TRAINER MONTY ARROSSA, JOCKEY FRANCISCO CALDERON, PROXIMITY COMBINE TALENTS WINNING SECOND OKLAHOMA DERBY IN ROW
Proximity had never won a race in her life, but that didn’t mean jockey Francisco Calderon had lost faith in her going into the Grade 3, $234,860 Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park on Saturday night.
Proximity busted her tail for 350 yards and when all was said and done, this 3-year-old filly by Moonin the Eagle, out of the FDD Dynasty mare Conspicuous Dynasty, was a maiden no more. She outlasted the 5-2 betting favorite, Lawless Wallace, by a neck with a time of :17.303 on a fast track, earning a speed index of 101. Not too shabby for a maiden.
“She had worked good and I had been confident all along with her,” said Calderon. “We got going and I knew she wasn’t going to prove me wrong.”
That kind of trust in the filly was contagious in the barn as trainer Monty Arrossa’s assistant, Jed Vane, said it caused him to jump on board.
“It gave me confidence that Calderon had so much confidence in her,” said Vane. “I think she’s going to stay here and go for the Remington Park Oaks and/or the Heritage Place Oaks.”
The victory was Calderon’s third of the night and the second consecutive time he and Arrossa had won this race. They won last year with All Pointz Bulletin for Dunn Ranch. This year they won for owner Dennis Dreier of Farmington, Mo., his first win in the Derby.
Proximity was 0-for-7 lifetime until Saturday night, but it wasn’t like she hadn’t come close against some classy American Quarter Horses. She was beaten only a neck by Lawless Wallace in the fastest Oklahoma Derby trial on March 12. She was only a nose behind Tres Crystals in that trial, a horse that won the $1.1 million Heritage Place Futurity last year and an earner of more than $660,000. Proximity was bred in Oklahoma by Ron and Melany Shalz.
On Saturday night, the luck was finally in her favor. Tres Crystals missed the break at the gate and was well behind for the majority of the race. Lawless Wallace and Proximity hooked up in the same stretch battle they enjoyed in the trials, but this time, it was Proximity who prevailed. She went off at 12-1 odds and paid $27.60 to win, $10.60 to place and $8.60 to show while Lawless Wallace was another neck in front of third-place finisher AP Scout (9-2 odds). Tres Crystals closed the race strongly but couldn’t make up enough ground to do better than seventh.
The winner took home $93,944 from the purse and improved her record to eight starts, one win, one second and two thirds for total earnings of $109,554. Her record is far more impressive than it might first appear. Proximity also lost by a neck in last year’s $100,000 Heritage Place Juvenile Stakes, running third.
The 2023 Remington Park American Quarter Horse, Paint and Appaloosa Season continues Sunday with 11 races scheduled. Post time is 4 p.m.
Tracked by more than 172,000 fans on Facebook and 10,700 Twitter followers, Remington Park has provided more than $316 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 the 2023 American Quarter Horse, Paint and Appaloosa season through June 3. Remington Park presents simulcast racing daily and non-stop casino gaming. Visit remingtonpark.com for more information.