Three Olives N Smoke to Pass on Lucille Rowe Derby

The homebred gelding instead will be pointed to the Adequan Derby Challenge Championship.

Press release

Three Olives N Smoke will make his next start in Saturday's Adequan Arapahoe Park Derby Challenge Stakes. PHOTO: Coady Photography

Colorado-bred American Quarter Horse star Three Olives N Smoke is entered in two races at Arapahoe Park on Saturday—the Lucille Rowe Derby (R), for which he was the fastest qualifier in trial races on May 20, and the Adequan Arapahoe Derby Challenge, which will earn the winner a berth to the Adequan Derby Challenge Championship (G2) at Los Alamitos on October 29.

Undefeated in all six of his starts at Arapahoe Park, including the 2015 Cherry Creek (R) and Rocky Mountain futurities, Three Olives N Smoke will be pointed by his connections beyond the borders of his home state. The gelding will race in the Derby Challenge.

“I think we’re going to go in the Challenge,” trainer John Hammes said.  “If you win this, it qualifies you for the $200,000 race [Adequan Derby Challenge Championship].”

Could Three Olives N Smoke win two stakes races on the same day?  While harness racing can feature horses competing in multiple heats in one day—such as for the prestigious Little Brown Jug—horses in Colorado are limited to one race in a day.

“You can enter in two stakes races, but you can only run in one of them,” said Hammes, although he added, “When I
was 15 riding in the bush [tracks], we did it all the time.”

However, Three Olives N Smoke will still earn purse money for the $60,445 Lucille Rowe Derby as the fastest qualifier even if he scratches. Hammes also qualified Thatza Fact Jack and Keep Kissin Me to the Lucille Rowe. Thatza Fact Jack was runner-up to Three Olives N Smoke in the 2015 Cherry Creek Futurity.  The 400-yard, $30,000 Adequan Arapahoe Derby Challenge drew a full field of 10 and consists of horses who have made their most recent start in seven different states.

On Sunday, Hammes will saddle five of the 10 Colorado-bred 2-year-olds in the 330-yard, $78,505 Cherry Creek Futurity.  Hammes trains the fastest qualifier, Who You Know, who will try to be the third generation of his family to win the Cherry Creek -- his dam, Shazooms Doll, won in 2007, while Shazooms Doll’s dam, Dolls Prodigy, won in '98.

Three Olives N Smoke’s name comes from a combination of a brand of vodka and the bay gelding’s dam, Smokin Corona.  That’s appropriate considering that one of the most talented Colorado-bred Quarter Horses in history has displayed his mother’s speed and has given his connections a lot to toast about on the racetrack.

“I’ll never own another horse like Hank, and mind you, I’ve had some nice horses,” breeder and owner Margo Schares of Eastlake, Colorado, said about the horse she’s affectionately dubbed "Hank" for country singer Hank Williams.  “That horse hasn’t been tested.  We don’t know what kind of gas he has in that tank.  He has such a great mind and is great to be around.  I’m really an advocate of a horse that’s easy to be around.”

Schares has been around all types of racehorses for as long as she can remember.  She recalls how her grandfather Samuel Fedders Webster, who was involved in harness racing, drove a buggy to church on Sunday mornings and then raced fellow churchgoers in a city park on Sunday afternoons in Fort Collins, Colorado in the 1940s and 1950s.

Schares' father, Harold Webster, and uncle Sam Webster Jr., raced Thoroughbreds on the Colorado fair circuit before adding Quarter Horses to their stable at Centennial Race Track.  When Schares’ father sold his farm in the mid- 1980s, he transferred his broodmares to his daughter.

“If you can’t lick ’em, you might as well join ’em,” Schares said.

Schares teamed with trainer John Hammes for stakes success with Smokin Corona and later with the mare’s stakes-winning Colorado-bred offspring Smokin Brown Eyes and Midori N Smoke.  But it’s the broodmare’s latest racing foal, the Jess Louisiana Blue-sired Three Olives N Smoke, that’s giving his connections hope that Arapahoe Park could see some particularly special performances during the track’s 25th consecutive year of racing in Colorado.

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