Emerald Downs Wrap-Saturday, September 23

Mike Man’s Gold, Rocco Bowen & Joe Toye


AUBURN, Wash. (Sept. 23, 2017) – Mike Man’s Gold continued his winning ways Saturday and gave trainer Joe Toye a milestone victory in the $13,000 Muckleshoot Casino Purse for 3-year-olds and up at Emerald Downs.

With Rocco Bowen riding, Mike Man’s Gold cruised to a 3 ¼-length victory—running six furlongs in a swift 1:08.29—and gave Toye his 1,000th career victory.

For Mike Man’s Gold, it was his fifth victory of the season and 17th of his career, and capped a near-perfect evening for Toye. Earlier Saturday, the veteran trainer was honored with the 2017 Martin Durkan Award emblematic of leadership, cooperation, sportsmanship and excellence on and off the track.

“I just can’t believe it, I couldn’t have scripted it any better than this,” Toye said in the winner’s circle. “(Mike Man’s Gold) is an amazing horse, he lays his body down every time.”

Toye is finishing his finest season at Emerald Downs. His two wins Saturday boosted his season total to a career-high 36 wins, which ranks second only to Blaine Wright in the 2017 trainers’ standings.

Moreover, Toye is clicking at an astronomical 31.3 percent wins this season and has combined with owners Greg Conley and Chuck Conley for 15 wins in 29 starts. Five of those wins are with Mike Man’s Gold, whose victory Saturday gave the 7-year-old gelding a 5-0-2 record in seven starts with $52,125 in earnings at the meet.

A Washington-bred by Liberty Gold, Mike Man’s Gold is 17-5-7 in 48 lifetime starts with earnings of $296,347. All 17 wins are at Emerald Downs, and perhaps Mike Man’s Gold can take aim at West Seattle Boy’s track record 21 wins.

“He’ll get the winter off, and come back here next year,” Toye said of Mike Man’s Gold.

Saturday’s victory was purely push-button, as Mike Man’s Gold stalked Ozark Daredevil through fractions of :21.71 and :44.26, pounced to the front into the lane and cruised home 3 1/4 lengths clear of Botch.

“I’ve ridden a whole lot of great horses here, but this is definitely one of my favorite horses,” Bowen said of Mike Man’s Gold.

NOTES: Toye notched victory No. 999 when Solemnly Swear dead-heated Ain’t Tellin’ for the victory in race seven. It was the second dead-heat for win in as many racing days at Emerald Downs. . .Bowen and Julien Couton dominated the action with three wins apiece on the nine-race card. . .Bowen has 125 wins in 71 days, and Saturday’s triple was his 39th multiple win day this season. . .Toye and Frank Lucarelli led the trainers with two wins each. . .Owner John Parker notched his meet-leading 21st win as Assets Included ($4.60) prevailed in race five. . .Saturday’s fourth race for maiden 2-year-olds produced all sorts of boxcar payoffs including a track record payout for a $1 exacta. First-time starter Gentle Prince prevailed at 21-1 under Eswan Flores while Crest Drive finished second at 70-1 and Check and Raise was third at 12-1. The $1 exacta (8-10) paid $2,358.90,  and breaking the previous mark of $2,317.80 set by Salty Season-Another Bar Fly on August 28,1998. Crest Drive’s $59.20 place payoff is the largest of the season and second largest in track history, exceeded only by a $63.20 place payoff by Making Fire on May 31, 2015. The $1 trifecta paid $3,827.30, also a season-high. . .Live racing continues Sunday with closing day of the 72-day meeting, featuring the $65,000 Gottstein Futurity for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles. First post is 2 p.m. and includes an $8,085 carryover with a mandatory payout in the $0.20 Pick 7.