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Oklahoma Derby Or Bust; My Experience at Remington Park

Oklahoma Derby Or Bust; My Experience at Remington Park: I have to say that as a native Oklahoman, I am a little ashamed to admit that I have not been to Remington Park before last weekend. I was a small college town girl who wasn’t raised around the sport of horse racing, so I have only been a fan for eight years. I finally made it to Remington Park for the Oklahoma Derby in Oklahoma City, and it was such an amazing experience that I had to write about it.

Dale Day

Dale Day calling a race at beautiful Remington Park.

I drove in from Tulsa on Saturday afternoon, September 26, met up with a longtime friend for lunch, and headed straight to the track. It was a beautiful day/early evening to watch a few races and check out the place. The Chickasaw tribe has put quite a bit of money into both the casino and racetrack. It is beautiful and very well-designed. My friend Robin (@robinlifeisgood) met me there Saturday evening for some of the festivities. We got there before the nighttime racing started so immediately went to the information booth where we met Randy Hare, the Racing Information Hostess and author of The Hare Wins tip sheet. We sat and chatted with her while we watched and played the Santa Anita card. Randy hit a $473.00 trifecta the night before plus a few exacta boxes. Robin played a few of her picks and hit Saturdaynight. She was a super friendly gal who had two chairs ready for us should we get tired on Sunday as the track would be super packed.

I asked Randy for directions to the sound booth where Dale Day (@thedaleday), the racetrack announcer and communications manager for the television department, was working his night shift. Randy gave me perfect directions. To the right of the information booth, up the glass elevator to the suite level, past the suites, up two flights of stairs and down the hall to the end. Huh? Was a little confusing but we found it. He was on the microphone and promptly let us in. He let Robin hit the post call button which was pretty cool. We chatted a bit, watched him call a race and I have to say I was blown away. I had no idea how they prepare for the races and how hard that must be. What a beautiful view of the track as well on a gorgeous Oklahoma night. Dale is a great guy, very informative and super friendly.

Remington park

Kari Ward, Dale Dale and Robin in the announcer’s booth at Remington Park.

We hit the suite level to try to find James (@jmac9571) at the suite level. I had run into him at my hotel, and he invited us to come by. We went there and also got to meet Danny Caldwell (@ILoveFastHorses), who owns quite a few horses that run at Remington. He was super friendly and invited us in to enjoy the fantastic view in the beautiful suites. James was roaming the track area, so we ended up missing him. By then, we were getting hangry.

Food called, so we headed back down to the Bricktown Brewery for some eats. Craig Milkowski (@TimeformUSfigs) and Elsie Milkowski (@emmilkowski) with their son Josh met us there. We all ate some great grub, chatted, and had a few drinks. They run @TimeformUS, and what a great family and lots of fun. I use TimeformUS for my past performances and horse information. Great site! Robin and I decided to split dinner, and I must say that the nachos with the pulled pork and a roasted whole jalapeno on top rocked. I had to fight Robin for that one. We parted ways and all headed back to get ready for Sunday.

I’m an early riser, so sat around drinking crappy hotel coffee waiting for my 11:00 a.m. Sunday morning meeting with Nick Trougakos (@ThirstyBeagle), the Senior Public Relations Manager for @Kochcommunications, and Dale to get my media pass. Nick took me in his own personal vehicle to the barn area to see the horses and get some photos. What a beautiful area, and very well-maintained. First off, I wanted to find Shotgun Kowboy as both my sisters gave me $20 each to put on him. We walked in the first barn and asked the first man I saw, “Where is Shotgun Kowboy’s barn?” He replied, “Right here – he’s my horse.” Yikes! Wow! C.R. Trout just happened to be checking over his horses. He let me give Shotgun Kowboy a pep talk and rub his nose. He was also kind enough to let me take some photos of his horses and one with me as well. Mr. Trout is a very cool, humble man, and what a relaxed, chill horse Shotgun Kowboy was.

Remington Park

Kari Ward pictured with Shotgun Kowboy and Trainer C.R. Trout before his big win in the Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015.

I was able to check out quite a few other beauties running, plus I got a fun shot of Include Betty who was quite the feisty girl. She won the Remington Park Oaks, so I was jazzed I got a few of her. Nick took me back to the track where I met Robin, and we proceeded with the day. We headed back to the Bricktown Brewery for some more grub and ran into Nick again who was with @racing_dudes, whom I was also able to finally meet and we all wished each other the best of luck. Robin and I split a killer breakfast sandwich that was hands down one of the best I’ve ever had. You can’t go wrong with the food at this place nor the prices. A glassed floor-to-ceiling view of the track doesn’t hurt either. On the top floor there’s also a fine dining restaurant called The Silks that I hear is dynamite which I will have to check out next year.

The rest of the day was filled with going back and forth between the paddock and the rail. I’m a total railbird, and so is Robin, so we made great track buddies. I’m thankful she went. We kept missing Kim (@krlangston1965) in the paddock area, so didn’t get to meet her. I don’t sit still when I’m at the track. Remington Park is situated very nice and easy to get around.

Include Betty

Include Betty calling her win for team Proctor in the Remington Park Oaks.

I played a few of the early races but only hit place on race #5 on Candip. I played a $4.00 pick 3 in race #7 singled to Bring It On Dude, race #8 singled to Include Betty and in the Derby I had Lucky Player, Shotgun Kowboy, Souper Colossal and Desert Dynamo. I hit the first two legs so was alive. Time for the big kahuna, the Oklahoma Derby.

Shotgun Kowboy broke well, seized the early lead and kept on running to the wire. He was the lone Oklahoma-bred in the field. It was trainer C.R. Trouts fourth attempt in the Oklahoma Derby and he nailed it with his Kodiak Kowboy homebred. It was jockey Cliff Berrys’ third Oklahoma Derby win and he will retire after this season at Remington Park. Along with winning the Oklahoma Derby and the Kip Deville, Trout won the finale with High Price Hit. What an evening for that barn! I was at the rail screaming my lungs out for Shotgun Kowboy. Desert Dynamo almost caught him, but he was so game and full of heart, he wouldn’t let him by. It was a perfect end to a fantastic weekend of racing. Robin and I said our goodbyes, and back to Tulsa I drove. I was giddy with that win from an Oklahoma bred horse and so happy for the Trout Barn. The only Oklahoma bred horse to win this race was in 1989, the inaugural run as the Remington Park Derby, which was won by Clever Trevor and trainer Donnie Von Hemel. My day was made.

I’d like to thank Dale, Nick, Robin, Elsie, Craig and everyone else I met for such a great experience. I also want to thank @LadyandTheTrack as this would not have been possible without their continued support and friendship. Remington Park is beautiful, and the people are super friendly, from the restaurants, to the hosts, to the casino (won $90 on a machine, yippee!). It made for a great experience, and I’m definitely going back next year. So, anyone else who would like to join me there, keep in touch! You can follow me @horseflynawall on twitter.