OKLAHOMA CITY -- May 5, 2018 – Hold Air Hostage, the American Quarter Horse Association Champion 3-year-old for 2017, made his return to action in Saturday’s $100,000 Sooner State Stakesat Remington Park. Now a 4-year-old, Hold Air Hostage didn’t break a sweat. He easily rolled to victory in near-track record time against fellow Oklahoma-breds.

Ridden by Rodrigo Vallejo, Hold Air Hostage crossed the finish of the 400-yard Sooner State Stakes in :19.154 over a fast track. The time was just .053 slower than the track record for the measure, and Hold Air Hostage was never really asked as he moved to victory by three-quarters of a length over Tough To Bee. The effort helped owner Dan Darling of Darling Farms in Lamont, Okla. relax, He had concerns about his stable star, coming off a rest and a medical procedure after his 2017 campaign.

“We’re just so blessed. I’ve been a nervous wreck, really worried,” Darling admitted. “He’s coming back off (knee) surgery but, 5-hundredths off the track record and (Vallejo) never got after him. He’s back.”

Hold Air Hostage continues to amaze his trainer James Padgett, as he ran his winning streak to six-straight events, dating back to his win in the 2017 Heritage Place Derby at Remington Park.

“Hold Air Hostage is just a freak. He is pure racehorse,” Padgett said. “Rodrigo came back and said ‘he’s still very, very fast.’ He’s had a layoff since last September. We did a little clean-up surgery on him and worked him here. That’s the first go…pretty impressive.”

The heavy wagering favorite at 3-5 odds, Hold Air Hostage paid $3.40 to win, $2.80 to place and $2.20 to show. Tough To Bee paid $5.60 to place and $3.60 to show. AJs High was third, 2-1/4 lengths behind the winner, to pay $3.20 to show.

Completing the order of finish in the Sooner State Stakes: Gypsys Last Hero (4th), Ferrari James (5th), Double Down (6th), Apolltical Chad (7th) and Rarin (8th).

The Hold Air Hostage win could set up a colossal matchup in the Grade 1, $250,000 Remington Park Championship on June 2. In that race, Hold Air Hostage could face off against another Padgett horse, 2017 World Champion Jessies First Down, winner of the Leo Stakes here in April. Darling is excited about the possibilities of what could happen in the championship.

“The Championship. Really, I think that will almost be like Man O’War against Seabiscuit. ‘Jessie’ is a heckuva horse.”

Hold Air Hostage was bred in Oklahoma by Luis Gleason. He is a gelding by Apollitical Jess from the Fols Gold mare Fols Zookie Cookie. The Sooner State Stakes win is the ninth from 12 career attempts for Hold Air Hostage. The winner’s check of $58,200 moves his career earnings to $1,274,517.

Hold Air Hostage’s winning streak, helping lead him to the 3-year-old Champion title, also included scores in the $1.1 million Rainbow Derby and the prestigious $1.3m million All American Derby, both at Ruidoso Downs, N.M., last summer.

Remington Park racing continues on Sunday afternoon with the first of 10 races underway at 1:30pm Central.


Tracked by over 140,000 fans on Facebook and more than 9,600 Twitter followers, Remington Park has provided over $192 Million to the State of Oklahoma general education fund since the opening of the casino in 2005. Remington Park, Oklahoma City’s only Racetrack & Casino, is home to the $100,000 Sooner State Stakes, for Oklahoma-breds, on Saturday, May 5. Located at the junction of Interstates 35 & 44, Remington Park is in the heart of the Oklahoma City Adventure District. For more information, reservations and group bookings please call 405-424-1000, 866-456-9880 or visit