For Immediate Release – Oklahoma City, Ok, September 9, 2023 – The Oklahoma Stallion Handicap for Colts & Geldings might as well be re-named the Kari Craddock Stakes. The longtime Remington Park trainer won this race Friday night for the fourth consecutive year when Kodaline came from the clouds to win by a head at the wire.
The streak started in 2020 when owner Kirk Thoroughbreds’ Ninethirtyturbo was her first win in the series with jockey Lane Luzzi up. Her regular rider now, Leandro Goncalves, then took the next three with Number One Dude in 2021 for owner Terry Westemeir, and then Kaleo last year, a horse she not only trained but owns. Kodaline gave her the fourth win Friday night and she owns him as well.
It was a bittersweet trip to the winner’s circle for Craddock with Kodaline as she said her feed man, Greg Dunn, passed away this morning.
“It’s a good day, but also a bad day,” said Craddock in the winner’s circle. “(Kodaline) is just like his brother.”
Kaleo, last year’s winner, is who she was talking about. Both horses are by Foreign Policy, out of the Election Day (IRE) mare Buena Fortuna (MEX).
Goncalves returned from the race covered head to toe in dirt. He had this gelding sitting seventh in a field of nine but he was feeling very confident despite dropping back almost out of the television picture on the backstretch. From the half-mile pole to the stretch, Kodaline went from seventh, 6-1/2 lengths behind, to second, only a head back as the horses hit the stretch. From there the 7-1 mild longshot fought neck and neck with runner-up Rachel’s Caper (11-1), who also came from the back of the pack with a mighty kick.
“I knew we were far back,” said Goncalves, “but this was the best he’s ever broke. He doesn’t break well from the gate. But I saw the 4-horse off the pace and I knew he was a fast horse, so I figured they were really going fast up front. Then we started picking up horses and picking up and picking up. I had to ride him hard in his last allowance win, but not this hard.”
Craddock was confident in watching her jockey work with Kodaline in the race.
“I saw that and said, ‘Leandro is in the catbird seat,’ “said Craddock. “And it (winning) happened again.”
Dark Afternoon, the even-money favorite, was another length back in third after leading the race from start to almost the finish where he was overtaken by the top pair in the final strides. Kodaline hit the line in 1:25.17 on the fast track after cutting into Dark Afternoon’s interior fractions of :22.75 for the first quarter mile, :45.88 for the half mile, and 1:12.04 for three-quarters of a mile.
The remaining order of finish in the race had Dens Deville, Eakly, Soul Sacrifice, Majestic Liaison, Missin Hollywood and Just Okie.
Kodaline paid $17 to win, $7 to place and $4.20 to show. He earned $21,360 from the $35,600 purse to improve his record to eight starts, three wins, one second and two thirds for a bankroll of $72,936. Craddock not only owns and trains him but also bred him in Oklahoma.
It was Craddock’s second win in the series as an owner and Goncalves took over on top with the most wins for a jockey in this series with three. He broke the tie he had been in with Luzzi and Don Pettinger.
Remington Park has provided more than $328 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 is home to the Grade 3 Oklahoma Derby and the Grade 3 Remington Park Oaks on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023. Remington Park presents simulcast racing daily and non-stop casino gaming. 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.