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Can a Quarter Horse enter two races in one day?

June 2, 2016     E-mail this page to a friend!

Three Olives N Smoke sets the fastest qualifying time—350 yards in :17.689—from four trials to the Lucille Rowe Derby held on May 20
(photo by Coady Photography)
Story by Jonathan Horowitz, Arapahoe Park

Colorado-bred Quarter Horse star Three Olives N Smoke is entered in two races at Arapahoe Park on Saturday, June 3: the Lucille Rowe Derby—for which he was the fastest qualifier in trial races on May 20—and the Adequan Arapahoe Derby Challenge, which earns the winner a berth to the Adequan Derby Challenge Championships at Los Alamitos Race Course on October 29.

The connections of the 3-year-old bay gelding—who was undefeated in all six of his starts at Arapahoe Park, including the $84,435 Cherry Creek Futurity and the $148,950 Rocky Mountain Futurity in 2015—are looking nationally, beyond the borders of the Rocky Mountain state. and have opted for the $30,000 Adequan Arapahoe Derby Challenge, the 6th race on the nine-race Saturday card.

“ . . .we’re going to go in the Challenge,” trainer John Hammes said. “If you win this, it qualifies you for the $200,000 race [Adequan Derby Challenge Championship].”

Could Three Olive N Smoke win two stakes races on the same day? While harness racing features horses competing in multiple heats in one day—such as for the prestigious Little Brown Jug—horses in Colorado are limited to one race in a day.

“You can enter in two stakes races, but you can only run in one of them,” said Hammes, although he added, “When I was 15 riding in the bushes [small tracks], we did it all the time.”

However, Three Olives N Smoke will still earn purse money for the Lucille Rowe Derby as the fastest qualifier even if he scratches. Hammes also qualified Thatza Fact Jack and Keep Kissin Me in the 350-yard, $60,445 Lucille Rowe Derby. Thatza Fact Jack was runner-up to Three Olives N Smoke in the 2015 Cherry Creek Futurity. The 400-yard, $30,000 Adequan Arapahoe Derby Challenge drew a full field of 10, comprised of horses that made their most recent start in seven different states.

On Sunday, Hammes will saddle five of the 10 2-year-olds in the 330-yard, $78,505 Cherry Creek Futurity. The Hammes-trained fastest qualifier Who You Know will try to be the third generation to win the Cherry Creek Futurity. His dam, Shazooms Doll, won in 2007. Shazooms Doll’s dam, Dolls Prodigy, won in 1998.

A Quarter Horse—shaken, not stirred

Three Olives N Smoke’s name comes from a combination of a brand of vodka and the bay gelding’s dam, Smokin Corona. That’s appropriate considering that one of the most talented Colorado-bred Quarter Horses in history has displayed his mother’s speed and has given his connections a lot to toast about on the racetrack.

“I’ll never own another horse like Hank, and mind you, I’ve had some nice horses,” breeder and owner Margo Schares of Eastlake, Colorado said about the horse she’s affectionately dubbed Hank for country singer Hank Williams. “That horse hasn’t been tested. We don’t know what kind of gas he has in that tank. He has such a great mind and is great to be around. I’m really an advocate of a horse that’s easy to be around.”

Schares has been around all types of racehorses for as long as she can remember. She recalls how her grandfather Samuel Fedders Webster, who was involved in harness racing, drove a buggy to church on Sunday mornings and then raced fellow churchgoers in a city park on Sunday afternoons in Fort Collins, Colorado in the 1940s and 1950s. Her father, Harold Webster, and uncle, Sam Webster Jr., raced Thoroughbreds on the Colorado fair circuit before adding Quarter Horses to their stable at Centennial Race Track. When Schares’ father sold his farm in the mid 1980s, he transferred his broodmares to his daughter.

“If you can’t lick ’em, you might as well join ’em,” Schares said.

Schares teamed with trainer John Hammes for stakes success with Smokin Corona and later with the mare’s stakes-winning Colorado-bred offspring Smokin Brown Eyes and Midori N Smoke. But it’s the broodmare’s latest racing foal, the Jess Louisiana Blue-sired Three Olives N Smoke, that’s giving his connections hope that Arapahoe Park could see some particularly special performances in the track’s 25th consecutive year of racing in Colorado.

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