POLACCO PREVAILS AS EMERALD DOWNS LAUNCHES 2023 SEASON
AUBURN, Wash. (May 6, 2023) – The speedy Polacco held off Dirt Road Red under the hot-riding Kevin Radke in the $16,000 feature race Saturday as Emerald Downs opened its 28th season of live racing with a seven-race card that shared billing with the 149th Kentucky Derby simulcast.
Opening a six-length lead on the turn, Polacco was fully extended to hold off a hard-charging Dirt Road Red by a nose while covering 6 ½ furlongs in a brisk 1:14.69 and returning $9.80 as third choice in the wagering. Jill Soranno is the trainer for owner Carter James, who claimed the 4-year-old gelding two races ago for $5,000.
A Kentucky-bred by Bluegrass Cat, Polcaco has reeled off four straight victories in 2023 and is 6-0-0 in 12 starts overall with $56,336 in earnings.
Dirt Road Red, the 3 to 2 betting favorite ridden by Luis Negron, capped a strong first day for newcomers Justin Evans and Negron. The leading trainer three straight years in Phoenix, Evans and Negron combined for a win and a second in two starts, scoring with Atomic Candy ($3.60) in race five and finishing second with Dirt Road Red.
Coming off a strong 2022 season in which he won 77 races including five stakes, Radke doubled on opening day with Vintage Kitten ($5) and Polacco.
NOTES: Total mutuel handle was $966,793 on a seven-race card. . .Vintage Kitten ($5) prevailed in the 2023 season opener under Radke for trainer Jennifer Nunnally and co-owners Nunnally and Michael Messing. A 6-year-old Kentucky-bred, Vintage Kitten ran a mile in 1:37.29. . .The track was posted good the first three races and upgraded to fast for the final four races. . .Defending training champion Jorge Rosales scored with his first starter in 2023, saddling Double Perfection ($4.20) to a victory under newcomer Alexis Valdes. . .Silvio Amador also rode his first Emerald Downs winner Saturday. . .Racing resumes Saturday, May 13, with a 2 p.m. post.