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Flying Sophia Wins Junos Request Stakes At Remington Park

Flying Sophia (#1) wins the Junos Request Stakes on Saturday at Remington Park under champion jockey Francisco Calderon.

© Dustin Orona Photography

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK—JUNE 1, 2024–Flying Sophia won her second stakes race in a row, capturing the Grade 1, $102,960 Junos Request on Saturday at Remington Park. The race is for American Quarter Horse fillies and mares that are 3-years-old and older, going 400 yards.

Jockey Francisco Calderon, who was honored as the top rider in the country last year by the American Quarter Horse Association, was in the irons for the victory as he booted home Flying Sophia for trainer Michael Joiner.

The sophomore daughter of Flying Cowboy 123, out of the Big Daddy Cartel mare Sister Sophia, hit the wire a half-length ahead of runner-up Curls Joyful Wagon (11-1), who was another 1-1/4 lengths in front of third-place finisher and the beaten 4-5 wagering favorite Relentless Diamond.

"Hey, when you have a pretty good filly combined with the top rider in the country, that's a successful combo," said Calder Ezzell, who owns the horse with Candy Ezzell of Roswell, New Mexico.

"He does a hell of a job riding horses," Candy said of Calderon.

The winner was bred in New Mexico by his owners. It was the first win in this stakes series for all connections of the horse.

Calderon said the key to the victory was the teamwork at the barn and cooperation from  the owners and trainer, but he gave a lot of the credit on this night to the Remington Park gate crew as well.

"My assistant starter did a great job of calming her down and after a few jumps, I was just trying to look as good as I could," Calderon said with a laugh. "I'm very blessed to ride this horse."

Flying Sophia stopped the timer in :19.550 for a speed-index of 97 on the fast track. Sent off as the 9-2 second-wagering favorite in the race, she paid $11.40 to win, $6.20 to place and $3.20 to show.

It was her third win in her last four starts. Her only loss in that span was in her only out at Remington Park when she ran second in the Heritage Place Derby trials on May 12. Her previous stakes win came in the $296,000 La Fiesta Futurity at the Downs at Albuquerque on Oct. 22 last year.

Martin Stacy's $286,805 graded stakes winner, Curls Joyful Wagon, earned $21,528 for her second-place effort. Trainer John Stinebaugh tapped jockey Raul Valenzuela to ride the 4-year-old Pyc Paint Your Wagon filly from the Spit Curl Jess mare Eye A Spit Curl.

Also, a graded stakes winner, Relentless Diamond, picked up $11,841 for third. Guillermo Valdivia trains the Hes Relentless 4-year-old for owner Double G Ranch, LLC. Champion jockey James Flores had the riding call on the Oklahoma-bred out of Pyc Diamond by Pyc Paint Your Wagon. She has earned over $176,000 in 17 starts.

The rest of the order of finish past the top three is BP Moonlight (21-1) fourth, Corona Relentless (12-1) fifth, Fox News (10-1) sixth, One Famous Lil Lady (15-1) seventh, I Got Thiss (5-1) eighth and Three Separate Sixes (45-1) ninth.

The Junos Request Stakes is named for multiple Remington Park seasonal champion Junos Request who won the 1992 Remington Park Championship in a year where she was eventually voted the American Quarter Horse Association's Champion Aged Mare..


For additional information on breeding, contact Royal Vista Ranch Farm Manager—Laura Erickson—at (405) 449-7575.

Story and images courtesy of Stallion E Search.


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