(Auburn, Wa) Four $50,000 Stakes races were on tap at Emerald Downs on Sunday. It was a big day for 2-year-olds with the Emerald Express for the boys and the Angie C for the girls. The Boeing Handicap for older females was the 7th race and the 8th the Mt Rainier, the final local prep for the August 14th Longacres Mile. It was to feature a re-match between the formidable Stryker Phd, O B Harbor and Betrbegone.

Below is our coverage of all 4 races with results, interviews and pictures.

The Mt Rainier Stakes

The 4th Stakes of the Day was the most anticipated with the re-match of O B Harbor and Stryker Phd. Stryker Phd was coming off a 3rd place finish in his season debut in the Budweiser Handicap, 2 lengths behind O B Harbor who held off both Stryker Phd and Betrbegone.

The bettors were split down the middle with both O B Harbor and Stryker Phd going off as 6-5 co-favorites. O B Harbor would end up being the slight favorite with just a few dollars separating the 2. Betrbegone was a solid 3rd choice at 9-2.

Gates open in the Mt Rainier Stakes
Gates open in the Mt Rainier Stakes

As the gates sprang as expected O B Harbor took command and set the pace under regular rider Jose Zunino. Betrbegone was sitting in the garden spot just behind as Stryker Phd trailed as usual. O B Harbor would pull out by 3 lengths down the backstretch and push it to 4 lengths by the top of the stretch. Betrbegone had enough and started backing up while Stryker started to wind up from far back. It looked like Stryker Phd was set to make his patented stretch run moving into 2nd place chasing Harbor but Stryker’s gas tank went empty, he hung and faded to 4th as 2 longshots, “Dedicated to You” at 24-1 with Eswan Flores running on for the place and 41-1 “It’s All about Jerry” taking 3rd.

O B Harbor will not be caught!
O B Harbor will not be caught!

Zunino said he is amazed at the pace O B Harbor can run around 2 turns, he just keeps running the more I ask him. Harbor crossed the line with 2 lengths to spare  and in a time of 1:41:05 for trainer Chris Stenslie and the Owners The One Horse Will Do Corporation.

O B Harbor earned $27,500 for the win and returned $4.60. The 50-cent trifecta returned a healthy $174.00 thanks to the 2 longshots and the 10-cent Superfecta paid $96.99 with 2 6-5 shots in the equation. The all-stakes pick-4 paid big with only 1 favorite and 2 huge longshots and a 2nd favorite $3, 432.35 went to those who had the winning combination 4-8-6-1 on the 50-cent ticket.

The next step for O B Harbor will be the Longacres Mile on August 14. Stryker Phd could not win his 3rd straight Mt Rainier and appears to have some work to do if he wants to become the 1st horse ever to win 3 straight Mile’s.

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The Boeing Handicap

A full field of 12 went postward in the Boeing and the wide open field would bring the 2nd big longshot to the winner’s circle with familiar connections. Jack Hodge’s Oak Crest Farms would start Guinevere’s Finale with Jockey Javier Matias under the care of David Martinez about 30-minutes after this same team shocked in the Angie C with Karula at 31-1.

Guinevere's Finale explodes on the rail to win the Boeing
Guinevere’s Finale explodes on the rail to                                 win the Boeing

The public passed on Guinevere’s Finale as well letting her off at 23-1. Matias drop G-F to mid-pack breaking from the 6-hole in the Mile race. Matias allowed Estellara set the early pace and pulled away to a clear lead down the back stretch. As Guinevere’s Finale approached the far turn Matias stayed on the rail and when they swung for home the inside opened up and G-F fired down the stretch to win by 3/4’s of a length catching Morning Coffee who had swung around the early leaders at the top of the stretch with Erick Lopez aboard and finished with good run.

Chronologic’s Ghost with Anne Sanguinetti at 21-1 also closed well taking the show while Curly Girly at 5-1 finished 4th. Guinevere’s Finale returned $48.20 on the $2 win. The 50-cent tri was a signer for $2,772.25 and a 10-cent super ticket with the numbers 6-11-5-3 was good for nearly $1,200.

Matias says he had to make a decision on the far turn whether to stay on the rail or look for room to the outside. Matias says in that situation you have to make a choice and on a good day it will work out, on a bad day you’ll get shut off. Matias said today “was a very good day”.

Jack Hodge & David Martinez
Jack Hodge & David Martinez

Hodge told us G-F was her mother’s Guinevere’s last foal and she has made Mama proud. This was only the 5-year-old’s 16th start and ended in her 6th win and first Stakes win. Hodge says they have been careful with G-F and placing her in positions where she could be successful. She has finished in the money 9 out of the 16 starts and pocketed $27,500 and pushed her career earnings over 100k.

Morning Coffee with Erick Lopez aboard has been running at Hastings after a stint in Southern Cal at Santa Anita. Trainer Rosan Anderson shipped the Whieldon Thoroughbreds owned filly to Emd for the Boeing and it paid off with the solid 2nd place run.

The next race for older females is the Distaff also set for August 14th on Longacres Mile Day.

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The Angie C Stakes

A first time starter at 31-1 certainly fooled the public but did not surprise her owner Jack Hodge. Karula got a great start after a lengthy gate loading process and quickly cleared the field by a length and that would as close as the other 10 horses would get as the daughter of Colonel John just extended her lead with virtually every stride under jockey Javier Matias.

Karula pulling away turning for home
Karula pulling away turning for home

Matias let out the rein a bit heading into the turn and led by 3 then pushed it to an 8-length lead at the top of the stretch and finished while adding even more distance winning by 11 lengths. 15-1 Blazinbeauty took 2nd and was more than a length clear of 56-1 shot Camano Comet and rounding out the Superfecta was Let’s Mambo at 10-1.

The winning connections would gather again with another longshot winner after the Boeing Stakes but this race was all Karula’s. Owner Oak Crest Farm with trainer David Martinez sent Karula postward for the 1st time in the Angie C Stakes and they certainly placed her well.

Karula finishing off an 11-length win
Karula finishing off an 11-length win

Hodge told us with 2-year-olds he likes to be patient and make sure they’re ready to run. Karula stuck out to him because of how she has handled herself in all aspects of her training. He said the maturity she showed convinced them she was ready to run and at a high level and she did not disappoint.

Blazinbeauty took the place spot for the 2nd straight time in her career under Isaias Enriquez. Condition Frank Lucarelli sent 3 postward in the Angie C including odds on choice Paddy’s Secret. Jockey Leslie Mawing had Paddy’s Secret forwardly placed chasing Karula to the top of the stretch and weakened to finish 9th. Blazinbeauty sat off the pace and passed Camano Comet inside the 16th pole and finished with a good effort. Camano Comet ran a solid even effort and was clearly 3rd best in the 11-horse field under Ronald Richard.

The big numbers on the tote board fooled the bettors with no one correctly selecting all 4 in the Superfecta. The 10-cent Super paid out an astounding $3,095.45 for correctly picking only the 1st 3 finishers 8-5-1. The 50-cent trifecta was also huge paying out nearly $3,500. Karula returned $65.20 on the $2 win and the $1 exacta was good for $670.

Karula earned $27,500 in her first career start.

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The Emerald Express

High expectations were doused by tragedy in the 1st Stakes race of 4 in a row. The Chilli Man was expected to romp after destroying the field in his career debut on June 26th by more than 11 lengths in a blistering time of :50:1 over 4 and half furlongs. The performance sparked the interests of outside buyers and it was rumored The Chilli Man would be sold in a private sale after this race somewhere between 300-400 thousand dollars. Would be buyers were in town to witness first hand the Chilli Man’s 2nd career start in the Emerald Express.

So Lucky in control late in the stretch
So Lucky in control late                 in the stretch

The connections of So Lucky also had high expectations who won his career opener in promising fashion with a gate to wire win over 5 furlongs in a time of :57:1 with Rocco Bowen aboard. This race was no different and Bowen bounced So Lucky out of the gate quickly and built a 4 and 1/2 length lead before heading into the turn. So Lucky was being chased from the get-go by Mixo with Javier Matias.

The Chilli Man in the Post Parade
The Chilli Man in the Post Parade

The 2 would run 1-2 all the way around. Meantime, the 2-5 favorite The Chilli Man got off a step slow and jockey Joe Steiner felt something was wrong from the start. Steiner didn’t panic or rush The Chilli Man but when he reached the top of the stretch The Chilli Man took a bad step and Steiner pulled him up and out of the race. Later it was determined The Chilli Man suffered a fractured rear leg and had to be euthanized.

Meantime, So Lucky had gotten the jump and was gone. Mixo held off Don’tbeshywillie ridden by Jennifer Whitaker and Sum Candy finished 4th.

The Chilli Man also took down a bridge jumper as there was more than $166,000 in the show pool with $142,000 on the favorite. So Lucky who went off as the 2nd favorite at 5-2 paid as much to show as the win return, $7. Mixo returned $10.60 to place but $24.00 to show and Don’tbeshywillie $22.20 to show.

Pegasus Too and the Rising Star Stable owns So Lucky with long time veteran trainer Howard Belvoir handling the impressive 2-year-old. Belvoir says he was a little concerned about running So Lucky just 2 weeks after his 1st ever race but he showed so much maturity felt he had to give him a chance and it paid off.

Winning Trainer Howard Belvoir with Vicki Potter
Winning Trainer Howard Belvoir                    with Vicki Potter

Belvoir says he was saddened to hear what happened to The Chilli Man but believed So Lucky was up for the challenge and felt the race was over when gates sprang and he got such a fast start. Meantime, Mixo ran a solid race in his 1st career start. Mixo jump started quite a remarkable day for the Oak Crest Stable, trainer David Martinez and jockey Javier Matias. Their final stat line for the day was 3 starts in 3 different Stakes races with 2 wins and 1 second.

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By paulb

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