Emerald Downs Wrap-Sunday, June 2

Papa’s Golden Boy and jockey Carlos Montalvo


AUBURN, Wash. (June 2, 2024) – Papa’s Golden Boy picked up right where he left off when last seen here two years ago, blazing to a one-length victory over Prisoner in Sunday’s $27,000 Muckleshoot Casino Purse for 3-year-olds and up at Emerald Downs.

Ridden by a red-hot Carlos Montalvo, Papa’s Golden Boy ran 5 ½ furlongs in a meet-fastest 1:01.89 on a sloppy track and paid $20.20 as the second longest price in a stellar field of seven older horses. Vince Gibson is the trainer for Lusk Racing of Puyallup, Wash.

Racing for the first time in 18 months, the 8-year-old gelding showed his elite speed, setting fractions of :21.40, :43.02, and :55.05, shaking three lengths clear of Prisoner into the stretch and holding sway to the wire.

In an emotional winner’s circle, co-owner Kyle Lusk tipped his cap to the venerable gelding, who was voted Washington’s Top Older Horse in 2021 and Champion Sprinter in 2021 and 2022.

“It’s a dream come true to see him come back like this,” Lusk said. “We weren’t sure how he was going to come back, that was amazing.”

Papa’s Golden Boy had remarkable run in 2021 and 2022, winning four stakes including three sprints and a triumph over Slew’s Tiz Whiz in the 2022 Muckleshoot Tribal Classic. In the 2022 Longacres Mile, Slew’s Tiz Whiz and Papa’s Golden Boy produced the only all Washington-Bred exacta in 28 runnings of The Mile at Emerald Downs,

Papa’s Golden Boy’s life record improved to 9-5-0 in 26 starts with earnings of $245,186, including a $15,390 payday on Sunday.

Prisoner, the even-money favorite ridden by Karlo Lopez, held second by 1 ½ lengths while Tax Code, with Alex Cruz riding, finished third. Slew’s Tiz Whiz finished with a late rally for fourth while Coastal Kid, Golden Ale, and Mor Tequila rounded out the order of finish.

For two-time defending Washington Horse of the Year Slew’s Tiz Whiz, it marked his first start since his win in the Muckleshoot Tribal Classic last September.

Prisoner, an easy winner in his Emerald Downs debut two weeks ago, finished second for the first time in a 22-race career. The 6-year-old gelding is now 11-1-1 in 22 starts.

The $50,000 Budweiser Stakes at six furlongs is next for older horses on June 23, followed by the $50,000 Governor’s Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs on July 21. The 89th Longacres Mile is Aug. 11, with a purse of $150,000.

NOTES: Sunday’s mutuel handle totaled $947,177 on a nine-race card. . .Eight of Sunday’s winners paid between $14.56 and $23.62. . .Carlos Montalvo’s three winners Sunday paid $15.62, $23.62, and $20.20. Montalvo and Karlo Lopez are the only jockeys with three-win days at the meet. . .Through 10 days of racing, Lopez and Alex Cruz are knotted atop the standings with 10 wins each. . .Justin Evans tops the trainers’ standings with 10 wins. . .Vhagar ($6) in the ninth was the lone favorite to visit the winner’s circle. . .The $0.50 Pick 5 carryover is $15,307 to Friday night. . .Lapush ($23.62) upset Special Diva in a $25,500 allowance for 3-year-old fillies, running six furlongs in 1:09.35 under Montalvo for Tom Wenzel and owner James Carlin. . .Newcomer Kiaman McGregor and trainer Jack McCartney swept the early daily double with Mr Love Muffin ($15.78) and Club Mesquite ($18.70). A native of Jamaica, McGregor began his riding career in Florida last year and rode six winners this spring at Turf Paradise. . .2023 claimer of the meet Dirt Road Red ($14.56) returned to the winner’s circle with a front-running score under Brayan Pena for Candi Cryderman and owner John Parker ($14.56), running a mile in a meet best 1:35.33. . .Trainer Shawna Christian chalked up her first Emerald Downs win in race seven, saddling Rhodium Runner to a $19.08 upset. . .The track was labeled wet-fast in races one through three and sloppy races four through nine. . .Racing resumes Friday with first post 7 p.m.