TRAINER EDDIE WILLIS WINS HIS 11TH TRAINING TITLE AT REMINGTON PARK, BREAKING TIE WITH RODNEY REED FOR MOST ALL TIME
OKLAHOMA CITY – June 5, 2020 – When Eddie Willis won his 10th training title at Remington Park in 2019, it tied him with trainer Rodney Reed for most all-time at this Oklahoma City track.
That tie has been broken. Willis won an unprecedented 11th training title at Remington Park during the 2020 American Quarter Horse, Paint and Appaloosa Season that just concluded. The leading trainer award is named after Jack Brooks, an eight-time winner of the prestigious All American Futurity and Hall of Fame horsemen.
Willis knew when he was a little boy that something like this was what he wanted to do all his life.
“I can’t remember a time when I was a kid that there wasn’t a horse around,” said Willis. “When I was 16, I dropped out of school in Caney, Okla. I still have the farm in Caney, but I live in Ada now.”
He said his dad trained a few horses and that it has been in his blood.
“Well, it is nice winning titles,” he said. “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 had starters 236 times and won with 37 of them, ran second 52 times, and third 30 more. He had a 16% percent winning rate and his horses ran first, second or third 50% of the time, earning $1,131,137 on the track. He finished $300,000 more than runner-up Monty Arrossa.
“That happens when you work really hard, have great hands and an older son that works for me,” Willis said. “When you have that kind of foundation, you’re supposed to win races. And we do work hard. I don’t have as many hands as a lot of barns that split their grooms among the horses. They all work with every horse in my barn. Every hand. When you have too many working for you, it’s not as good, I believe.”
Willis’ first training title at Remington Park came in 2004. From 2010-2014, he had a five-year string of titles here. On the lesser side, he had a drought from 2015-2018 here.
Winning titles or not, his success remains as constant as the northern star at Remington.
“Never wanted to win all the races, just my share,” said Willis. “If you start 200 horses, you ought to win with 35 or 40 of them. We won 53 one year (2011) at Remington Park; won six stakes races in a row once (2003) with (jockey) Larry Payne.”
Payne had his rivalry with G.R. Carter throughout his career, but Willis never got caught up in any rivalry with another top trainer.
“I never mind getting outrun by someone who works hard,” he said.
As for the future, he doesn’t really think about the long range.
“I’ve already sent 20 head to Ruidoso,” he said. “I’m almost 63 years old now. Been doing this since 1979, but I can do a lot of things. I shoe horses. I can work with equipment. But this (racing) is a passion.”
Passion at Willis’ level leads to trophies, plaques and Halls of Fame. He has all of that, as he was inducted into the Oklahoma Horse Racing Hall of Fame at Remington Park in 2018.
Tracked by more than 164,000 fans on Facebook and more than 10,500 Twitter followers, Remington Park has provided more than $243 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, Remington Park is in the heart of the Oklahoma City Adventure District.