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by Richard Linihan

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – May 31, 2024 – The undefeated Kempton has been made the 5-2 morning-line favorite for Saturday’s cornerstone race of the meet, the Grade 1, $1,081,820 Heritage Place Futurity for 2-year-old American Quarter Horses going 350 yards.

Kempton, a Texas-bred juvenile colt by Kiss My Hocks, out of the Corona Cartel mare Charming Cartel, has been quite the story, leading up to the richest race in Oklahoma. This colt caught everyone’s eye first on Feb. 21 here when he was an impressive winner in a training race for 2-year-olds, covering the 250-yard distance in :13.85 into a 15mph headwind.

Kempton was easily the fastest qualifier of all the trials on May 9-10 to secure 5-2 favoritism from oddsmaker Jerry Shottenkirk. Kempton has had only two starts, but won them both. No one would have thought he would be two-for-two if they had watched the beginning of the first race in his career in the Oklahoma Futurity trials on March 9. He broke poorly from the gate, seventh of nine that night, and then got squeezed back to what looked like an unwinnable position. Once jockey James Flores got him going however, the fire in the eyes of Kempton showed his huge desire to win. He turned on the jets and began passing horses like they were standing still. When all was said and done in his300-yard trial, he had won by a full length as jaws dropped. However, his time did not qualify him for the finals of the Oklahoma Futurity.

Kempton was then laid up for a few weeks to overcome the resulting trauma of all the bumping and squeezing he received in that trial race and the only question was whether he would be ready for the subsequent Heritage Place Futurity trials on May 10. Trainer James “JJ” Gonzalez III had him more than ready. Kempton fired out of the gate first in his trial and halfway down the track in the 350-yard trial, he was already pulling away from them with tremendous speed. He hit the wire, under Flores, an eye-popping two full lengths ahead of the field, stopping the timer in :17.500 seconds for a 94 speed-index. The closest time of the nearest qualifier was :17.564, six-tenths of a second slower,which can be a difference of daylight in Quarter Horse racing. Kempton had no wind to affect his trial and, in comparison to the fastest qualifier from the night before, who had a tailwind of 8 mph, Hott Temptation qualified in a time of :17.581.

Flores gets the mount again in the finals for owner Mari Lozano-Cantu of Mission, Texas, from the outside 10-hole, which has been a good place to be this meet. Horses from that post position have had room to escape any kind of bumping and grinding in the middle posts, and that seems to be in Kempton’s favor. Horses breaking from the 10-hole on the straightaway have won at a 19.53 percentage this meet, second only to post position eight at 20.25 percent.

Interestingly, whereas a lot of horses get their talent from their dam (mother), apparently Kempton’s ability has to come from his sire (dad) Kiss My Hocks and maternal sire Corona Cartel, both champions. Kempton’s dam, Charming Cartel, raced only five times and earned a measly $4,224 on the racetrack.

Here is the field for the Heritage Place Futurity with post positions, jockeys, trainers and odds:

  1. Rainbow of Diamonds, Angel Ramirez, Ed Hardy, 6-1
  2. Hott Temptation, Mario Delgado, Cody Noel, 12-1
  3. Im Missmerized, Bryan Candanosa, James “JJ” Gonzalez III, 5-1
  4. Firey Eagle, Francisco Calderon, Jed Vane, 8-1
  5. Joose Boxx, Nestor Duran, Juan Diaz, Jr., 8-1
  6. House of Lords, Roman Cruz, Dee Keener, 9-2
  7. Kiss My Maruska, Juan Pulido, Juan Diaz, Jr., 8-1
  8. Curls Magic Wagon, Ali Rivera, John Stinebaugh, 15-1
  9. A Line in the Sand, Ramiro Garcia, Jason Olmstead, 20-1
  10. Kempton, James Flores, James “JJ” Gonzalez III, 5-2

The Heritage Place Futurity is the final race of a dozen on Champions Night, concluding the season. Total purses on the evening are $2,442,555 with the final nine events all stakes races. The other Grade 1 races on the program include:

Race 4: $35,000 Speedhorse Graham Paint/Appaloosa Stakes, 3-year-olds, 350 yards

Race 5: $230,475 Speedhorse Graham Paint/Appaloosa Futurity, 2-year-olds, 350 yards

Race 7: $50,000 Remington Park Distance Championship, 3 and older, 870 yards

Race 8: $100,000 Junos Request Stakes, fillies and mares, 3 and older, 400 yards

Race 11: $250,000 Debbie Schauf Remington Park Championship, 3 and older, 440 yards

Remington Park has provided more than $349 Million to the State of Oklahoma general education fund since the opening of the casino in 2005. Located at the junction of Interstates 35 & 44, in the heart of the Oklahoma City Adventure District, Remington Park presents simulcast racing daily and non-stop casino gaming. The Remington Park 2024 American Quarter Horse, Paint and Appaloosa Season continues through June 1 with the biggest racing program of the season. Parking and admission are always free. Must be 18 or older to wager on horse racing or enter the casino gaming floor. Visit remingtonpark.com for more information.