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Roses are nice but Wicked Courage on quest for the 'crown'

ARDMORE, Okla. – A self-proclaimed “card-carrying” Chickasaw may soon be able to say he owns the fastest horse in Chickasaw history.

Wicked Courage will be the first horse since 2005 to vie for the Triple Crown of quarter horse racing. Only a trio of quarter horses has won the Triple Crown since formal racing of the breed began in the 1940s.

According to Andrew Smith, a Chickasaw citizen and Ardmore resident, if Wicked Courage wins the Ruidoso Downs All American Derby on Labor Day, it will claim top prizes in three races considered the coup d’état of quarter horse racing.

The three-year-old gelding moved into the top slot in the nation Aug. 6. He then proved he was one of the finest quarter horses in America by finishing second Aug. 17 by qualifying for the final leg of the Triple Crown. Wicked Courage finished second with a time of 21.16 seconds in the 440-yard race. The finish was uncanny since the horse stumbled out of the gate, went to its knees, got up and shot toward the finish line.

“We had a vet scope him and check him out thoroughly after the race and everything is fine,” Mr. Smith said. “It should be a great race Sept. 1 and Wicked Courage will be the odds-on favorite to win.”

The first quarter horse to win the Triple Crown was My Easy Credit in 1977. Dash For Speed did it 10 years later in 1988, and DM Shicago won all the marbles in 2005. The modern era of quarter horse racing began in the 1940s and has grown in popularity exponentially with voter-approved pari-mutuel gaming.

Wicked Courage has earned $1.8 million since winning the first two legs of the Triple Crown – the Ruidoso Futurity and Rainbow Futurity. Now, he must finish first in the All American Derby to claim the Triple Crown. The total purse for the Labor Day race is $2.8 million. About half of that will go to the winner.


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