Most folks around Remington Park were unaware of jockey Ali Rivera before this meet started, but he is burning his name into their memories now, winning the feature race on Friday night.

Rivera spent all his time last year during the spring, racing at Sam Houston Race Park in Texas. He and trainer John Stinebaugh combined for the featured allowance win at Remington on Friday with Jess a Salty Candy, who broke through for the second win of that gelding’s career.

Rivera won five stakes races last year at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, four of those for Stinebaugh. The other was for trainer James “JJ” Gonzalez III. He is on a roll at Remington Park and may have found a new home for his spring venue. The win aboard Jess a Salty Candy was his second of the night for Stinebaugh and his two trips to the winner’s circle put Rivera into a tie atop the jockeys’ standings after six days of racing with five victories. He is tied with reigning American Quarter Horse Association Jockey of the Year, Francisco Calderon. Four other jockeys are tied for second with four wins – Ricky Ramirez, Roman Cruz, L. Salvador Martinez and Gonzalo Gutierrez.

Rivera was the second-leading rider in the country last year for Quarter Horse wins, according to Equibase statistics. He tied with last year’s Remington Park top jockey Edwin Escobedo at 110 wins. They were both four wins back of Ubaldo Luna’s 114. Rivera slowly but surely has made his way to his level of success. His first official year of riding came in 2019 when he won 1-of-13 starts. Last year, he was 110-of-572. It was also the first year he passed the $2 million mark for horses’ earnings. His mounts chalked up $2,159,683, compared to $7,637 in 2019.

Stinebaugh is nothing to sneeze at either. He has sent out horses 7,203 times in his career, winning 1,020, running second 983 times and third another 931 times for lifetime earnings recorded of $22,767,190. Among his biggest winners were Double Down Special ($1,211,934), who won the Grade 1 All American Derby, and Jess Savin Candy ($1,061,560), winner of the Grade 1 Rainbow Futurity, both at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico.

Although he is far from it so far, Jess a Salty Candy, a 3-year-old gelded son of Jess Good Candy, out of the Pyc Paint Your Wagon mare This Candys Salty, looked a lot like his sire (daddy) on this night, winning by a neck as the 2-1 favorite. Jess Good Candy won eight-of-eight, including the Grade 1 All American Futurity for a little more than $2 million in earnings before retiring. His offspring, Jess a Salty Candy, earned $16,359 from the $28,275 allowance purse for owners Stacy Barr and Carol Addison of Ruidoso. His updated record is eight starts, two wins, one second and one third, doubling his earnings in one night to $32,699.

Jess a Salty Candy stopped the timer for 350 yards in 17.587 seconds for a speed index of 92 into a slight head wind. He was bred in Oklahoma by Quarter Horse Farms. He paid $6.60 to win, $3.20 to place and $2.80 to show across the board. Miracles Happen (6-1) was the near-winner runner-up, losing by that neck and finishing one length in front of third-place finisher BV Trust in You (5-1).

Live racing resumes Saturday night with a 6 p.m. first post with four stakes races on tap for the 12-race card. Among those four stakes races are the SLM Big Daddy and the Mighty Deck Three which were postponed last Sunday due to technical difficulties. First post time on Sunday is 4 p.m.

Remington Park has provided more than $345 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 presents simulcast racing daily and non-stop casino gaming. The 83rd edition of the historic Oklahoma Futurity, first contested in 1947, will be run Saturday, March 23. The American Quarter Horse, Paint and Appaloosa Season continues through June 1. Parking and admission are always free. Must be 18 or older to wager on horse racing or enter the casino gaming floor. Visit for more information.