Emerald Downs Wrap-Thursday, July 23

Juan Gutierrez aboard 2000th winner Semi Sweet


AUBURN, Wash. (July 23, 2020) – Washington Hall of Fame Jockey Juan Gutierrez recorded the 2000th win of his riding career Thursday at Emerald Downs, rallying Semi Sweet from last for a $15.60 upset in the opener.

In fact, Gutierrez swept the first three races on the 11-race card and was choked up in a post-race interview with Joe Withee.

“I feel really good, and it’s an emotional moment for me,” he said. “Getting 2,000 wins is great, I always try to be consistent. You can’t do something like this without the help of the owners, trainers, grooms and everybody else on the backstretch.”

A 50-year-old native of Jalisco, Mexico, Gutierrez has 1,388 wins at Emerald Downs and is only 31 wins away from equaling Gallyn Mitchell’s all-time track record 1,419 wins.

A study in consistency, Gutierrez notched his first Emerald Downs’ win April 28, 2000, and during one stretch recorded 13 straight top five finishes in the standings. He captured the 2012 riding title with 117 wins and twice won the Grade 3 Longacres Mile, including a record $122 upset on No Giveaway in 2005.

The 2,000th victory came via a picture-perfect rail-skimming ride, as Semi Sweet overhauled 7 to 5 favorite Gazing past midstretch and drew off by 3 ½ lengths. Gutierrez followed up with victories on Mr. Takahashi ($6.20) and Daffodil Sweet ($3.20) in races two and three, piloting the latter to an easy triumph in the $18,500 allowance feature for fillies and mares.

A 3-year-old Ministers Wild Cat filly, Daffodil Sweet has been awesome in her two starts, scoring by 8 ¾ and 7 ¾ lengths for trainer Chris Stenslie and owners One Horse Will Do Corporation and Steve Shimizu. Thursday, she covered six furlongs in 1:10.62 and powered through the stretch for the victory.

NOTES: Daffodil Sweet became the meet’s fifth double winner, joining Missed the Boat, Papa’s Golden Boy, Valid Prince and Omache Kid. The latter notched his meet-leading third win Wednesday. . .Mr. Takahashi now has 19 career victories including seven at Emerald Downs. . .Jake Samuels and Eddie Martinez rode two winners each. . .Through 10 days of racing, Gary Wales and Alex Cruz are tied for first atop the jockeys’ standings with 16 wins apiece. . .Frank Lucarelli and Jorge Rosales both had training doubles and Lucarelli tops the standings with 10 wins. . .Champ Pegasus returned a meet-high $70 to win in race 11 after Cooler Than You was disqualified for interference in the stretch. . .Live racing resumes Wednesday, July 29, with first post 2:15 p.m.