Smithworks has had quite the roller coaster ride as a 2-year-old colt, almost dying at birth, losing his mother, then going on to win the richest race in Paint and Appaloosa history on Saturday night at Remington Park.

He won the Grade 1, $294,075 Speedhorse Graham Paint & Appaloosa Futurity for owner Bryan Hawk of Shawnee, Okla., trainer Matt Whitekiller and jockey Cody Smith at 350 yards. It was the fifth win of this race for both Whitekiller and Smith, both tops in this stakes race. Whitekiller and Smith won in 2019 with DTL Chasin Tale, Bully Pulpit (2017), Painted Turnpike (2015) and I Kick (2009).

Smithworks lost his mom when he was born, didn’t take to his surrogate mother for feeding purposes and Whitekiller had his doubts whether he would become a runner of any kind at all. Once he realized he would indeed make it to the track, he sold him to Hawk and the magic immediately began.

“I guess I should have kept him (as an owner),” Whitekiller, also the breeder, said with a laugh. “No, I’m very happy for Bryan. Smithwork’s desire to live was amazing. Most of them don’t live like that. It was a God thing.”

This 2-year-old colt by multiple Paint World Champion Painted Turnpike, out of the Mighty Invictus (QH) late mare Shesa Mighty Chick, earned $112,848 for the win, more than doubling his lifetime earnings. His record improved to six starts, four wins, and one second for $204,982 in his bankroll.

After surviving his tough birth, Smithworks grew like a weed and when he stepped onto the racetrack, he won the $198,100 Oklahoma Paint & Appaloosa Futurity on March 20.

RF Livies Livewire then beat Smithworks in the $164,200 American Paint Classic Futurity on April 24 and they were meeting one more time in their breed’s richest race ever.

“He wasn’t right (in the American Paint Classic),” said Whitekiller, who moved into a tie with Dee Keener as the all-time winningest Paint trainer with 334 victories each. “He didn’t act sick, but he wasn’t himself.”

Smithworks ran fifth in the American Paint Classic but got his revenge Saturday, winning this race by a head while the best the 2-1 wagering favorite in the race, RF Livies Livewire, could do was run ninth of 10 competitors. He got away poorly and never made up any ground. Smithworks (5-2) won by a head over 28-1 longshot Capo Cabana, who was another half-length in front of third-place finisher RP Reckless Wire (8-1).

Smith rode Smithworks perfectly, breaking first from the gate and holding on stubbornly, stopping the timer in :17.684, good for an 86 speed index.

“It couldn’t have been a better trip,” said Smith. “I couldn’t have paid for a better trip.”

The winner paid $7, $4.80 and $3.80 across the board to win, place and show. Smithworks was nursed back to health by former jockey Debbie Freeman, veterinarians and her crew in Sallisaw, Okla.

The final racing program of the 2021 American Quarter Horse, Paint and Appaloosa Season at Remington Park takes place on Sunday, May 30. The first race is at 1:30pm-Central.

Tracked by more than 167,000 fans on Facebook and 10,400 Twitter followers, Remington Park has provided more than $261 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 features live and simulcast horse racing, and the casino is always open! Visit for more information.