.349 seconds over the fast track for the 350 yards, and a 95 speed index. His effort was just two-tenths of a second off the stakes record of :17.141, set in 2018 by Sunnysyde. Shott Gun paid $37, $11 and $5.60 across the board. Aint She Tempting (3-5 odds) was a head back in second and Instygator finished third, another neck back of the runner-up.
“It’s been a tough road back,” said Taylor, who was suspended from racing for seven years from 2012-2019. “Those other two horses (Aint She Tempting and Instygator) really looked formidable. They looked as good as any 2-year-olds I’ve seen around the country. Shott Gun just kept peaking between the trials and the finals. I told several people he was sitting on the race of a lifetime.”
It was the third time Taylor had won the Heritage Place Futurity, also scoring in 2008 with Stolis Winner and in 2006 with First Carolina.
Shott Gun also kept trainer Monty Arrossa from sweeping the three biggest stakes on the card, the final three. He had won the Grade 2, $232,000 Heritage Place Derby in race 10, and then the Grade 1, $211,600 Debbie Schauf Remington Park Championship in race 11 before getting beat a head in the futurity.
“I’m proud of my filly (Aint She Tempting),” Arrossa said. “It’s hard to be disappointed when you’ve had a night like we had, but I was somewhat disappointed with second. She got bumped a little at the start, but she still ran huge. We will go to Los Alamitos with this filly. She’s paid up in the Golden State and the Los Al $2 Million.”
Taylor said Shott Gun will likely head to Ruidoso Downs, N.M. for the Rainbow Futurity trials and then the All American trials.
“I told Bobby (Cox) the whole goal for these horses is to peak in the finals, not in schooling races, maiden races or trials, and that’s what Shott Gun did,” Taylor said.
Shott Gun was bred in Texas by owner Bobby Cox.
Tracked by more than 163,000 fans on Facebook and more than 10,400 Twitter followers, Remington Park has provided more than $242 Million to the State of Oklahoma general education fund since the opening of the casino in 2005. Remington Park is located at the junction of Interstates 35 & 44, in the heart of the Oklahoma City Adventure District.