DIAMONDS DENA PREVAILS FOR HOT ORTIZ BARN, $6,285 CARRYOVER IN $0.20 PICK 7 ON SATURDAY
Trainer Manny Ortiz appears ready for another big season at Emerald Downs.
Ortiz—14-for-47 last year in his first season here—is one-for-one in 2016 as Diamonds Dena got a rail-skimming ride from Jake Barton and scored a three-quarter-length victory over betting favorite Idling in Friday’s $11,500 BetAmerica Purse for older fillies and mares.
Diamonds Dena ran one mile in 1:37.24 and paid $8.80, $5.20 and $3.40.
A 5-year-old Kentucky-bred by Northern Afleet, Diamonds Dena has six wins from 22-lifetime starts with earnings of $56,147 for owners Ortiz, Ezra Lee Craig, and Thomas Glasgow. Her Emerald Downs record is a glossy 4-1-0 in six starts with earnings of $33,715.
Ortiz, 65, trains in Phoenix during the winter and spring, and finished 14-for-91 at the Turf Paradise meet that concluded last week.
Idling, the 8-5 favorite ridden by Rocco Bowen, also rallied from far back to finish second and paid $3.40 and $2.20.
Another Winter, ridden by apprentice Osvaldo Gonzalez, led to mid-stretch but weakened late to finish third and paid $4.60 to show.
Lizzy Lass, Sometimes a Lady, Stephanie Plum and Wise completed the order of finish; Emeraldcity Kitten was scratched earlier in the day.
For the third straight racing day there were no tickets with all seven winners in the $0.20 Pick 7, and the carryover is $6,285 to Saturday’s races three thru nine.
NOTES: Jockey Eswan Flores rode his first Emerald Downs winner Friday, guiding Coming in Hot ($12)to an easy victory in race one for trainer Chris Stenslie. A 22-year-old native of Tepatitlan, Mexico, Flores has 192 career wins, including a sensational apprentice campaign at the 2011-12 Santa Anita Winter/Spring Meet, when his 54 wins ranked fourth to Joe Talamo, Rafael Bejarano and Joel Rosario. . .Trainer Jack McCartney also notched his first Emerald Downs wins Friday as Geldautomat ($28.60) came off the bench to prevail in race five under Francisco Duran. . .Stenslie and owner Jody Peetz enjoyed a big night with two wins: Coming in Hot in the opener and Gotta Be Diet C ($10.20) in race four. In fact, Stenslie finished first and second in the fourth with Gotta Be Diet C defeating 55-1 long shot Magic Question, the latter returning a meet-high $42.40 to place. . .Rocco Bowen rode three winners on the seven-race card—his fourth triple of the meet—and leads Leslie Mawing 23-21 in the jockeys’ standings. . .Song of Ekati, a 3-year-old filly out of 2009 Emerald Downs’ champion older filly or mare Clair Annette, registered a $36 upset in her career debut for trainer Mark Glatt and owner Rodney Orr Friday at Santa Anita. By Tale of Ekati, Song of Ekati sold for $37,000 at the 2014 WTBOA Summer Yearling & Mixed Sale. . .Live racing resumes Saturday with a nine-race program at 2 p.m. A simulcast of the 141st Preakness Stakes with unbeaten Nyquist is between races four and five at Emerald Downs.