O B HARBOR PREVAILS IN $50,000 BUDWEISER STAKES, STRYKER PHD RALLIES FOR THIRD IN 2016 DEBUT
O B Harbor continued his march toward stardom Sunday at Emerald Downs, powering to a half-length victory over long shot Betrbegone in the $50,000 Budweiser Stakes for 3-year-olds and up at Emerald Downs.
Stryker Phd—suffering his first defeat here since the 2014 Longacres Mile— finished third in his 2016 debut, rallying from far back under Leslie Mawing in a race dominated by the two front-runners.
Winning his third straight race at the meet including two stakes, O B Harbor ran one mile in 1:34.73 and paid $6.20, $4.40 and $4. Jose Zunino rode the winner at 124 lbs for trainer Chris Stenslie and One Horse Will Do Corporation (Jody Peetz, Issaquah, Wash.)
A 4-year-old Oregon-bred by Harbor the Gold-Flying Memo, O B Harbor earned $27,500 to increase his career bankroll to $105,691. His overall mark is 5-1-2 in 10 starts.
Betrbegone, ridden by Javier Matias at 120 lbs, gamely held second and paid $15.60 and $8.60. The state champion 3-year-old of 2015, Betrbegone has mixed in some magnificent efforts in his 10-race career including a 33-1 stunner in the 2015 Seattle Slew Stakes and a runner-up finish in the 2015 Emerald Downs Derby.
O B Harbor gained command from Betrbegone on the backstretch running six furlongs in 1:09.96, kicked 1 ½ lengths clear past mid-stretch, and held off a resilient Betrbegone in the final furlong.
“The horse did everything,” Zunino said. “He’s a speed horse, but when he relaxes, he can make it. Not too many speed horses can make it a mile.
“I’m so happy he made it today. It feels very good to get the win. Stryker Phd is a very nice horse and a famous horse here. I respect him a lot. Next time, he’ll be tough.”
Stryker Phd, the 3-2 favorite ridden by Leslie Mawing at 122 lbs, was about 12 lengths off the pace early, began picking off the back markers while inside into the last turn, angled out into the stretch and finished well for third.
“It was just his first race back,” Mawing said. “It’s just a combination of it’s the first race under his belt this year, and O B Harbor pretty much had an uncontested lead. He pretty much did his own thing on the front end. I thought Kaabraaj was going to put a little pressure, but he broke a little slow.
“But you know I was happy with Stryker’s run, everything was perfect. We had a perfect trip and we came up a little short today. O B Harbor was the best horse today.”
Stryker Phd earned $7,500 and moved into seventh place on Washington’s all-time list with earnings of $525,581. He also jumped ahead of Assessment into second place in Emerald Downs’ earnings with $476,976.
Stryker Phd, now 7 years old, has a chance to become the first three-time winner of the historic Longacres Mile (G3). The 81st running of the $200,000 classic is Sunday, August 14, while the $50,000 Mt. Rainier Stakes at 1 1/16 miles is the final Mile prep on Sunday, July 17. Stryker Phd rallied from last to win the race in 2014 and 2015 and, carried an eight-race Emerald Downs’ winning streak into Sunday’s race. His overall record is 9-5-6 in 23 starts including an 8-4-5 record in 17 starts at Emerald Downs.
Prime Engine finished fourth, followed by Dedicated to You, Absolutely Cool, Noosito, Kaabraaj, Thetrailerguy, Go Max and The Sandman.
NOTES: There were no winning tickets in the $0.20 Pick 7 and a record carryover of $27,717 is up for grabs Monday night at Emerald Downs. Monday’s Pick & encompasses the entire seven-race card. . .Ronald Richard rode two winners Sunday—St Nicholas Becky ($6.60) and Whiskeyonthehouse ($8.60)—and has 100 career wins at Emerald Downs. . .Rocco Bowen rode one winner Sunday to extend his lead to 43-36 on Leslie Mawing atop the jockeys’ standings. . .Frank Lucarelli, the track’s leading trainer of 2-year-olds in four of the last five years, has now saddled the first two juvenile winners in 2016, including a 1 ¾-length victory by Constant Craving ($19) in Sunday’s first race for $25,000 claiming 2-year-old fillies. A Kentucky-bred by Drosselmeyer, Constant Craving ran 4 ½ furlongs in :52.40. . .5-year-old mare Diamonds Dena ($14.40) improved to 5-for-7 at Emerald Downs with a victory over even-money favorite Seeking the Light in race five for $15,000 claiming fillies and mares. Trainer Manny Ortiz saddled Diamonds Dena and third-place finisher Cup of Soup. . .It was a big day for 1`5-year-old broodmare Winning Weave, the dam of fourth-place winner Dallon’s Gold ($6.40) and first-place runner-up Weaveittobeaver. A 2-year-old Abraaj filly, Weaveittobeaver opened a five-length lead but was caught late by Constant Craving. . .Live racing continues Monday with a special 20th-anniversary program featuring the $50,000 Washington State Legislators Stakes. Festivities begin at 6 p.m., with first race 6:45 p.m.