Smithworks was the fastest qualifier in Saturday trials for the Grade 1, $230,475 Speedhorse Graham Futurity, out of trainer Matt Whitekiller’s barn. Whitekiller had success in placing multiple runners into the May 29 race for Paints and Appaloosas, as did trainer Dee Keener, who also retook the lead in all-time Paint wins for a conditioner.

Whitekiller began the day as the leading all-time Paint trainer in wins with 331 to Keener’s 330, but Keener’s horses won three trials Saturday, while Smithworks was Whitekiller’s only winner. Keener qualified five of the top 10 horses to the finals, while Whitekiller had two. Keener finished with the second, fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth fastest qualifiers (PFR Snowpike, Carole Baskin, RF Livies Livewire, WF Heart Throb and Capo Cabana). Whitekiller’s other qualifier was Getrekt by Vito in seventh. That left the current overall career wins leader in Keener’s court with 333-332.

Smithworks was sent off as the even-money favorite in trial two of the five on the day and he stopped the timer in :17.952 over a fast track into an 11 mph headwind. Interestingly, the second fastest qualifier, PFR Snowpike ran :18.040 into a stiffer breeze, an 18 mph headwind. Smithworks earned a 78 speed index to PFR Snowpike’s 76 for the 350-yard races.

Under veteran jockey Cody Smith, Smithworks broke sharply on top in his trial and pushed forward to a 1-1/2 length victory. Smithworks is the Paint that was such a big foal when he was born that his mother didn’t survive. There were worries that he might not live, let alone race. He didn’t take to his surrogate mother right away, but when he finally started to drink milk, he not only lived, but has become one of the fastest Paint horses in racing.

In his career debut, Smithworks won his Oklahoma Paint & Appaloosa Futurity trial and was the fastest qualifier March 7 before winning that $196,100 final on March 20. He faltered somewhat in the subsequent trials and finals of the $159,500 American Paint Classic, running second in the trials to RF Livies Livewire and then fifth to that horse in the finals. Smithworks finished with a much stronger time Saturday in these trials, so the finals will truly be the rubber match with these two.

Smithworks is a 2-year-old Paint by multiple World Champion Painted Turnpike, out of the Mighty Invictus (QH) late mare Shesa Mighty Chick. He earned $3,438 for owner Bryan Hawk of Shawnee, Okla. Smithworks improved his record to five starts, three wins and one second for a career bankroll of $92,134.

The finals are scheduled for the final evening of the season, Saturday, May 29, billed as the “Night of Champions” as the card is chock filled with stakes races, boasting total purses of more than $2 million.

Here are the 10 qualifiers for the finals (with jockey, trainer, times, speed index and trial number):
1) Smithworks, Cody Smith, Matt Whitekiller, :17.952, 78, trial two
2) PFR Snowpike, Benito Baca, Dee Keener, :18.040, 76, trial five
3) RP Reckless Wire, Cody Wainscott, Ray Enlow, :18.161, 72, trial four
4) Carole Baskin, Rolando Raudales, Dee Keener, :18.165; 72, trial one
5) RF Livies Livewire, Juan Pulido, Dee Keener, :18.180, 72, trial three
6) WF Heart Throb, Benito Baca, Dee Keener, :18.182, 71, trial four
7) Getrekt by Vito, Cody Smith, Matt Whitekiller, :18.190; 71, trial one
8) Capo Cabana, Rolando Raudales, Dee Keener, :18.195, 71, trial five
9) De Quick Capo, Justine Klaiber, Eddie Willis, :18.202, 71, trial two
10) Shez Wired Up, Juan Pulido, Troy Carter, :18.203, 71, trial four

Racing continues on Sunday, May 16 with a regular post time of 6 p.m. Central. A total of 10 races are scheduled.

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