O B HARBOR TRIUMPHS IN MT. RAINIER STAKES, OAK CREST FARM POSTS TWO MAMMOTH UPSETS
It appears O B Harbor has taken the baton from Stryker Phd at Emerald Downs.
Sunday, the 4-year-old Oregon-bred rocket to a powerful two-length score over Dedicated to You in the $50,000 Mt. Rainier Stakes for 3-year-olds and up, and is clearly the horse to beat in the 81st renewal of the $200,000 Longacres Mile (G3) on Sunday, August 14.
Ridden by Jose Zunino at 124 lbs, O B Harbor ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.05 and paid $4.60, $3.40 and $3.20 as a slight favorite over Stryker Phd. Chris Stenslie is the winning trainer for owner Jody Peetz of Issaquah, Wash.
Two-time defending Longacres Mile champion Stryker Phd, bidding for a third straight victory in the Mt. Rainier, finished a non-threatening fourth. It was the first out-of-the money finish in 18 career starts here for Stryker Phd, and the 7-year-old faces an uphill battle in his quest to become the first three-time winner of The Mile.
In a brazen display of speed, O B Harbor set fractions of :22.82, :45.06, 1:09 flat and 1:34.35, en route to his fourth win in as many starts at the current meet. Remarkably, in each race O B Harbor has run the fastest time of the meet at the distance, beginning with a 5 ½ furlong allowance win April 10 and continuing with stakes wins in the 6 ½ furlong Governor’s Stakes, one-mile Budweiser Stakes and 1 1/16-mile Mt. Rainier Stakes.
“I can’t believe how O B Harbor can maintain his speed in a mile race,” Zunino said. He went fast early, but he kept going. He’s got a big heart and he’s a nice horse.”
O B Harbor joined Barkley as the only triple stakes winners at the meet and has history on his side heading into the Longacres Mile. Seven of the last 10 Longacres Mile winners tuned up with a victory in the Mt. Rainier Stakes.
Dedicated to You, a 24-1 long shot ridden by Eswan Flores at 118 lbs, finished second and paid $15.60 and $12.60, while It’s Allabout Jerry, the longest shot on the board at 41-1, rallied for third and paid $17.60. Stryker Phd, Betrbegone, Coach Royal and The Sandman completed the order of finish.
By Harbor the Gold-Flying Memo, O B Harbor is 6-1-2 in 11 career starts with earnings of $133,191 and is 4-for-4 at the meet with $94,050 in earnings.
SO LUCKY PREVAILS IN EMERALD EXPRESS, THE CHILLI MAN SUFFERS FATAL INJURY
Mile Preview Day—four stakes including a pair of juvenile sprints—began in heartbreaking fashion as The Chilli Man was pulled up on the turn and later euthanized after sustaining a lateral sesamoid fracture of his right rear leg.
It was a devastating development for owner Heidi Nelson, trainer Monique Snowden and jockey Joe Steiner, as The Chilli Man had been sensational in his debut last month and was a prohibitive 2-to-5 favorite Sunday. However, things were amiss from the get-go.
“He didn’t come out of the gates well, and he didn’t feel good to me down the backside,” Steiner said . “When he took a bad step, I knew I had to pull him up. It just breaks my heart when that kind of stuff happens.”
So Lucky wound up the gate-to-wire winner by three lengths under Rocco Bowen, running 5 ½ furlongs in 1:03.16, and paying $7, $4 and $7.
Saddling his record sixth winner of the Emerald Express, Howard Belvoir is the winning trainer for owners Pegasus Too and Rising Star Stable.
Unbeaten in two starts, So Lucky earned $24,750 to increase his bankroll to $34,925.
Mixo, a first-time starter for Oak Crest Farm and trainer David Martinez, easily finished second and paid $10.60 and $24, while Don’tbeshywillie finished third and paid $22.20. The $2 show prices were enormous as The Chilli Man accounted for over $142,000 of $166,000 wagered to show.
DEBUTANTE KARULA STUNNINGLY GOOD IN ANGIE C
Oak Crest Farm and trainer David Martinez enjoyed an amazing afternoon, including a stunning performance by first-time starter Karula in the $50,000 Angie C Stakes for 2-year-old fillies.
The lone debutante in a field of 11, Karula overpowered her rivals and romped to an 11-length victory in 1:02.72 for 5 ½ furlongs, over two ticks faster then colts and geldings a race earlier in the Emerald Express.
With Javier Matias riding, Karula earned $25,384 and paid a stakes record $65.20 to win.
Karula set fractions of :21.91, :44.39 and :56.39 while opening a commanding eight-length cushion, and padded her lead in the final furlong.
Matias, who has been getting on Karula in workouts, said he encouraged the owner and trainer to take a shot in the stakes.
“I was worried a little bit because she was a first time starter,” Matias said. “In the beginning she showed me a lot of speed and a lot of class, and I was waiting up until a couple weeks back for Karula to be entered but it wasn’t happening.
“And then I told the trainer, ‘Let’s go for it, because she’s a special filly. I think she’s going to make it,’ and she made it. I like this one too much. I think this filly is going to just get better and better. She’s so special to me so far.”
Blazinbeauty, ridden by Isaias Enriquez, finished second and paid $14.60 and $9.20, while 56-1 Camano Comet held third and paid $15.20.
Let’s Mambo, Getting Joellenned, No Talking Back, Constant Craving, Myladysabitshady, Paddy’s Secret, Grace Bay and It’s a Girl Thing completed the order of finish.
For Matias and Martinez, who also saddled first-time starter Mixo to a runner-up finish in the Emerald Express, the fun was just beginning. They would come back 30 minutes later and take down the $50,000 Boeing Stakes with 23-1 Guinevere’s Finale, who also is owned and bred by Oak Crest Farm.
GUINEVERE’S FINALE PREVAILS IN BOEING STAKES
Jack and Theresa Hodge of Oak Crest Farm added a second winner Sunday as Guinevere’s Finale rallied for a three-quarter-length victory over Morning Coffee in the $50,000 Boeing Stakes for older fillies and mares.
Ridden by Matias at 119 lbs, Guinevere’s Finale ran one mile in 1:36.06 and paid $48.20 to win. It was the first stakes victory for the 5-year-old mare and improved her career ledger to 6-1-2 in 16 starts with earnings of $116,656.
Morning Coffee finished second at 15-1 and Chronologic’sghost was third at 21-1, and the $0.50 trifecta paid $2,772.25.
“In this race, she surprised me,” Matias said of Guinevere’s Finale. “She ran really good for me this time, it was a tough race going against fillies that have run in California and everywhere else.
“When you have a good day, you just say keep going, and everything has gone really well so far. So, I’m happy for that. The feeling is so great to win two stakes races in one day.”
Curly Girl, Locket, Alli Leigh, Ethan’s Baby, B C Z Middleton, Estellara, Chocolatier, She’s Reddy and Peppy Miller completed the order of finish.
The $65,000 Emerald Distaff is next for older fillies and mares. The 1 1/8-mile race shares the bill with the $200,00 Longacres Mile (G3) on Sunday, August 14.
NOTES: In a $21,500 sub-feature for 3-year-olds and up, Trick Or Retreat ($9.60) nailed long shot Westley in the final strides for his second straight victory under Erick Lopez, running one mile in 1:36.09 for trainer Doris Harwood and owners Mark Malnati and Robert McKay. The winner, also by Harbor the Gold, is a 5-year-old Washington-bred. . .Rocco Bowen rode another three winners and now leads Leslie Mawing 65-47 atop the riders’ standings. It was Bowen’s eighth triple of the meet and he has at least one win on 11 straight cards. . .In addition to David Martinez’ stakes double, leading trainer Jeff Metz had a second straight two-win day and leads Frank Lucarelli 28-25 in the trainers’ standings. . .Sunday’s mutuel handle of $2,087,629 was a season-high and up over 75 percent from the corresponding day last year. . .Live racing resumes Friday with a seven-race program at 6:30 p.m.