EMERALD DOWNS DERBY
79th RUNNING, JULY 31, 2016
1 1/8 MILES IN 1:47.92
JOCKEY DAVID G. LOPEZ, OPPORTUNISTIC, FIRST: “He’s growing up mentally. He won very impressively last time even with no pace when he made a big move in the turn. It was a surprise in the race before. And today, we were looking forward with him, we knew he could run. I was a little concerned to be in a spot I didn’t want to be, but I was stuck between horses and I said, “What am I doing here?” But, you know how the race went, he showed he was brave and good enough to win the race. I was a little worried because I was a nose in the front, but it’s hard to keep your position with Barkley because Barkley can run. I didn’t want to think about it, just keep going, and he really showed me he can run. The horse surprised me today, and he’s going to get better every race, but he really ran well today.”
JOCKEY JAVIER MATIAS, BARKLEY, SECOND: “He always tries, like today. But the whole way I was so wide, because I got taken wide (by Huya and Mach One Rules). I didn’t have chance to save a little ground, and I still lost the race, but Barkley ran so good for me like always. That’s horse racing, you know? You win like that and you lose like that. I can’t complain about it. He’s a great racehorse, and I got second place. At this point, he went six-for-six and then he lost. Yesterday in California the big horse (Beholder) ran second, so it happens that way sometimes. I think Barkley’s going to be okay for next year.”
JOCKEY LESLIE MAWING, MACH ONE RULES, FOURTH: “I was sitting off the lead, and then I finally got the lead but Huya was coming after me pretty hard. But when I broke, he just didn’t grab a hold of the bit. I hustled him, and I hustled him, and he still didn’t grab hold. So I said, ‘Okay, we’ll just do it at your pace right now, for the first part,’ and finally on the backside, he grabbed a hold of the bit. I thought I was sitting in a good spot, but at the head of the lane, I got crowded by Barkley on one side and Opportunistic on the other side, I just think we just ran even from there. I was in the perfect spot. I just wish he gave me a better kick down the lane, but he just didn’t have it today, so that’s horse racing.”
NOTES: Opportunistic (7-3-0-0-$87,827). . .Barkley (7-6-0-0-$149,275). . .Mike Puhich has back-to-back wins in the Emerald Downs Derby-Prime Engine (2015), Opportunistic (2016). Puhich also won the Longacres Derby with He’s a Cajun (ridden by Wesley Ward) in 1988. . .Dr. Mark Dedomenico also has back-to-back EmD Derby wins-Prime Engine (2015) and co-owner with Glen Todd of Opportunistic (2016). . .David G. Lopez has four stakes wins at EmD, this is his first Emerald Downs Derby victory. Riding mainly for North American Thoroughbred Racing Co., Lopez is 7-for-57 this season at Hastings Racecourse. . .This was the final open stakes for 3-year-old colts or geldings, although there is a $50,000 Washington Cup race for state-breds at one mile on Sunday, August 28.