Marq French stretches out to win $100,000 Oklahoma Classic, Craddock Barn scores classics triple

Thursday, October 2nd 2008, 4:20 pm
By: News 9

For Immediate Release
Saturday, September 27, 2008

OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma's Championship Night of Thoroughbred horse racing was packed with thrills as the eight-race series comprising the 16th Oklahoma Classics was contested Saturday at Remington Park.

Overall purses for the stakes for eligible Oklahoma-breds reached a new record high at $563,728 as the program, presented by the Oklahoma Thoroughbred Association, continues to flourish.

On a night when the best Oklahoma-bred thoroughbreds converged at Remington Park vying for honors, one horse achieved a record but was unable to garner another while one trainer realized her dreams, tying a record held by three other trainers.

Just by starting for the seventh time in an Oklahoma Classics race, Notable Okie set a record, but the 8-year-old gelded son of Editor's Note needed to win the $86,546 Classics Turf to tie Highland Ice for the most overall wins in Classics races with five. Instead, he finished off the board but nonetheless one of the top horses ever to step foot on the Remington Park grounds with a win in the Classics Juvenile and three in a row in the Thoroughbred Racing Association of Oklahoma Turf from 2005-2007.

Trainer Kari Craddock probably needed smelling salts at some point Saturday night because she had to think she was dreaming, winning three of the Classics races in which she had horses entered. That tied a record held by three other trainers - Donnie K. Von Hemel, Steve Hobby and Wade White. She took the $55,000 Juvenile with No Advance, the $65,000 Classics Sprint with Steal Your Face and the $72,182 Filly & Mare Sprint with Annieville, who won this race for the second year in a row.

The headline event went to a talented runner, normally accustomed to sprinting, giving his trainer the new mark for winning the $100,000 Classic.

Marq French had so much going for him that he went to post as the 4-5 wagering favorite in the richest race on Classics night.

The 6-year-old gelding had Remington Park's all-time leading rider Cliff Berry up for his rare attempt in a race longer than a sprint distance. He also had Remington Park's all-time leading trainer Von Hemel conditioning him.

Marq French's sire Marquetry wasn't an all-time anything, but he did upset the field at 27-1 odds in 1991 in the $1 million Hollywood Gold Cup in southern California, beating such horses as that year's Preakness winner Summer Squall and the favorite Farma Way.

Marq French showed just how much he loved just his second attempt at the 1-1/16 mile distance and Remington with a heart as big as all Oklahoma. He battled neck and neck down the stretch with Oklahoma Tradition. You couldn't have separated the two with a sheet of typing paper for the last sixteenth of a mile.

When they both stretched for the wire, it was Marq French who got his neck up first for the win over Oklahoma Tradition. Aisle Two was another 6-1/2 lengths in back in third.

The big bay owned by Van and Margie French of McAlester, Okla. covered the distance in 1:44.44. He paid $3.80 to win, $2.60 to place and $2.20 to show.

By Marquetry from the Topsider mare Intimate, Marq French added $60,000 to his bankroll, increasing it to $343,606 with 11 wins lifetime from 31 starts. He has won four of his nine tries at Remington Park and is 2-for-2 at Saturday night's distance, despite normally racing in sprint races under a mile.

The Classic win for Von Hemel was his fifth. He now has 17 overall wins in the Classics series of races, the most of any trainer.

Berry was for his third win in the $100,000 Classic and his 18th win overall in the entire Classics series. He sits second all-time behind Don Pettinger, who has won 21 Classics battles.

$65,000 DISTAFF
Alidoon got things started in the first of eight Classics races that totaled $563,728 winning her seventh race in only 15 lifetime starts. Jockey Quincy Hamilton took her wire to wire in the 1 mile, 70 yards race, stopping the timer in 1 minute, 42.24 seconds. She drew away from the field with each pole she hit winning by a final margin of 7-1/2 lengths.

Alidoon added $39,000 to her bankroll for the John James Trust of Dewey, Okla., bringing her lifetime earnings to $108,729. The 5-year-old mare by Muldoon from the Slew City Slew mare Allezalaplage is trained by Kenny Smith. Alidoon finished second last year in the Distaff to Midsummer Magic, who could only manage a fourth place this year as the 4-5 wagering favorite.

Alidoon paid $5.40 to win, $3.40 to place and $3.20 to show. Two long shots rounded out the top three with 14-1 UR Lethal running second and 20-1 Woody Jo's Emma another 1-1/2 lengths back in third.

The Distaff was the third career win for Alidoon at Remington Park.

Remington Park's all-time leading trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel got on board with his first of two Classics wins of the evening, taking the race for 2-year-old fillies with Peach Brew, owned by Dr. Robert H. Zoellner of Tulsa.

At this point it appeared it might be an all-Quincy Hamilton show as well. He was aboard for his second Classics win in a row, finishing three-quarters of a length ahead of runner-up Fanci Candi. Peach Brew went to post as the 2-1 second choice, but proved the best in the end, coming from sixth to pass them all in the stretch. Fanci Candi set the pace for every step of the race but the last few.

Peach Brew, by Milwaukee Brew from the Hickory Ridge mare Georgia OK, stopped the clock in 1:10.33 for 6 furlongs. Milwaukee Brew, made history in 2003 by winning the Santa Anita Handicap for the second consecutive year, nudging out Congaree.

The Devil is Mine faded to third, losing by less than three lengths. Peach Brew won for the second time in four starts, pocketing $33,000. Peach Brew paid $6.40 to win, $3.20 to place and $2.60 to show in winning her first career race at Remington Park

$55,000 JUVENILE
No Advance, a 2-year-old gelded son of Beat the Feet, was the first of Craddock's trio of winners on the night. Floyd Wethey Jr. was in the irons for the first of his two Classics wins. It was also the first stakes victory for Wethey at Remington Park.

No Advance remained undefeated with a 2-for-2 record for owners Hal Browning and David Faulkner of Dallas. The dark bay gelding from the Eulogize mare Maximum Advance earned $33,000 to bring his winnings to $50,998. Both of his wins have been at Remington Park.

Wethey was sitting fourth with No Advance at the half-mile pole and timed the finish perfectly, winning at the wire by a neck over Run Off River, who was also closing like a bullet in the final 100 yards. Dr T Hudson ran third another 2-1/4 lengths back in third.

No Advance went off at 4-1 odds and paid $10.60, $5.60 and $3.60 across the board. The $2 exacta was worth $85.80 with the runner-up lighting the board at 12-1. Dr T Hudson was 8-1, sparking a $1 trifecta of $280.50. The $1 super with 9-2 Hollywood Hit running fourth returned $1,867.80. Running time for the Juvenile was 1:11.56 for 6 furlongs.

Strategic Leader was stuck in allowance company for the entirety of 2007 but when 2008 hit, he turned into a back-to-back stakes winner at Remington Park.

After taking the $50,000 Red Earth Stakes on Aug. 31, Strategic Leader followed that Saturday night with a victory in the Turf closing from fifth to pass his rivals in the stretch over the mile distance. Jockey Benny Landeros booted home the 5-year-old gelded son of Strategic Mission as the 8-5 favorite.

It was almost like Landeros had an alarm clock in his head as he only led the race in the last jump at the wire, just nipping Must Be He in a tightest head-long photo. In third was Garbu's Son.

Notable Okie was trying to tie the all-time record of five Classics wins in a career but could do no better than fifth after winning this race the last three years in a row. Highland Ice, who won the Juvenile at 2, and then the Sprint four years in a row in the 1990s, retains that record with five wins.

Strategic Leader is owned by H and S Farms of Tulsa and is trained by Ralph Mitchell. He paid $5.40 to win, $3 to place and $2.20 to show. The time for the mile over the firm lawn was 1:35.28.

From the Mr. Leader mare Clogger, Strategic Leader won his sixth career race and his fifth at Remington Park. The winner's share for the Turf was $51,927, moving Strategic Leader's career earnings to $171,624.

Steal Your Face was the second Classics winner of the night for Craddock. The 3-year-old gelding gets his name from a double-live album of the Grateful Dead in the 1970s. The song the horse's name is derived from says, "Like I told ya, what I said, steal your face right off your head." This horse was anything but a dead-head, closing 10 lengths of ground like a freight train to win at 9-2 odds.

Wethey won his second stakes race of the evening, finishing three-quarters of a length ahead of second-place finisher Laidbacklynny, who was another 3-3/4 lengths ahead of Fifth Date, the beaten 9-5 wagering favorite who finished third.

Steal Your Face, a 3-year-old gelding by Holzmeister from the Festive mare Get Up and Dance, is owned by Rockin BB Ranch and Glenn Chamandy of Asher, Okla. The dark bay gelding paid $11 to win, $4 to place and $3 to show. He stopped the timer in 1:09.65 for the six furlongs, the fastest time at that distance for the night.

The win was just the third from nine attempts for Steal Your Face and his second at Remington Park. He earned $39,000 for the effort to move his career bankroll to $84,728.

It was an all-female winning connection group for first place in the Filly & Mare Sprint as Craddock completed her triumphant trio of training victories with female jockey Cindy Murphy up on the 5-year-old mare Annieville.

The record-tying race for Craddock came with a fitting contender as Annieville won the Filly & Mare Sprint for the second year in a row. The bay mare by Reel on Reel from the Tyrant mare Tyrosa won the 6-1/2 furlong sprint in 1:17 flat.
Off at 3-1 odds in last year's Filly & Mare Sprint, her win then was apparently not good enough to garner her favoritism this night. After having a very dull spring and summer at Will Rogers Downs in Claremore and Fair Meadows at Tulsa, she awakened back at Remington Park.

No Lak of Silver was second at 5-2 odds, running combined with last year's second place horse Carsoncityprospect as an entry. Strawberry Chase ran third at 14-1 odds.

Annievillle paid $10.60 to win, $5.40 to place and $4.40 to show. She earned $43,436 for her seventh career win and her sixth at Remington Park. Overall, Annieville has now made $189,089.

Rosemaui closed out the night with a win over Approved Bluff by three-quarters of a length, taking the Filly & Mare Turf for the second consecutive year.

Veteran jockey Tim Doocy was up for the win, the 4,976th in his career as he continues his march to become just the 24th jockey in history to gain the milestone of 5,000 victories.

Owned by Merle Medcalf of Choctaw, Okla. and trained by Joe Offolter, Rosemaui was the 9-5 second choice in the wagering and paid $5.80 to win, $3.80 to place and $3.40 to show. Approved Bluff was three-quarters of a length ahead of Rosemaui's stablemate Cherryberry, who ran third. Burbance, who could have given Craddock the new trainer's record of four Classics wins in one night, was the beaten favorite at 8-5 odds. However she had to settle for fourth.

A 5-year-old mare by Austinpower (JPN) from the Presto Lad mare Orange Blossom Sp., Rosemaui earned $39,000 for winning the Filly & Mare Turf, her fourth career victory from 22 starts. Her third Remington Park victory helped push her lifetime earnings to $154,163.

The running time for the 7-1/2 furlongs over the firm green was 1:29.91.

Remington Park presents nine races on Sunday afternoon with the first event scheduled for 1:30 p.m.