Willis, Reed Stocked for OK Fut, Derby

Oklahoma trainers ready for Remington's first big futurity.

Q-Racing Journal

Trainer Rodney Reed has two of the three fastest qualifiers to the $370,800 Oklahoma Futurity (G2) and trainer Eddie Willis saddles half of the 10-horse field in the $220,000 Oklahoma Derby on Saturday night at Remington Park.

Reed, known for his success in early season futurities, is living up to that reputation with fastest-qualifier Apolitical Pac (Apollitical Jess-Kpax by First Down Dash) and third-fastest qualifier First Prize Parisa (Carters Cartel-First Prize Paris by Mr Jess Perry).

Victory Farms’ Apolitical Pac led the 15 trials on March 8 when she impressed with a 1 1/2-length win in the fourth heat, with a time of :15.284 for 300 yards. That time stood up as the top time throughout the remaining trials.

It was a good night for freshman sire and 2010 world champion Apollitical Jess. He sired Apolitical Pac and also eighth-fastest qualifier Jo Chrome, out of champion Joanna Kate.

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Greg Kobold and Wendy See’s First Prize Parisa also stepped up with an impressive daylight win in her debut. The filly raced with the leaders and then pulled out to the 2 ½-length win in :15.300.

Georgina Chavira and Rito Sosa’s PYB Place Your Bet (PYC Paint Your Wagon-Fashion Dashin by Runaway Winner) narrowly missed setting the top-qualifying time when she stopped the clocked in :15.285, just 1/1000th off Apolitical Pac’s fastest mark. The Luis Chavira-trained PYB Place Your Bet was sent off as the 9-5 favorite and could have that role again in the futurity finals after winning the fifth trial, the race after Apolitical Pac, by a dominating 3 3/4 lengths.

Leading the Willis quintet in the Oklahoma Derby are fastest-qualifier One Valiant Hero (Valiant Hero-Smiles All Around by Feature Mr Jess), second-fastest qualifier This Dude Can Fly (One Famous Eagle-Helens First Choice by First Down Dash) and fourth-fastest qualifier Just After Me (PYC Paint Your Wagon-Take After Me by Bully Bullion).

Valeriano Racing Stables’ One Valiant Hero came though with six top-two finishes from nine outs as a juvenile last year, highlighted by his 1 1/2-length romp in the $85,000 All American Juvenile (R) at Ruidoso Downs. He was a close second in the $95,000 Black Gold 350 Futurity (R) and was a finalist in the Oklahoma Futurity (G2).

After a four-month layoff, One Valiant Hero surfaced in the Oklahoma Derby trials and responded with a three-quarter-length win and the top time of :17.407 for 350 yards in the last of six trials.

Luis De La Cerda and Abel T. Flores’ This Dude Can Fly also made his seasonal debut after a nearly six-month layoff. He scored by a neck over stablemate Just After Me, owned by Dee and Betty Raper with James Sills. This Dude Can Fly was timed in :17.439, while Just After Me was clocked in :17.492.

This Dude Can Fly raced to his third win from five starts after starting his career with convincing wins in his trials to the Oklahoma Futurity and the Ruidoso Futurity (G1).

Just After Me makes his stakes debut in the Oklahoma Derby after winning his career debut last fall at Will Rogers Downs and then recording a fourth-place effort in his only other 2013 start.

The other Willis-trained finalists are $95,000 Black Gold 330 Futurity (RG3) winner Midnight Cartel (Carters Cartel-Night Lines by Strawfly Special) and VH Won (Valiant Hero-Jazzy Corona by Corona Cartel), winner of three of nine starts.

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