Dale Day of Remington Park Talks Oklahoma Derby
Dale Day of Remington Park Talks Oklahoma Derby by Robin Buchanan: This weekend it will be time for the Grade 3 Oklahoma Derby for 3 three year olds at Remington Park on September 25. It has a $400,000 purse and this will be the 28th running of the race. The race card for Sunday is huge and the fields are coming together. It’s looking like we will be in for a treat. What a spectacular day of racing in Oklahoma. A total of 10 stakes races highlight the evening including an all stakes pick 4. Last year I had the pleasure of seeing the hometown hero Shotgun Kowboy win as the 1/9 favorite. I had hoped for better odds but I was I was so happy he won. It is always nice to see a local favorite win.
I thought it would be fun to ask Dale Day, the track announcer since 2004, a few questions regarding Remington Park, his career as a race caller, and the Oklahoma Derby.
1) How did you venture into the horse racing Dale?
I was always a fan and used to cover races at Blue Ribbon Downs in Sallisaw, Okla. as part of my duties when I worked in sports radio in OKC. Then Remington Park was built and I covered racing here for the station. When my time at the station ended, management at RP brought me on as a media office assistant and TV host. That was in 1993 and I’m happy to still be going strong and calling the races since 2004.
2) What makes Remington Park unique to other tracks?
Our racing schedule and casino help us stand out as well as our center of the country location. We offer live racing in all but three months of the calendar, with Quarter Horses, Paints and Appaloosas in the spring and then our Thoroughbred season from August into mid-December. We race primarily at night which makes us a prime track for horseplayers after the tracks on the coasts are finished with their afternoon programs. Our evening programs get us out of the Oklahoma heat for the bulk of the schedule which is more enjoyable for all. The Remington Park Casino offers year-round gaming entertainment which is a great compliment to the racing and supports the purse structure as well as our overall business model. Without the casino, Remington Park would be a shell of what it is.
3) What is your favorite race you ever called?
Still my favorite race is the 2007 Oklahoma Derby won by Going Ballistic. The colt was on top of his game at the time and had this ridiculous, super-closing move. That race, his regular jockey Cliff Berry couldn’t ride him as he was injured the night before so Tim Doocy, another Oklahoma racing hall of fame jockey, picked up the mount and rode him perfectly. Going Ballistic was 20 lengths behind the leader, last as the field hit the final turn. He had the lead at the furlong pole, a crazy-fast sweeping blur to the front. It was spectacular.
4) Who picks the music while we are waiting for the race to begin?
The music is fed through our cable system. I pick the genres and change the channels a few times as the night progresses. We try to mix it up a little for everyone.
5) What do you have to experience at Remington Park?
There are many great places to enjoy the races. The Henry Hudson’s Patio which opens onto the Plaza just past the finish line is a great open-air location. The Club One box section on Clubhouse level would probably be the spot I would be mostly if not working. There, for $20, you get your seats, a bucket of beer, hot wings and two racing free-play vouchers worth $5 each. After you polish of the beer and food, you can reorder. An unreal value.
6) Who is your favorite for this year’s Oklahoma Derby?
I haven’t made my final decision yet but Texas Chrome is going to be tough to beat. He seems to be on top of his game right now. I watched his Super Derby win at Louisiana Downs and he battled for the final quarter-mile to win. A very game effort.
7) Where is your go to place to eat in Oklahoma City?
Just about any Tex-Mex place. My wife and I have two small kids so we tend to go to a lot of places that feature upscale burgers.
8) When Remington Park is not in season what do you do?
I’m still here year-round as the communications manager. I get to go to a Monday thru Friday day.o schedule which is welcomed after so many late nights. Usually take a nice family vacation in the early summers.
9) What are your thoughts on Lady and the Track?
It’s a great site and social media engagement for reference and offers a different view to help get more women involved as fans and horseplayers. Helping to build any fan from a beginner/novice into a regular is what horse racing needs!
I would like thank Dale Day for taking the time out of his busy schedule to conduct this interview with us. We look forward to hearing his race calls as we’re sure it will be a great time. Kari Ward and I will be making the trip to Oklahoma City. Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@ladyandthetrack) for updates. Here is to a great weekend of horse racing at Remington Park!!