OKLAHOMA CITY – O Donovan Rossa blasted to the front in Sunday’s featured allowance race and annihilated the field at 870 yards, drawing off to win by 10-1/2 lengths in the fastest time of the meet around the hook.
The race was part of Remington Park’s annual Extreme Race Day promotion, featuring uncommon distances for the horse racing and exhibition events for Camels, Zebras, Ostriches and Clydesdales.
The “Rumble Around the Hook” as the 870-yard allowance was called, went to the 5-year-old gelded son of Apollitical Jess, out of the Country Chicks Man mare Shanachee, stamped his name as possibly the one to beat in ensuing distance challenges at Remington Park after this eye-opening victory. O Donovan Rossa covered the 870 yards in :44.451 on a fast track for a speed index of 107. If he is not at the head of this turn-racing class at Remington Park, he has certainly thrown his hat into the ring with the likes of Dak and two American Quarter Horse Association champions – Wascallywittlewabbit and Shockinglyfamous.
O Donovan Rossa, trained by leading conditioner Dee Keener, and ridden by Bryan Candanosa, won for the fourth time in five tries around the hook and was just a couple of ticks off the track record of :44.288 at 870, set by Snowbound Superstar on May 10, 2009. He was three lengths in front almost immediately as the gate opened and never looked back from there.
Dak won the only stakes race around the hook this meet when he won the Grade 2, $36,327 AQHA Remington Park Distance Challenge on April 2 and he did it impressively, putting away the two champions in a time of :45.102 for a 99 speed index. On that night, he won easily over Wascallywittlewabbit, the 2021 and 2022 AQHA Champion Distance horse and Shockinglyfamous, last year’s AQHA Champion Aged Stallion. Those two softened each other up for the late-running Dak in the upset.
On Sunday night, there was no one to soften up O Donovan Rossa as he had much too much early speed for the other contenders to hang close. He opened up in the stretch to a seven-length lead after changing leads and kept pulling away under Candanosa. He earned $21,213 for owner Kelly Yother Equine, LLC of Culver City, Calif. The gelding improved his career record to 28 starts, eight wins, five seconds and three thirds for a bankroll of $184,683. He seems to have found his niche at 870 yards where he is 5-4-1-0 for $78,593 earned around the turn.
O Donovan Rossa is a two-time stakes winner around the hook, having won the $50,000 Devil His Due Stakes at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, on Nov. 26, 2022, over a sloppy racetrack and the $15,000 Walter Merrick Stakes at Fair Meadows in Tulsa, Okla., on July 24 last year. His other win at 870 yards came at Will Rogers Downs in Claremore among allowance horses on Oct. 23, 2022. Remington Park became the fourth track at which O Donovan Rossa has won at 870 yards.
The O Donovan Rossa competition was not an easy bunch Sunday either. It included another stakes winner around the hook, Heza Classy Now, who had won the $50,000 Bill Reed Stakes at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico last fall. The best he could do as the 8-5 second wagering favorite Sunday was a fourth-place finish, 13-1/4 lengths behind the winner. O Donovan Rossa was sent off as the odds-on 4-5 people’s choice and paid $3.60 to win, $2.60 to place and $2.20 to show across the board.
Bojangles Comin (9-1) checked in second, two lengths in front of third-place finisher We Call Him Joneson (201).
Extreme Racing Exhibitions Many Remington Park jockeys showed their sportsmanship, and bravery, in riding in the three “Extreme Racing” exhibitions aboard zebras, ostriches and camels. The exotic animal exhibitions thrilled the largest crowd of the season with approximately 20,000 on hand, taking place in between the regular horse racing.
Jockey Cordarelton Benn scored in the zebra race after the opening daily double on the card. Rolando Raudales joined the winning fun aboard on ostrich after the fourth race of the day. Raudales also won the third horse race of the afternoon on GG Queen Of The South when the 2-year-old Paint won her first career race.
Edwin Escobedo has rocketed toward the top of the jockey standings with plenty of racing wins over the last two weeks. He won the final race of the night aboard Beep Beep Rev Rev in an allowance that pitted older females vs. older males at 250 yards. The triumph came about 45 minutes after Escobedo showed his prowess aboard a camel in winning the final exhibition race, prior to O Donovan Rossa’s turn victory.