Dan Coughlin's 47-year training career reached a high point Saturday when Osceola Lightning captured the fourth race at Horsemen's Park.
It was the 1,000th career win for the native of Sioux City, Iowa. His first victory came in 1965 when a horse called Terry's Last won a race in Madison, Neb.
“No one horse really stands out over the years,” he said. “I'm thankful that I've had a lot of good owners over the years who have stayed with me.”
The 65-year-old Coughlin almost skipped from 999 to 1,001 in one swoop. His other horse in the fourth race, Blue Lion, pressed Osceola Lightning to the wire and lost by a nose.
A dead heat would have resulted in two wins, not one.
“That would have been something, to go straight to 1,001,” he said. “It felt really good to get this win here today.”
Coughlin did pick up win No. 1,001 later in the card with long shot Early Final.
Classy Affair nets feature victory
Classy Affair, trained by Jim Cranwell, rolled to victory in the featured $27,500 Fantango Lady Stakes.
The 3-year-old filly by Blumin Affair grabbed the lead on the backstretch of the one-mile race and then pulled away from 3-5 favorite Bumper's Shadow in the stretch.
“I liked this horse's chances,” Cranwell said. “I wasn't sure if that other one could get the mile or not.”
A Colorado native, Cranwell began his training career in 1979. He has been training on the Nebraska circuit since 1985.
The race is named after a mare trained by Herb Riecken of Fremont, Neb., that won more than $265,000 during her career.
“I sure remember that horse,” Cranwell said. “She was another one of Herb's good ones.”
Ridden by Chris Fackler, Classy Affair won for the second time this year and paid $7.80 to win.
Jockeys OK after Friday spills
Jockeys Karlo Lopez and Bryan Houghton, who were injured in the third race Friday, both have been released from the hospital.
Lopez was tossed when his mount clipped heels with another horse and Houghton hit the track when his horse fell shortly after the finish line.
“They're banged up a little, but they're going to be OK,” Horsemen's Park General Manager Greg Hosch said. “They're scheduled to ride again (Sunday).”
Eads scores again in final race
Fans could do worse than wager on jockey Jason Eads in the final race of the day.
On Friday, Eads brought home $45.40 winner Quality Mirjah in the sixth. He repeated that effort in the last race Saturday, getting $21.20 winner Early Final to the wire first.
Bozo quits clowning, scores first win
Bozo, a 7-year-old gelding, snapped his 34-race losing streak by capturing the third race.
The horse grabbed the lead in the stretch and went on to win by a length. He paid $11.40 to win the six-furlong race.
Jockey Damon Leeds won a pair of races, capturing the first aboard Diva in Training and the third with Bozo. Other winning riders were Luis Robletto, Luis Ranilla, Fackler and Eads.
In addition to Coughlin (twice) and Cranwell, winning trainers Saturday were Bob Mitzner, Merel Moore and Sue Wiley.
The rail remains a place to avoid. For the second straight day, there were no winners from the No. 1 post.
If your lucky number is 3, you could have had the late Pick 3. The winning combination of 3-3-3 was worth $71.90.
— Mike Patterson