TRAINER BOYD CASTER WINS RED EARTH STAKES WITH QUALITY ROCKET, A YEAR AFTER HEARTBREAK WITH SAME HORSE, SAME RACE
Last year, trainer Boyd Caster and owner M. Gerald Ball of Shawnee, Okla., were just about to celebrate their first stakes win together in the Red Earth Stakes when Quality Rocket had a two-length lead in the stretch. They lost by a neck at the wire in heartbreaking fashion.
This year, Quality Rocket was 4-1/4 lengths better than last year, winning by that margin in the $70,000 Red Earth Stakes at 7-1/2 furlongs on the firm turf.
“Gerry (owner) is just the greatest guy in the world; he is fighting cancer,” said Caster. “Winning this race last year would have been his first stakes win ever here, so that was hard. I thought we had the win up until the last 10 yards.”
Quality Rocket sat just off the front-runner, Pacific Typhoon, by a length or so in the early going and then left the rest of the field running for second place as he came down the stretch all by himself for the victory Friday night. Jockey Garrett Steinberg got it done just as he had this summer at Fair Meadows in Tulsa, Okla., winning the $45,000 Route 66 Stakes. That became Ball’s first stakes win and now he has two under his belt.
Caster said Ball could not be here for this victory but his trainer was on the phone to him after he watched the race live on television.
“When I called him, he was screeching; just as happy as anyone could be right now,” said Caster of Ball, whom he has trained for 23 years now. “He told me, ‘I live as large as I can every day now.’ As special as it gets, that guy.”
Quality Rocket, a 6-year-old gelded son of Backstabber, out of the King of Scat mare Lady Cambridge, was sent off as the 7-5 favorite by the betting public and paid $4.80, $2.80 and $2.10 across the board. He caught fractions of :23.69 seconds for the first quarter-mile, :46.72 for the half-mile and 1:10.53 seconds after three-quarters of a mile. He stopped the timer in 1:28.64.
Quality Rocket earned $42,000 from the $70,000 purse and improved his record lifetime to 26 starts, six wins, seven thirds for $199,900 in earnings. Sedaris, a 6-1 outsider got up for second, a head in front of third-place finisher Hallelujah Hit, who was at 3-2 odds. The winner was bred in Oklahoma by the owner and Oteka Ann Ball.
Remington Park racing continues Saturday at 7:07pm and features a special afternoon of racing on Sunday with the first race at 3pm. The Grade 3, $200,000 Oklahoma Derby Day highlights Sunday’s card that has eight stakes races for nearly $700,000 in purses. All times are Central.
Tracked by more than 164,000 fans on Facebook and 10,500 Twitter followers, Remington Park has provided more than $248 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 open daily for casino gaming and simulcast horse racing. The 2020 Thoroughbred Season is scheduled for Aug. 21 through Dec. 20. Visit remingtonpark.com for more information.