WELDER IS THE NEW WIN KING AT REMINGTON PARK, SCORING HIS 16TH CAREER VICTORY IN OKLAHOMA CITY
The screams from the crowd and Welder’s connections reverberated throughout Remington Park as the Oklahoma-bred gelding charged down the stretch Friday on his way to making local racing history.
More than 25,000 horses have raced here since the track opened and before tonight, no horse had ever won 16 races. Welder has now ascended to that throne and it could be a crown he wears for a while. The last time a horse other than Welder won for the 15th time was Highland Ice on Feb. 4, 2000. Welder was tied with Highland Ice and Elegant Exxactsy at 15 wins, until Friday.
Welder, an 8-year-old gelded son of The Visualiser, out of the Tiznow mare Dance Softly, broke out of the gate like a rocket and when he disposed of Gold Speed Go at the top of the stretch, jockey David Cabrera looked back between his legs twice to see if anyone was coming. He was that confident that the record was going to fall. In fact, as Cabrera left the paddock with Welder, he pointed at a fan, winked and said, “We’re going to do it.”
The 6-5 post-time favorite from Steve Asmussen’s barn, Nitrous, made a late run but he never got closer than 1-3/4 lengths, the final margin. It was the fifth win in a row for Welder at Remington Park.
No one looked happier than trainer Teri Luneack who stood on the edge of the track, applauding with hands held high over her head for the millionaire racehorse that she has conditioned to historic heights. She had waited for this moment for more than eight months since he won here in December.
“This is a huge monkey off my back,” she said after the race. “I really wanted to set this record for Clayton (Rash, owner of Ra-Max Farms in Claremore, Okla.) and Toni (Clayton’s wife) and Welder. I’m just glad it’s over.”
Welder now adds the accolade of all-time winningest horse at Remington to a list as long as his number of wins, 27 in his career. He also owns these achievements:
Only thoroughbred in Oklahoma horse racing history to win All-Breeds Oklahoma Horse of the Year three years in a row. He has won the past three, a reward from Thoroughbred Racing Association of Oklahoma, presented by the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission.
Was voted Horse of the Meet at Remington Park for a third year in a row (2018-2020). No other thoroughbred has won that award more than once. Welder has swept all four Champion categories he’s been in those three years – Horse of the Meet, Okie-bred, Sprinter and Older Male.
Only horse in Remington Park history to win four stakes races in one season (2018)
Set track record for six furlongs in 1:08.13, winning the David M. Vance Stakes on Sept. 29, 2019.
Eleven consecutive stakes wins at Remington Park, a record that is still live. Those 11 stakes wins is also a record for overall stakes wins here. Okie Ride had 10. Welder has won four Silver Goblins, three Oklahoma Classics Sprints, two David M. Vance Stakes, and two Remington Park Turf Sprints (one was taken off the grass and run on a sloppy track).
Where does this record fit for Luneack, who took a minute to do some campaigning.
“I think it would fit right in there with four Horse of the Meets in a row,” she said with a laugh.
Rash had tears in his eyes as he described how much this horse has meant to him. He purchased him for $6,750 as a yearling from Mighty Acres Ranch in Pryor, Okla. Welder earned $27,329 from the purse of the six-furlongs allowance race that carried a value of $42,831.
“Teri and I both liked Welder from the moment we picked him out,” said Rash. “I told her on the way back to the barn (after buying him), ‘We’re going to name this one Welder.’ He was special from his first win.”
Welder ran his record to 42 starts, 27 wins, five seconds and six thirds for $1,246,231 earned. He is one of only eight Oklahoma-breds to have earned more than $1 million in their careers. That list is led by Kip Deville at $3,325,489, followed by 1986 national Horse of the Year Lady’s Secret at $3,021,325; Shotgun Kowboy, $1,548,684; Clever Trevor, $1,388,841; Welder; She’s All In, $1,102,489; Mr. Ross, $1,091,046, and Silver Goblin, $1,083,895.
Despite all the awards, honors and his legendary status at Remington Park, Welder still was not made the favorite in Friday’s race. He went off at 8-5 odds. It was the first time he was not sent off as the favorite at Remington Park since he won the David M. Vance Stakes on Sept. 30, 2018 when he was 7-2. It was somewhat understandable, however, with Welder not winning in three tries in 2021 and facing Nitrous, a horse that had won the $125,000 Thanksgiving Classic at Fair Grounds in New Orleans last November, lost by only a head in the Grade 3, $200,000 Frank DeFrancis Memorial Dash Stakes on Oct. 3, and back in 2019 came close to winning the Grade 1 Woody Stephens Stakes.
“This was a salty race,” said Luneack. “I looked at the overnight and said, ‘Oh, boy, we have our hands full.’ He broke really well and once I saw how he was into the race, I thought, ‘We’re going to be Ok.’ When he turned for home, I said, ‘They’re not going to pass him tonight.’ “
Welder set fractions of :22.91 seconds for the first quarter-mile, :46.05 for the half-mile and :58.03 for five-eighths of a mile, completing the six furlongs in 1:10.47 over the fast track.
“Welder is just a phenom,” said Luneack. “He’s just a very, very special horse and I don’t do anything special.”
He paid $5.40 to win, $3 to place and $2.10 to show across the board. Nitrous was another half-length ahead of third-place finisher It Makes Sense (13-1).
Tracked by more than 167,000 fans on Facebook and 10,400 Twitter followers, Remington Park has provided more than $269 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 live and simulcast horse racing, and the casino is always open! The 2021 Thoroughbred Season begins Aug. 20. Visit remingtonpark.com for more information.