(Auburn, WA) It was a big day at Emerald Downs with 6 Stakes races on tap and total purse money of $300,000. In our coverage today we have coverage of all 6 races with photo galleries in order in which they ran.
Washington Cup 2-Year-Old Colts & Geldings Stakes
So Lucky was the horse to beat in this race and the public knew it. So Lucky also attracted a bridge jumper and had
more than $100,000 bet on him to show. Rocco Bowen would take the Howard Belvoir trained horse right to the front. Bowen would let So Lucky relax headed into the far turn and he would get some pressure from Keller’s Gold who pulled within a half length. Once So Lucky hit the top of the stretch Bowen let him go and he drew off to win by 9 lengths.
Belvoir was a bit nervous when he saw Bowen take hold of him on the far turn saying although this was his 4th race So Lucky is still a baby and you never know how they are going to react. Bowen admitted he thought he had by far the superior horse and wanted to see how he would handle some pressure. Bowen says he handled it just like he thought he would and was clearly the best.
Keller’s Gold would run a solid 2nd with Jose Zunino aboard while So Lucky’s stablemate Don’tbeshywillie ran on for 3rd with Jennifer Whitaker, Satellite Storm finished 4th and Mixo would take 5th after suffering a broken rein, Mixo’s chances were lost early in the race.
So Lucky is now 4-o with 3 straight Stakes wins and now has earned nearly $88,000. So Lucky races for the Pegasus Too and Rising Star Stables. Belvoir says So Lucky will likely go in the Gottstein Futurity on closing day, September 11th. So Lucky will likely be turned out after the Futurity.
So Lucky returned $2.40, $2.10 and $2.10.
Washington Cup 2-Year-Old Fillies Stakes
Just like the Wa Cup for Colts, jockey Rocco Bowen had the ride aboard another odds-on choice Risque’s Legacy.
Bowen wasted little time again bursting to the lead and kept the rest of the field at arm’s length for a relatively easy win. Bowen told us this was Legacy’s 2nd start and she is still learning so there was no experimenting happening in this race, it was simply get to the lead and let her do her thing.
10-1 shot No Talking Back with Leonel Camacho-Flores closed well to finish 2nd while 27-1 longshot San Juan Star with Leslie Mawing aboard ran well almost hanging on for 2nd but settling for 3rd in her Stakes debut. Risque’s Legacy returned $2.40, $2.10 and $2.10.
Risque Legacy is owned by Karl Krieg. Krieg says Legacy is a carbon copy of her Mom Risque’s Humor who Kreig had to put down after she suffered leg and feet injuries after being turned out. Kreig says his Vet told him he thought Humor may have injured herself in her last race before being laid off but no doubt her hard running on a hard surface on the farm certainly aggravated the condition.
With that experience in his history, Kreig was wary of running Legacy just 15 days after her Maiden debut win but was convinced by his trainer Tom Wenzel that she was at the top of her game. Wenzel known for his conservative nature was no doubt convinced Legacy was ready to run. Kreig says Risque’s Legacy may run one more time this year with his eye on a race at Santa Anita on October 23rd. A decision will be made at a later time on that race but Kreig says there are no plans on any other races in her 2-year-old campaign.
Risque’s Legacy is now 2-0 with earnings of more than $35,000.
Washington Cup Fillies & Mares Stakes
This was a day for odds-on choices and in this 1 1/16 test for fillies and mares saw another dominating performance.
Ethan’s Baby was the 3rd straight odds-on choice and the 3rd straight front runner to cruise to an easy win. Jockey Leslie Mawing was concerned that Knight Club down in the 1 hole would put pressure on the front end.
Erick Lopez instead decided to take Knight Club back leaving Ethan’s Baby on the lead all by herself. Mawing was relieved to see this tactic and knew he could control the pace and had plenty left when they hit the top of the stretch to pull away for an easy 3 length win after building a 6-length advantage at the 1/8th pole.
Maggie’s Special with Rocco Bowen made a nice late run but was no threat. Bowen was thrilled with Maggie’s run down the stretch while Knight Club held on for 3rd. Ethan’s Baby returned $2.80, $2.20 and $2.10.
Todd and Shawn Hansen own and bred Ethan’s Baby at their Tenino ranch. Shawn Hansen says it has been a tough year for Ethan’s Baby running 2nd in 3 straight races and 2 Stakes races while running 7th in the Boeing in her last outing. Ethan’s Baby bounced back with the win Sunday and it may be her last race. Hansen says they wanted her to finish her career with a win and would have likely sent her to the gates another time if she had not won on Washington Cup day. Hansen says she wouldn’t totally rule out running Ethan’s Baby again but it’s more likely she is headed for the breeding shed.
Washington Cup 3-Year-Old Stakes
The 4th odds-on choice in a row was looking for redemption after a season of disappointment. Mach One Rules had
been knocking heads with the Howard Belvoir trained Barkley all season long and coming up short each time. Mach One Rules finished 2nd to Barkley in the Auburn, Coca Cola and Seattle Slew Stakes losing by a head, a neck and then a head. The 2 would show down a 4th time in the Emerald Downs Derby where Barkely would suffer his 1st career defeat but not by Mach One Rules who finished 4th, it was Opportunistic who finally got Barkely.
On Sunday it looked like Mach One Rules may finally get to the Winner’s Circle for trainer Frank Lucarelli and owners the REV Racing Group but Belvoir had another Ace up his sleeve in a horse named “The Press”.
As they broke from the gate in the 1-mile event The Press under Javier Matias went right to the front with pressure from Face Valued while Mach One Rules was hung out wide on the 1st turn. Leslie Mawing then had to make a decision on Mach One Rules and gunned him to the lead circling the field. Matias and The Press decided to let those two battle it out and fell back to 4th place as Huya rolled past him down the back stretch to join the fray.
Matias kept The Press in a stalking position all the way around the far turn as the front end battle took it’s toll with Huya and Face Valued both falling off as Mach One Rules emerged and took a 3-length lead at the 1/8th pole. Matias swung off the rail and found a hole between the tiring Faced Value and Huya and ran down Mach One Rules at the wire to win by a neck and once again frustrate Mach One Rules and his connections.
Belvoir, the owner and trainer of The Press, had nothing but great things to say about his horse and the ride Matias gave him. Belvoir says it had been a tough season for The Press because he didn’t want to run him head-to-head with Barkley so the number of opportunities to run him were limited. Belvoir said the way the race played out he is ultra impressed that The Press was able to give up the lead, stalk and then close again for the win. He said it was a truly professional run by a quickly improving horse and a dead on ride by Matias. The win also gave Belvoir his 2nd Stakes win of the day.
The public may have made Mach One Rules the favorite but they did not dismiss The Press as he went off as the 5-2 2nd favorite. The Press nearly doubled his career earnings to more than $50,000 while Mach One Rules added another 9k to his 128k lifetime earnings but remained shut out for the 2016 campaign finishing the season with 4 2nd place finished and a 4th.
Washington Cup 3-Year-Old Filly Stakes
Although the string of odds on favorites winning was snapped in the previous race it quickly got back to the top pick
heading to get their picture taken. In the 3-year-old Filly stakes it was 4-5 My Heart Goes On turn to dominate. Jockey Juan Gutierrez was in full control of this 1-mile race taking the lead from the start and never relinquishing the lead for the win.
In fact the race was what one would call a merry-go-round race with My Heart Goes On breaking 1st and winning the race, Three Forks Gold broke 2nd and finished 2nd while Trinni was 3rd at the beginning and she finished 3rd. The win for My Heart Goes On caps a season of close finishes but coming up short. She had run 5 times this season with 1 2nd, 1 3rd and 3 4th place finishes. She had run in 4 Stakes races, the 5th was the charm in this case.
My Heart Goes On topped 100k in career earnings for owners Coal Creek farm and got trainer David Martinez a stakes win on Washington Cup day.
Washington Cup Muckleshoot Tribal Classic
In the finale of Washington Cup Day fan favorite Stryker PHD would take his final shot at breaking through in what
would be a disappointing season. Stryker PHD had not crossed the finish line first yet in 2016 after piling up the accolades over the past several years including 2 straight Longacres Miles.
Stryker PHD had raced 3 times finishing 3rd in the Budweiser, 4th in the Mt Rainier and 5th in the Mile. Fans did not give up on PHD and made him the 6th straight odds-on choice of the day at 4-5. Regular rider Leslie Mawing did not panic and rode Stryker as always dropping him back and looking to make his big run on the far turn.
This race played out the complete opposite of the previous race which saw the top 3 break and finish in order. In the Muckleshoot Tribal Classic the top 3 finishers came from the back including Stryker PHD who rolled over the top of the front-runners on the far turn and pulled away to an easy 5-length victory. 45-1 outsider Grinder Sparksaglo finished strong for 2nd while Westly made a solid run to finish 3rd.
It was the perfect ending on a perfect day for Stryker’s trainers Larry and Sharon Ross. The soft spoken couple not only celebrated a big win to wrap up Cup day but they were celebrated by the racing industry and were inducted into the Washington State Horse Racing Hall of Fame.
Larry Ross says although Stryker did not have the success in his 7-year-old season as he had in previous years he doesn’t believe he is done. The next step may be to take him to Golden Gate and put him back on the turf. Stryker PHD broke his maiden on the turf and Ross says it just may suit him as a closer and older horse to get back to his beginnings.
With the win Stryker PHD increased his career earnings to over $500,000 for owners Jim and Mona Hour but most of all he was able to get back to his old self and still remains one of the most popular fan favorites at Emerald Downs.