Rated R Superstar Gives Caldwell First Governor’s Cup At Remington

Owner Danny Caldwell has won 372 times at Remington Park in Oklahoma City, Okla., now, but on Friday night, the Poteau, Okla., native won a race he had never won before – the $175,000 Governor’s Cup with Rated R Superstar. The Governor’s Cup was the feature event on the opening night of the 2021 Thoroughbred Season at Remington Park.

Caldwell has won the Thoroughbred owners’ title 11 times at Remington Park and now can add one of Remington Park’s richest races to his trophy case. “I don’t have one of those; it’s pretty,” Caldwell said as he was presented the trophy.

It was also the first win in the Governor’s Cup for jockey Ramon Vazquez and trainer Federico Villafranco.

Caldwell picked up Rated R Superstar for $50,000 in a claim at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., on Jan. 30, a race that the 8-year-old gelding won.

“I knew he was going to be special when he ran great against Silver State,” Caldwell said. “I love these older horses. He had a bad couple of races at Turfway Park and no one else put a claim for him that night (in January) so I was fortunate to get him.”

Since the claim, the Kentucky-bred son of Kodiak Kowboy, out of the Gold Case mare Wicked Wish, has won two races, but it was actually a race in which he ran second that showed his class. About six weeks after being the only owner to put in a claim for Rated R Superstar, Caldwell entered the horse in the $500,000 Essex Handicap at Oaklawn, a spot that appeared a bit ambitious for a horse from a $50,000 claiming race. Rated R Superstar came flying at the end of that 1-1/16th mile race to lose by only a neck to Silver State. All Silver State did this year was win six races in a row, including the Grade 1 Hill ‘N’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park and the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap. In Silver State’s most recent effort, he finished third in the Whitney at Saratoga to Knicks Go, who is the top American horse in the Breeders’ Cup Classic rankings.

In the Governor’s Cup, Vazquez had Rated R Superstar dead last in the field of nine coming down the backstretch in the 1-1/8th mile race, about seven lengths back of a tightly packed field. He also had him well off the rail toward the middle of the track to keep him out of trouble.

“I knew the horse was doing great right now,” said Vazquez. “I worked him the other morning. He had a lot in reserve when I finally asked him to run.”

By the top of the stretch, Rated R Superstar and runner-up Plainsman, the 6-5 post-time favorite, were heads apart. The winner prevailed at the wire by a neck at 7-2 odds over Plainsman, who had beaten him by a neck in the $50,000 Rasmussen Stakes at Prairie Meadows, Iowa., on June 4. Trident Hit, also 7-2, was another 1-3/4 lengths back in third.

Rated R Superstar earned $105,000 for the win and paid $9.40 to win, $3.60 to place, and $2.80 to show. He improved his record to 55 starts, nine wins, nine seconds, and eight thirds for $1,173,014. He passed the $1 million mark in earnings this summer.

Running time for the distance was 1:50.30. The interior fractions, set mostly by defending champion Hunka Burning Love (8-1) early, setting up Rated R Superstar’s kick to victory were :23.61 for the first quarter-mile, :47.17 at the half-mile, 1:11.18 for three-quarters of a mile and 1:37.03 for the mile.

It was the first race for Rated R Superstar on the dirt at Remington Park after having raced on the turf in the $100,000 Remington Green Stakes over the turf here on Aug. 24, 2018. He finished sixth in that start, 3-1/4 lengths back of winner Turbo Street.

Caldwell won nine owner titles at Remington Park in the past 10 years, losing only in 2019 to End Zone Athletics, trainer/owner Karl Broberg’s outfit. Caldwell also won in 2008 and 2010. His top year was 2016 when he won the crown with 50 wins, the most ever by an owner here.

The Opening Weekend at Remington Park continues Saturday, Aug. 21 with the first race at 7:07 pm Central.

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