THREE-TIME TURF STAKES WINNER QUALITY ROCKET TRIES TO DEFEND HIS CHAMPIONSHIP IN OKLAHOMA CLASSICS TURF AGAINST TOUGH BUNCH
A solid field of 11 has been drawn for the $130,000 Oklahoma Classics OKC Turf, sponsored by the Choctaw Nation, on Friday, Oct. 15. If the 5-2 morning line favorite Quality Rocket defends his championship, he will have earned it.
Quality Rocket drew the 11-hole, the far outside post for this race at 1-1/16th miles. He also has been challenged strongly by some in this field.
Trainer Boyd “Jobe” Caster, in the past three years, has turned Quality Rocket, a 7-year-old gelding, into a turf monster, winning last year’s Turf and the Red Earth Stakes twice. This son of Backstabber, out of the King of Scat mare Lady Cambridge, has earned $409,006 over his career, winning 11-of-35 starts. The most telling statistic that shows just how Quality Rocket has bloomed as an older horse is that Caster put him into claiming races for a $7,500 tag three times when he was a 4-year-old in 2018 and no one grabbed him. In those three races, he had run second twice and won by 6-3/4 lengths. That win came in only the second time around two turns for Quality Rocket.
Quality Rocket, owned by Jeremy Ball of Shawnee, Okla., won last year’s race for Jeremy’s father Gerald Ball, who has passed away in the meantime. If Quality Rocket could get the job done again this year, it would be the third win in the Turf for Caster. He also won this race in 2012 with Ridge Road with jockey Lindey Wade up. Garrett Steinberg booted home Quality Rocket last year and Ramon Vazquez gets the call for this year’s Turf.
Quality Rocket would have won three Red Earth Stakes races in a row had it not been for a late rush from longshot Timely Reply in 2019 that left him in second, beaten by a neck.
Last year, Quality Rocket held off Half Ours to Keep (4-1) by a head at the wire in the Turf. Half Ours to Keep, a 5-year-old gelded son of Beggarthyneighbor, out of the Purim mare Cusip, is owned by Erin Gaarz of Arlington, Texas, and trained by Karl Broberg. He will be ridden by Stewart Elliott, who is among the top grass riders at Remington every thoroughbred meet. However, Half Ours to Keep is 0-for-10 on the grass with $66,448 banked greensward, but that move last year makes him dangerous. He will break just to Quality Rocket’s inside in post 10.
The third choice in the line at 9-2, Quarky, also has to be given a solid shot in here. He ran second to Quality Rocket in this meet’s Red Earth Stakes, beaten one length and actually was sent off as the 9-5 favorite in that race. This 5-year-old gelding by The Factor, out of the Sahm mare Beyond the Reach, is owned by Jerry Namy of Ft. Worth, Texas and trained by Broberg. He will be ridden by David Cabrera, the three-time defending champion rider here. Cabrera has an easy lead in the jockeys’ standings this meet as well.
Quarky is a four-time winner on the lawn with his most recent win on the grass coming at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Fla., when he won an allowance race there on Dec. 11, 2020. He is the second-most experienced on the turf with 23 starts on that surface. Only Pacific Typhoon (15-1) has more starts greensward with 26, winning eight times. He ran fourth in this race last year, beaten only 1-1/4 lengths.
Another consideration has to be Khola (6-1), a winner of his last two starts on the grass, both times in allowance company. This 4-year-old gelded son of Pollard’s Vision, out of the Election Day (IRE) mare Buena Fortuna (MEX), hails from trainer Kari Craddock’s barn for owner Craddock Racing of Brookings, S.D. He will be ridden by Leandro Goncalves. It will only be his third start against stakes horses. His best finish in a stakes race was fourth in two tries.
Here’s the field from the rail out with horse, jockey, trainer and odds:
Morhawk, Richard Eramia, Karl Broberg, 20-1
Pacific Typhoon, Lane Luzzi, Austin Gustafson, 15-1
Khola, Leandro Goncalves, Kari Craddock, 6-1
Quarky, David Cabrera, Karl Broberg, 9-2
Sweet Medicine, Luis Quinonez, Francisco Bravo, 8-1
Yip Kip, Ezequiel Lara, Lynn Chleborad, 20-1
Gospel Musketeer, Jose Medina, Steve Williams, 30-1
Tommyhawk, Freddy Manrrique, Randy Swango, 10-1
Georgia Deputy, Jose Alvarez, Joe Petalino, 20-1
Half Ours to Keep, Stewart Elliott, Karl Broberg, 4-1
Quality Rocket, Ramon Vazquez, Boyd “Jobe” Caster, 5-2
The Turf is set as the ninth of 10 races on Oklahoma Classics Night, with an approximate start time of 11:05pm. The first race on Oct. 15 goes at 7:07pm. All times are Central.
Tracked by more than 167,000 fans on Facebook and 10,500 Twitter followers, Remington Park has provided more than $275 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 home for the $1,000,000 Oklahoma Classics Night, an evening of stakes racing to celebrate Oklahoma-breds, on Friday, Oct. 15. Simulcast horse racing featured daily, the casino is always open! Visit remingtonpark.com for more information.