OKLAHOMA CITY – When Welder was a yearling, owner Clayton Rash of Claremore, Okla. and his trainer Teri Luneack weren’t sure he would amount to much. They changed their minds in a hurry and winning the $70,000 Remington Park Turf Sprint Stakes on Friday night did nothing but solidify their opinion.

“When he was a yearling, he was a brat!” said Luneack, who hails from Ithaca, Mich.

Rash, the head man of Ra-Max Farms, said despite the yearling’s disposition, he laid down $6,400 in a private sale with Mighty Acres Farm in Pryor, Okla., the same farm that produced arguably the greatest horse to come out of Oklahoma, Eclipse-award winning Kip Deville. The little grey horse turned into Welder, an amazing racehorse, who has returned his owner’s purchase price over and over and over. Welder won $42,000 for winning the stakes, and now has earned $416,151.

Rash owns a welding business and sends welders out all over the world to work on jobs, but he was thrilled that he kept one Welder in Oklahoma on this night, his 5-year-old gelding.

Jockey David Cabrera had a bit of a wide trip into the stretch with Welder, but was never worried about catching a front-running Serengeti. Originally trained by National Horse Racing Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, Serengeti broke his maiden by 11 lengths at Santa Anita in 2017 and then was the 6-5 betting favorite in the Grade 2 $200,000 Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar.

“We did have a wide trip,” said Cabrera, “but he was doing it so easily that I wasn’t concerned. I want to thank the Rashes and Teri Luneack for allowing me to ride such a great horse.”

It was one of four wins on the card for the leading rider as he increased his lead by daylight in the jockey standings. He now has 15 wins for the meet. He is six ahead of Ramon Vazquez and Richard Eramia who are tied in second.

Welder bounded to the win, his 12th of only 20 starts, by a full length over Serengeti and Hunter’s Humor was another 2-½ lengths back in third. Welder covered the five furlongs over a sloppy track in 56.89 seconds in the race for Oklahoma-breds. Consistent, and at times heavy rain, over the past two days at Remington Park forced the race off the turf to the main track.

“The very first time we ran him, it was a night like tonight, wet but colder and he went off 49-1 and lost by a nose,” said Luneack. “We knew he was going to be special then. We haven’t seen 49-1 since.”

Welder went off at 3-5 odds and paid $3.20 to win, $2.40 to place and $2.10 to show across the board.

Luneack, 52, got to Oklahoma from Michigan because her son was working for a man who trained show horses in Oklahoma. Rash brought her to Claremore to run a farm he had bought in Chelsea, Okla. In 2013, Rash told Luneack she should start training his racehorses even though she’d never done anything but train show horses.
“I said, ‘I don’t know.’ He said, ‘Well, I do, and you can do it.’”

In retrospect, she has done an incredible job, turning a $6,400 purchase into a winner of almost half a million dollars. He won the $50,000 Silver Goblin Stakes last year at Remington Park and ran second in the $130,000 Oklahoma Classics Sprint. The Rashes plan on sending him back to the Oklahoma Classics again this year and think they can get a little revenge in the sprint.

Trainer Standings
National Horse Racing Hall of Fame trainer and two-time defending champion at Remington Park, Steve Asmussen, won two races Friday night to move into the lead. He is one win ahead of Karl Broberg, who won the final race of the night Friday. Asmussen sits atop the standings, leading Broberg 11-10.

Big-Money Payoffs
The Pick 5 in races 1 thru 5, a 50-cent wager, produced another huge payout Friday night to go along with all the four-figured bonanzas this meet, returning $1,172.10. That is now 32 times in nine racing days that the payouts on exotic wagers have exceeded the $1,000 mark.

Remington Park racing continues Saturday, Sept. 8 with a nine-race program underway at 7pm-Central.

Tracked by more than 144,000 fans on Facebook and more than 9,600 Twitter followers, Remington Park has provided more than $200 Million to the State of Oklahoma general education fund since the opening of the casino in 2005. Remington Park is home to the Grade 3 Oklahoma Derby and the Grade 3 Remington Park Oaks on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018. Oklahoma City’s only Racetrack & Casino, Remington Park is located at the junction of Interstates 35 & 44, Remington Park is in the heart of the Oklahoma City Adventure District. For more information, reservations and group bookings please call 405-424-1000, 866-456-9880 or visit remingtonpark.com.