Riser Captures Emerald Downs Derby

Riser chased home by Aqua Frio (4) and More Power to Him


AUBURN, Wash. (July 30, 2017) – Riser proved he could handle a classic distance with an authoritative 1 ¼-length victory over Aqua Frio in the $75,000 Emerald Downs Derby for 3-year-old colts and geldings Sunday at Emerald Downs.

Ridden by Eswan Flores at 122 lbs, Riser ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.41, and paid $4.40, $2.60 and $2.10 as the betting favorite. Blaine Wright, winning his sixth stakes of the season, is the winning trainer for owner Jared Chappell of Sugar City, Idaho.

Aqua Frio, ridden by Isaias Enriquez at 122 lbs, edged More Power to Him by a head for second, and gave Wright his third straight exacta in this year’s 3-year-old division: Riser defeated Aqua Frio in the Coca-Cola Stakes, Aqua Frio edged Riser in the Seattle Slew, and Riser turned the tables in the Derby.

“I never envisioned Riser going a route when we first got him, but our entire staff has done a great job with this horse, especially (assistant) Coco Lopez, ” Wright said. “I told Jared this was the time to try going long and it worked out.

“Aqua Frio, what can you say about him? He’s a tough little horse.”

Becoming the first Ohio-bred to win the Derby, Riser blazed through fractions of :22.99, :45.80, 1:09.78 and 1:35.71, and entered lane with a two-length advantage. Riser shook off Monydontspenitself in mid-stretch, and held off Aqua Frio and California invader More Power to Him for the victory.

“He travels really easy, he goes :45 and change and he’s very comfortable,” Flores said of the winner. “It’s not easy to go a mile and en eighth and have something left, but he’s a warrior.”

The triumph, Riser’s third in four starts at the meet, was worth $41,250 and virtually clinches honors as the track’s champion 3-year-old male of 2017. A gray colt by Mizzen Mast, Riser’s overall record is 4-1-0 in eight starts with earnings of $106,095.

While Riser compiled two wins and a second in the four-race series, Aqua Frio had a win, two seconds and a fourth. Owned by Peter Redekop, the Uncle Mo colt is 3-7-1 in 12 starts overall with earnings of $151,450.

More Power to Him, with Rocco Bowen aboard at 122 lbs, was rolling late and just missed second place. The Slew’s Tiznow colt now has six stakes placings and over $180,000 in earnings, but is still looking for his first stakes win.

Monydontspenitself, routing for the first time in his six-race career, tracked Riser for nearly a mile before giving way, and Sharkzilla finished fifth.

Distortedatthebar was scratched earlier in the day.

Erick Lopez wins Jockey Foot Race

NOTES: Wright also won the fifth race with Blame It On Royce ($4.60) and tops the standings with 36 wins and six stakes wins. . .Flores tops the jockeys’ stakes standings with three wins. . .Riser is only the fourth favorite in 22 years to win the Derby, and the fifth to lead gate-to-wire. . . Jockey Francisco Orduna-Rojas scored his maiden victory aboard Triple G ($18) for trainer Jason Homer in Sunday’s second race. Orduna-Rojas had been 0-for-24 at Emerald Downs and 0-for-55 lifetime before the win aboard the 3-year-old Harbor the Gold colt. Way to go, Francisco!. . .Rockport Birdie ($7.80) made it five straight wins and also became the meet’s first five-time winner with an authoritative victory in race three for trainer Vince Gibson and owner Paul Johnson. A 6-year-old Rockport Harbor mare, Rockport Birdie has wins this season for trainers Charles Essex, Candi Tollett, Bill Tollett and Gibson. . .With Rockport Birdie’s win, Gibson became the 14th trainer with 300 career wins at Emerald Downs. . .Erick Lopez romped in the 2017 Jockey Foot Race to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, and over $4,000 in donations was raised for the PDJF. . . Kevin Orozco finished second in the Foot Race, but became dehydrated and was off his remaining mounts including Aqua Frio in the Emerald Downs Derby. . .In a rare double disqualification, the first and third-place finishers in the $18,500 sub-feature for 3-year-olds—Double A. Prospect and Buckley Bay—were both taken down following a trainers’ objection and Candy for Three ($20.80) was promoted from second to first place. . .With three winners reaching double digits, the $0.50 Pick 5 paid $6,953. . .Live racing resumes Friday with first post 6:30 p.m.