POPS FIRST LADY POPS OUT OF GATE THIRD, BUT FINISHES FIRST TO WIN GRADE 3 EASY DATE STAKES
OKLAHOMA CITY – Pops First Lady broke third in the field of nine horses, but soon overtook the front-runners to win the Grade 3, $75,480 Easy Date Stakes on Saturday night at Remington Park.
The 20-year-old phenom of a rising jockey star, Bryan Candanosa, continued to make a name for himself, taking this stakes win for owner Ruse Ranch (Leila Cantu) of Laredo, Texas, and trainer Duke Shults.
A 4-year-old mare by Apollitical Jess, out of the Shazoom mare Shazooms Pop, Pops First Lade very nearly won the $50,000 Decketta Stakes on March 19 at this meet, but finished fourth, beaten only three-quarters of a length. She seemed to benefit from that trip over the track to improve to a stakes winner Saturday.
It was the first win in the Easy Date Stakes for all the connections. Pops First Lady earned $44,730 for the victory and improved to 12 starts, four wins, four seconds and one third for earnings of $172,803. She was bred in Texas by Gary Kurz/Double M Racing.
Running time for the 350 yards was :17.359 on a fast track for a 98 speed index. Pops First Lady got up in the battle for the wire, beating SS Classyjess by a nose. The winner was sent off at 3-1 odds while the runner-up was 5-2. The 8-5 wagering favorite, Valiant Stars, was another half-length back in third.
The favorite leading up to the start of the race was Apollitical J Julia but she acted up in the gate and was eventually scratched from the race on the advice of the track veterinarian.
Pops First Lady paid $8.80 to win, $4.20 to place and $2.40 to show. Her best finish in a stakes race prior to Saturday night was her second-place run in the $197,000 Firecracker Derby at Delta Downs in Louisiana on July 19 last year. She also ran third in the $393,000 Texas Classic Derby last year at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, in her last race as a 3-year-old. The Easy Date Stakes win was her second race as a 4-year-old.
The Easy Date Stakes is named after the 1974 All American Futurity winner and 1975 American Quarter Horse World Champion who was bred, owned and trained by Walter Merrick of Sayre, Okla.
Tracked by more than 168,000 fans on Facebook and 10,600 Twitter followers, Remington Park has provided more than $288 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 will feature the $1,000,000 Heritage Place Futurity and the $250,000 Debbie Schauf Remington Park Championship on May 28. Simulcast horse is racing featured daily at Remington Park where the casino is always open! Visit remingtonpark.com for more information.