WELDER ADDS TO HIS MILLIONAIRE BANKROLL WITH HARD-EARNED VICTORY IN HIS FIRST/LAST TRY ON GRASS IN $70,000 REMINGTON PARK TURF SPRINT
Welder was supposed to win the $70,000 Remington Park Turf Sprint Stakes on Friday; he was the prohibitive 3-5 betting favorite.
What he wasn’t supposed to do was give his owner and trainer simultaneous heart attacks. At the wire, he just got up in the five-furlongs sprint on the grass, by a neck in his career debut on a turf course.
“I was reaching for my nitroglycerin pills,” said owner Clayton Rash of Ra-Max Farms of Claremore, Okla. “Yes, when I wake up every morning I feel blessed to have this horse.”
Trainer Teri Luneack reiterated her owner’s thoughts watching the stretch drive.
“Someone said when they were in the stretch, ‘Well, Welder looks like he’s going to lose, he’s done. Oh wait, he wins! That is a cool little horse,’” Luneack said. “It was way too scary. I tell you, we are through with the grass for him.”
Her rider, leading jockey David Cabrera, believes that is the right thing to do.
“You know, every time I’ve won on him, I’ve just been a passenger,” he said. “Tonight, every move he made to stay in it, I had to make him do. He did not like the grass at all. Felt like he couldn’t get his footing.”
But win he did as he had done 22 other times in his career, it took team Welder out of their panic mode. Welder beat caught Shannon C in the final stride for victory. The hard-fighting Shannon C has run second to Welder four times now. He is to Welder what Sham was to Secretariat, and Alydar was to Affirmed. Shannon C went off at 9-5 odds and finished a half-length in front of third-place finisher No Lak of Speed (9-1) in a three-horse blanket finish.
Welder, a 7-year-old gelded son of The Visualiser, out of the Tiznow mare Dance Softly, danced his way into the winner’s circle for the 23rd time in his career in 35 starts. He earned $42,000 for the win to boost his lifetime wallet to $1,059,018. That’s an easy pill to swallow for an owner when he was purchased for $6,500 as a yearling.
This defending two-time Oklahoma Horse of the Year and two-time Remington Park Horse of the Meeting, won for the 10th time in his last 11 starts at Remington Park. In his career in Oklahoma City, he has won 12-of-17 for earnings of $699,859. His 12 wins at this track are now only three short of the all-time most at Remington Park, held by Highland Ice and Elegant Exxactsy at 15 victories here.
Asked how long Welder would run, Rash said, “I let Teri make all those decisions and I trust her. As long as he stays healthy, I’m sure she will let him run, but as soon as he doesn’t want to run, he has a home for the rest of his life on the farm. He deserves it.”
Welder paid $3.20 to win, $2.10 to place and $2.10 to show. He sat just off the pace in fourth in the field of seven horses early on, moving up to third and then second and hovering in place for what seemed a lifetime before getting up by the neck. He chased fractions of :21.08 seconds for the first quarter-mile, :43.44 for the half-mile and completed the race for Oklahoma-bred in :55.53 seconds on the firm going.
“That last 70 yards was all heart, all by the horse,” said Cabrera.
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.