REMINGTON PARK ALL-TIME TRAINER TITLE HOLDER, EDDIE WILLIS, LOOKING FOR HIS 13TH TROPHY
OKLAHOMA CITY – No American Quarter Horse trainer has won more training titles at Remington Park than Eddie Willis. He is looking for his 13th title as the 2024 Quarter Horse, Paint and Appaloosa meet begins March 7.
His 12 times accepting the Jack Brooks Award, denoting the top seasonal trainer, in the winner’s circle are two more than the late Rodney Reed’s 10. Willis has won the training title in three of the past five Spring race meets, but his latest came in 2021.
Willis finished third last year, behind winner Dee Keener (37 wins) and runner-up Jason Olmstead (35). Willis ended the meet with 27 trips to the winner’s circle. The veteran trainer from Caney, Okla., holds onto the top three spots all-time for most wins at Remington Park with 53 in 2011, 51 in 2014 and 50 in 2013. He is the only trainer in the track’s Quarter Horse history to win 50 in a meet. His winning years at Remington Park as leading trainer were 2019-21, 2010-14, 2006-07, and 2004-05.
Willis also holds the record for the most earnings for his horses for a race meet – $1,660,790 in 2014. He holds an incredible eight of the top 10 spots in earnings for a meet with only Keener (2nd) and Waylon Melton (9th) getting the other two spots. Willis has three of the top five spots in horses’ earnings the last five meets – second, third and fourth. Only Keener’s $1,558,136 (second best all-time) is better in the past five years.
It’s not getting any easier for the 66-year-old conditioner as he suffered a heart attack during the race meet last year. Surprisingly, he was back at work at the track four days later after being hospitalized.
“I wasn’t doing nothin’ (at home), so why not?” Willis said this week.
Asked about his health going into this meet, Willis seemed very confident.
“My health is good,” he said. “I’m pretty much taking care of myself.”
According to Equibase statistics, Willis got his first official Quarter Horse win in 1985, almost 40 years ago. Willis says he has been training horses since 1979 after dropping out of school at 16 years of age. As the years pile up, Willis said the excitement for him has changed.
“It’s getting harder every year,” he said. “But I like the business. I always knew this is what I wanted to do since I was a teenager. I could have made a lot more money doing a lot of other things but this is what I love. It’s nice winning titles. You love to win races. But you get in it to make a living and make money. That will happen when you do things right. My horses have won more than $1 million at Remington Park several times.”
Willis said he does train a couple of horses that have given him that thrill of anticipation again, coming into this meet.
“I have two or three Freighttrain B (youngsters),” he said, “and a Capo de Capi baby named Cedar Hill that I really like. Most of them are home raised.”
Freighttrain B sired 2020 World Champion filly Whistle Stop Café, who won the $3 million All American Futurity that year. She won nine of her 10 starts lifetime and earned $2.2 million before retiring after her 3-year-old campaign in 2021. Capo de Capi won the Grade 2 Heritage Place Derby at Remington Park in 2011.
Willis said he will continue using veteran multiple-graded-stakes-winning jockeys Jimmy Brooks and Justine Klaiber this meet and throw one other rider into the mix.
“I’m going to give Jhaciel Soto some mounts,” said Willis. “He rode for me at Will Rogers Downs (in Claremore, Okla.).”
Willis has 11,056 starts in his Quarter Horse training career, winning 1,760 times, running second 1,627 times and another 1,433 third-place finishes for horses’ earnings of $39,826,047, in statistics according to Equibase.
KAMS RELENTLESS RAISES SOME EYEBROWS WITH SIZZLING FAST WORKOUT
Kams Relentless, a 3-year-old gelded son of Hes Relentless, trained by Clint Crawford set the Remington Park track on fire at 250 yards from a standing start in the gate, working in :13.28 over the fast track on Thursday morning.
In comparison to the fastest work of the day at 250 yards on Wednesday, the bullet worker NCC Cherry Bottom stopped the timer in :13.93 from the gate. Both horses worked with some urging. Those are the only two days where the track has had 250-yard workers since it opened for official works on Tuesday.
Kams Relentless, who showed some ability as a 2-year-old last year, appears to have matured nicely. At 2, he won at first asking in his career debut during the Oklahoma Futurity trials at Remington Park on March 11, 2023. He finished fifth in the historic final. That didn’t deter Crawford from entering Kams Relentless in the Heritage Place Futurity trials in May. He finished a respectable second to Deck Stack, who also is in training at Remington Park this meet for last year’s leading conditioner, Dee Keener.
Kams Relentless also showed some talent in August by running second in his All American Futurity trial at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico, the final being the top race in the country annually for 2-year-old Quarter Horses.
Training weather on Thursday morning was conducted under sunny skies with temperatures in the low 50s.
Remington Park has provided more than $344 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 2024 racing schedule begins Thursday, March 7, as the American Quarter Horse, Paint and Appaloosa Season starts its 50-date 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.