OKLAHOMA CITY TURF CLASSIC COULD BE A FOUR-WAY REMATCH OF RED EARTH STAKES FOUR-HORSE PHOTO FINISH
You could have thrown a blanket over the top four finishers in the $70,000 Red Earth Stakes this meet as they charged to the wire and all four are among the 29 nominated horses for the $130,000 OKC Turf Classic on Oklahoma Classics Day, Friday, Oct. 21.
The Turf Classic is at 1-1/16 miles.
The Red Earth was won by Number One Dude in his first career race over turf. He finished a neck in front of That’s Something, who was one length in front of third-place finisher Tommyhawk. In fourth place was Cowboy Mischief, another head back.
The big question is whether Number One Dude will enter in this race or go in the $175,000 Oklahoma Classics Cup on the main track.
“We always thought Dude could run on anything,” said Number One Dude’s owner Terry Westemeir of Broken Arrow, Okla. “(Trainer) Kari (Craddock) and I have not discussed it yet. We will get together over the weekend. Dude is doing great and will show up in whichever race we put him in.”
Number One Dude, a 4-year-old gelded home-bred son of American Lion, out of the Macho Uno mare Ebony Uno, has won 8-of-14 starts lifetime and has bankrolled $345,893. For a horse that was coming into the Red Earth Stakes as a seven-time winner in 13 starts, Number One Dude was sent off at a very generous 8-1 odds by the betting public. He was, however, trying to do something he had never done before – win on the grass.
One of Westemeir’s favorite stories as a horse owner revolves around Number One Dude.
“He was a foal in the belly of the mare (Ebony Uno) when we bought her,” he said. “When I brought her home my wife (Leslie) said ‘We don’t need ONE more horse, and you brought home TWO in one.’”
After Number One Dude had won the first three races of his career, all on the main dirt surface, two of them stakes races, Westemeir said he was off the hook with his wife. The precocious Number One Dude started his career with a 7-1/2 length win in his debut maiden race on Sept. 18, 2020, and immediately followed that with trips to the winner’s circle in the $100,000 Oklahoma Classics Juvenile (by one length) and the $75,000 Don McNeill Stakes. The first two victories came over fast tracks while the McNeill was over a muddy surface by six lengths. That was the first clue that the horse could run over anything.
Number One Dude continued to distinguish himself with three more stakes wins in 2021 – the $55,000 Will Rogers Stakes (by 5-1/4 lengths), followed by the $50,000 Oklahoma Stallion Stakes and $70,000 Jim Thorpe Stakes (by seven lengths) at Remington Park. He put an exclamation point on his versatility when he showed he could win in the Red Earth Stakes this year. Seven stakes wins in his eight victories is impressive to say the least.
If Number One Dude does go in the OKC Turf Classic, he will surely face the three horses that surrounded him late like a posse coming up fast on a bad cowboy in the Red Earth. That’s Something, the runner-up by only a neck, was the 9-5 favorite in that stakes effort. He is a 5-year-old gelding by Read the Footnotes, out of the Concern mare Cherokee Princess. He was bred in Oklahoma by owner-trainer Lynn Chleborad.
That’s Something was on a two-race win streak going into the Red Earth, after winning among allowance company at Will Rogers Downs and Remington Park, both of those on the dirt. Chleborad has only run him on the turf twice and he’s been first and second. Approaching the Red Earth, he hadn’t run on the lawn since Oct. 1, 2020 when he broke his maiden greensward at Remington Park. He returned to the dirt for his next 10 races after winning his only try on the turf and to his credit, he did win three of his last four starts on the dirt, before starting in the Red Earth. His record lifetime is 18 starts, four firsts, five seconds and $118,912 in earnings.
Running third in the Red Earth was the hard-knocking Tommyhawk, who tries hard every time he’s sent to the track by trainer Randy Swango for owner Kim Swango. Randy also bred the 5-year-old gelding by Kick On, out of the Timebank mare Saron’s Time, who showed a huge run late at 12-1 odds in the Red Earth. He was racing dead last down the backstretch of the 7-1/2 furlong stakes race and closed to within 1-1/4 lengths of Number One Dude in third place. He is a 27-time starter with six wins, seven places and seven shows for $200,528 earned.
The fourth-place runner in the Red Earth, another neck behind, was Cowboy Mischief (7-1), a winner of $279,840 in his career, winning five times, running second three more times and third another three times. Cowboy Mischief is owned by Kelly Thiesing of Alva, Okla., and trained by Kenny Nolen. The Into Mischief 6-year-old horse from the Bob and John mare Lady Jensen, is a home-bred for Thiesing. Two of the career wins for Cowboy Mischief have come on the grass. His Red Earth Stakes on Sept. 23 was his first race since finishing fifth in the Red Earth in 2021.
Live racing at Remington Park continues with a Saturday card starting at 7:07pm-Central.
Tracked by more than 171,000 fans on Facebook and 10,600 Twitter followers, Remington Park has provided more than $304 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 top Oklahoma-breds in racing on Oklahoma Classics Night, a million-dollar evening of stakes events on Friday, October 21. Thoroughbred racing continues through December 17 with simulcast racing daily, and a casino that is always open! Visit remingtonpark.com for more information.