09/20/2011 2:07PM

Shotgun Gulch takes aim at Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint

Tom Keyser
Shotgun Gulch is being considered for a start in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.

Shotgun Gulch has put herself under consideration for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint following her fast-closing, third-place finish in the Grade 2 Masters at Presque Isle Downs. She is now back home in Oklahoma following the Pennsylvania race run Sept 10 and has been getting a few days of freshening at the farm of her breeder, owner, and trainer, C.R. Trout.

“We’re looking at the Breeders’ Cup,” Trout said. “It would be the same kind of mares she’s run against other places.

“I couldn’t have asked her to run a better race [at Presque Isle.] The one hole kind of got us a little bit over there. She had to go around the field, but she closed big. She ran a super race.”

Shotgun Gulch broke eighth from her inside post in the field of 12, came well wide into the stretch, and then missed by three-quarters of a length in the 6 1/2-furlong stakes. Earlier this year, Shotgun Gulch won the Grade 1 Madison at Keeneland at the seven-furlong distance of the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. This year’s championship race will be held at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4.

Trout said the other course of action he could take with Shotgun Gulch is a start on the Oklahoma Classics Night program at the filly’s home track of Remington Park. She is the Oklahoma Thoroughbred Association’s reigning horse of the year. The Oct. 28 program of statebred stakes includes the $130,000 Oklahoma Classics Distaff Sprint.

Shotgun Gulch’s 2-year-old half-sister, Scat Baby, could run on the same card. She won her career debut in a maiden special weight at Remington last Friday night. Trout said she is a candidate for the $90,000 Oklahoma Classics Lassie.

Awesome Bet points to Oklahoma Derby

Awesome Bet, runner-up in the Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 10, is to make his next start in the $400,000 Oklahoma Derby, trainer Steve Asmussen said. The 1 1/8-mile race will be run at Remington Park on Oct. 16.

Awesome Bet, who won the $103,000 Barbaro at Delaware Park in July, raced in eighth early in the Super Derby before putting in a determined bid to finish second to wire-to-wire winner Prayer for Relief.

“He ran well,” Asmussen said of Awesome Bet, who races for Mike McCarty.

Earlier this year, Awesome Bet was fifth in the Grade 2 West Virginia Derby won by Prayer for Relief, who is now a candidate for the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Asmussen has been on a stakes roll at Remington, where he is the leading trainer. In the last month, he has won both the $100,000 Governor’s Cup on dirt and $100,000 DeBartolo Memorial on turf with Skip a Smile and picked up his sixth $50,000 Ricks Memorial score with Pleasantly Blessed.

Skip a Smile is headed next to the $125,000 Remington Green Stakes, Asmussen said. The 1 1/16-mile turf race is on the Oklahoma Derby undercard Oct. 16. Skip a Smile will be seeking his fourth consecutive stakes win in a streak that began in the $75,000 Assault at Lone Star on July 9.

“He’s a good horse,” Asmussen said of the 4-year old. “He’s a Skip Away getting better with age.”

Asmussen trains Skip a Smile for Rose Mary Chandler, who also races Acorn, the Grade 1-winning Quarter Horse who is to run Saturday at Fair Grounds in the $30,000 Bonus Challenge. Chandler also bred both Skip a Smile and Acorn.

Fundraiser for late agent’s family

A golf tournament benefitting the family of Richard McNaughton, the 53-year-old jockey agent who died of natural causes in August, will be held at Cedar Valley Golf Club in Guthrie, Okla., on Oct. 3. It will be a four-man scramble and will begin at 12 p.m. The cost is $60 per person. Proceeds will benefit McNaughton’s wife, Michele, and his 8-year-old daughter, Macy.

There also will be a benefit auction following the tournament at By George’s Bar in Oklahoma City. Organizers are seeking items to auction, said Don Pettinger, the retired jockey who is now an agent. To donate auction items, or to register to play in the tournament, contact Remington-based jockey agent Monty Penney at (817) 821-3567.

McNaughton was the longtime agent for Cliff Berry, who won last year’s Remington title as well as this year’s Oaklawn and Lone Star Park championships. McNaughton died at his home in Oklahoma.

Retired trainer Wells dies at 87

Ted Wells Jr., a retired Quarter Horse trainer who won the 1965 All American Futurity with Savannah Jr., died Sept. 16 at his home near Pawhuska, Okla. He was 87.

Services for Wells, the father of Remington president Scott Wells, were to be held Wednesday afternoon at the First Presbyterian Church in Pawhuska.

Ted Wells Jr. trained a number of top horses for prominent owner Walter Merrick. He also was a member of the Oklahoma Horse Racing Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Hall of Fame, and the Ruidoso Downs Hall of Fame. Wells retired from training in 1968 and developed one of the nation’s leading Quarter Horse breeding farms, Wells Ranch. The farm was home to such stallions as Azure Te, Easy Six, and Savannah Jr., who was a champion at 2 and 3.

◗ Trainer Keith Bourgeois, who has been racing at Louisiana Downs since the recent close of the Evangeline Downs meet, is nearing 2,000 career wins. He was at 1,991 heading into the final week of the Louisiana Downs meet Thursday.

◗ Jockey Jesse Jimenez Garcia was two wins from career victory No. 2,000 going into Zia Park’s races Tuesday.