TRAINER RANDY SMITH, 10-TIME LEADING TRAINER IN INDIANA, TAKES OVER DUTIES FOR DUNN RANCH AT REMINGTON PARK
OKLAHOMA CITY – With the exodus of eighth-leading trainer Monty Arrossa from last year’s standings for the Remington Park American Quarter Horse, Paint and Appaloosa race meet, Dunn Ranch has acquired the services of Randy Smith for this year’s meeting.
Smith, 65, was the leading Quarter Horse trainer at Horseshoe Indianapolis for 10 years in a row from 2014-2023. He and his wife Debbie had retired for a whole month before receiving a call that enticed them to come out of retirement and train at Remington Park for the first time. Matt Dunn of Dunn Ranch gave Smith a call and talked him into it.
“I had bought a couple of roping horses and a dog named Reba to go hog hunting,” said Smith. “So I had to think about it and then I thought about it again. And here we are.”
Naming the dog Reba got this couple off to a flying start as new Oklahomans and Debbie said they found a place in Purcell, Okla., where they will live year-round. They previously had made their home in Norris City, Ill.
Smith sent 18 horses to the track at Remington Park on Wednesday morning, under sunny skies with temperatures in the low 50s. He wanted his athletes to get the feel of the track as none had official workouts. After settling in once again into his training routine, Smith said something came to his attention.
“I’m starting to realize how much we enjoyed that month off,” he said. “But Oklahoma City has been real nice; almost everyone has been so friendly to us. We had always heard the greatest things about Remington Park. I’m really excited because I’d heard of Remington Park my whole life. Everything has been first class here. So far it has lived up to its reputation.”
Dunn Ranch, of Wynnewood, Okla., used jockeys Francisco Calderon and Bryan Candanosa last year and Smith said he would still ask for their services, along with bringing jockey German Rodriguez to Oklahoma City from Indiana.
Calderon won the AQHA Champion Jockey Title for 2023, his second time in three years that he has garnered that award.
Rodriguez has had 641 Quarter Horse mounts in his career, winning 70, running second 82 times and third another 79 times for horses’ earnings of $1,845,408. He rode second call for Smith in Indianapolis.
“He did good in Indiana,” Smith said of Rodriguez. “My motto has always been good horses, good owners and good help will put you on top. I just wake up every day, trying to do my best. They say there’s a lot of luck in racing. I’ve found hard work can make that luck happen.”
Despite winning 10 titles in a row at Horseshoe Indianapolis, Smith has only been training horses for 12 years after a lifetime of working construction. His career statistics are 2,906 starts, 494 wins, 451 seconds and 350 thirds for a bankroll of $11,897,659.
Smith, the all-time leading Quarter Horse trainer in Indiana history in wins and purse earnings, said he has some horses for the Dunns that he really likes.
“We have a full brother to Apollitical Pence named Apollitical Maverick,” said Smith.
Apollitical Pence is a multiple graded stakes winner who took down the Grade 1 Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos in Southern California in 2020 and 2021. The champion gelding also defeated AQHA World Champion Empressum in the Grade, $144,850 Brad McKinzie Los Alamitos Winter Championship last February. In his career, Apollitical Pence earned $1,867,319.
Smith said Remington Park would also likely see Take a Swig of This and Favorite City race at this meet. Take a Swig of This, a 4-year-old gelding, won the Grade 2 Heritage Place Derby last year at Remington Park in May after winning the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby in February.
Favorite City, 3-year-old filly, has not raced at Remington Park before but won at Los Alamitos last year in the Golden State Million Futurity trials in October and then ran sixth in the finals.
Preseason training continues at Remington Park. The 50-date season starts March 7 and continues through June 1.
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.