BARKLEY REMAINS UNBEATEN WITH COCA-COLA TRIUMPH
Barkley remained undefeated with a rousing come-from-behind victory over rival Mach One Rules in the $50,000 Coca-Cola Stakes for 3-year-old colts and geldings Sunday at sweltering Emerald Downs.
Barkley finished a neck in front of Mach One Rules, running one mile in 1:35.88, and paid $5.60, $2.60 and $2.20. Javier Matias rode the winner at 124 lbs for Washington Hall of Fame trainer Howard Belvoir and co-owner Rising Star Stable III.
The race was virtually a replay of last month’s Auburn Stakes, as Barkley dropped back on the turn and re-rallied through the lane to nab Mach One Rules in the final yards. Considering that horses on the lead dominated Sunday’s card, the victory was even more impressive yet.
“My horse broke good but there was a slow pace so I just let him run a little in the first turn to stay close,” Matias said. “I knew the leader had some horse left so we got closer but then (William Crotty) came up and we were between horses.
“We went around and had to go wide but when I asked him he dropped his head and started responding. I kept after him to catch the leader and he was responding and I let up on him right before the finish and he closed down, knowing he won the race. He’s a real classy horse.”
Unbeaten in five starts including three stakes, Barkley earned $27,500 to push his bankroll to $104,775.The winner is a Kentucky-bred colt by Munnings-Numero d’Oro and cost $21,000 at the 2014 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
Mach One Rules, ridden by Leslie Mawing at 120 lbs, paid $2.40 and $2.10 for place and show. The runner-up is now 4-2-0 in six career starts with earnings of $113,826,
Mach One Rules set fractions of :24.77, :48.56, 1:12.41 and 1:24.10, but was caught in the final strides. “I couldn’t have done anything different,” Mawing said. “He was calm before the race and we wanted the early lead which we got pretty easy. We got a slow pace, too, and he responded when horses came to him.
“I take my hat off to the winner. He just beat us. They’ve got a nice horse over there.” Access This, ridden by Julien Couton at 118 lbs, finished third, paid $2.20, and was followed by Super Hawk, William Crotty and Party for One.
NOTES: Archie Graham finished fourth in his second start for Emerald Racing Club in race nine for older $15,000/$12,500 claimers. Oldtimers Vision ($11.60) prevailed in 1:35.66 under Eswan Flores for owner/trainer Neil Knapp. . . .Juan Gutierrez scored three consecutive gate-to-wire victories in races in races five, six and seven with victories on Fooled Again ($4.20), Ducoti ($7.40) and Secret Harbor ($7.40). . . .A 9-year-old mare Ducoti ($7.40) notched her 16th career win and her 13th at Emerald Downs. . .Trainer Bill Tollett saddled Ducoti and Secret Harbor to the back-to-back wins in races six and seven. . .Javier Matias and Howard Belvoir had two wins each, including the Coca-Cola Stakes with Barkley. . .Live racing resumes Friday with first post 6:30 p.m.