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Quarter Horses worth a look while you await Belmont Stakes

by Jerry Shottenkirk

June 2, 2017

The Belmont Stakes doesn’t offer implications of a Triple Crown this year, but despite that, the racing world still have plenty of interest and waits for next Saturday to decide American racing’s most grueling 1.5 miles. 

While you await entries, the past performances and final preps for the Belmont combatants, there’s plenty on the plate elsewhere, especially if you are willing to give Quarter Horse racing a try. Instead of waiting the distance of the Belmont, your result will get back to you in less than 20 seconds. 

Remington Park in Oklahoma City offers one of the top Quarter Horse days of the entire calendar on Saturday as it hosts the $1.1 million Heritage Place Futurity and the $250,000 Remington Park Invitiational Championship – a pair of Grade 1 races surrounded by a half-dozen other stakes races that help make this one of the more significant days in the sport. 

Here's a look at what to expect from the shortliners over the Oklahoma City strip: 

While the Heritage Place Futurity carries more of a purse, it’s hard to beat the Remington Park Invitiational when it comes to top-to-bottom talent. Zoomin Effortlessly, a winner of 15 of 26 lifetime starts and Jessies First Down, defending AQHA Champion and winner of 12 of 29 starts, are probably in for a knockdown, drag out of a test. Despite losing to Jessies First Down in his last two, Zoomin Effortlessly is the slightest of morning line favorites in this one, carrying 7-to-5 on the board to start. Jessies First Down isn’t exactly being ignored as he starts at 3-2. It’s an “either or” on favoritism. 

Only seven horses are the Invitational but they have power-packed punch as they’ve won 68 of 172 starts and nearly $3.5 million in earnings. That’s stout, considering these weren’t major open futurity winners. They have to pick up nice paychecks, but not overwhelming paydays like those that can make a million or two a pop. Joining the top two are Rockin Disco, Big Lew, Ajs High, Vf Red Surprise and Stevie B First Cash. This field packs a wallop and is worth your time, even if you don’t frequent the Quarter Horse game. 

Zoomin Effortlessly has the benefit of having a start over this track this year and rates the edge. Jessies First Down has only one start over the Remington track and did not hit the board. He’s certainly done well outside that effort. 

Remington Invitational picks: 1, Zoomin Effortlessly; 2, Jessies First Down; 3, Ajs High; 4, Big Lew. 

Heritage Place Futurity picks: 1, Despain GL; 2, Pyc Fun N Fancy; 3, Trace Dynasty; 4, Bird Train. 

Heritage Place Derby picks: 1, Duponte; 2, Apollitical Scout; 3, Kiss My Heineken; 4, In Class.