03/05/2008 12:00AM

Remington opens with record purses


The 20th Quarter Horse meet at Remington Park, which begins Friday night, will not only offer record daily average purses of $200,000, but also will dramatically increase the purse of the Gradeo1 Heritage Place Futurity, to an estimated of $1.1 million.

The previous record daily purse distribution was $158,580 in 2007, and the previous record purse for a race at Remington Park was $677,365 for the 2006 Heritage Place Futurity.

"It's going to be a lot of fun with that kind of purse money," racing secretary Fred Hutton said. "I've noticed that the training races have been especially competitive.

"It's a big step forward for Oklahoma racing to have the Heritage Place Futurity over $1omillion. It really boosts our national recognition."

The Heritage Place Futurity, which will be run on the June 1 closing-day card, is one of 30 stakes on a schedule that includes six futurities and five derbies. The other major futurity is the Gradeo1, $750,000 Remington Park Futurity on April 19. There are nine Grade 1 races on the stakes schedule and 24 of the 30 stakes are graded.

Older stakes horses will point to one of the most important stakes on the national stakes calendar, the Grade 1, $150,000 Remington Park Championship. The 440-yard race is virtually guaranteed to have a deep cast because the winner receives an invitation to the Grade 1, $1 million Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos in December. The Remington Park Championship shares the closing night bill with the Heritage Place Futurity and the Grade 1, $250,000 Heritage Place Derby.

A part of Remington's purses come from the about 650 slot machines at the track.

The stakes program starts with the ultra-consistent Bullions N Garters meeting Refrigerator Handicap winner Mr Chivato to You in the Grade 2, $50,000 Eastex Handicap on Saturday night.

Bullions N Garters has finished on the board in 35 of 36 career starts. Her sole off-the-board effort came after a vigorous bump at the start of last fall's Lovington Stakes at Zia Park. The 7-year-old mare has yet to earn a Grade 1 stakes win, but has won or placed in seven graded stakes.

Mr Chivato to You, winner of three stakes at Remington Park last year, won the Grade 1 Refrigerator Handicap at Lone Star Park on Oct. 6 to earn a Champion of Champions invitation. He was a troubled eighth in the Champion of Champions. Last spring he started a three-stakes winning streak at Remington Park with a head win over Bullions N Garters in the Eastex.

The 50-date season begins on a Friday-through-Sunday schedule this weekend with Thursday night racing starting on March 20. First post time is 6:25 p.m. Central, with a 5:30 p.m. first post on Kentucky Derby Day (May 3) and Preakness Day (May 17).