Sharkzilla Explodes In Auburn Stakes

Sharkzilla (yellow silks) collars So Lucky


AUBURN, Wash. (May 14, 2017) – Sharkzilla rallied from the clouds and tagged So Lucky in the final yards for a one-length victory Sunday in the $50,000 Auburn Stakes for 3-year-old colts and geldings at Emerald Downs.

Rallying from last in the eight-horse field, Sharkzilla ran six furlongs in 1:08.92 under Erick Lopez and paid $37, $14.20 and $7.40. Candi Tollett—winning her first stakes race at Emerald Downs—is the winning trainer for owner John Parker of Lake Bay, Wash.

Purchased for a paltry $1,200 at the 2015 Barretts January Sale, Sharkzilla earned $27,500 for Sunday’s victory and is 2-2-2 in seven lifetime starts with $70,134 in purses. The winner, a California-bred colt by Distorted Reality, finished third as a maiden in the 2016 Gottstein Futurity and was coming off a runner-up finish in a starter allowance last month at Golden Gate Fields.

So Lucky, ridden by Rocco Bowen, did everything but win the race. The 2016 state champion 2-year-old set blistering factions—21.25, :43.41 and :55.76—and was still three lengths clear past mid-stretch and just failed to last. So Lucky, third choice in the wagering at 5-2, paid $5 and $3.80.

Sure Sweet, longest shot on the board at 43-1, finished third under Lorenzo Lopez and paid $10 to show, and Aqua Frio, Keller’s Gold, Seau, Monydontspenitself and Shot Gun Gary rounded out the order of finish.

Sharkzilla was about 10 lengths behind So Lucky as the field circled into the stretch, and a victory appeared improbable.

“I knew we’d be coming late,” said Lopez, whose previous Emerald Downs stakes win was aboard Estellara in the 2016 Hastings Stakes. “But he really exploded in the stretch. He really kicked it in.”

Tollett and Parker were understandably jubilant in the winner’s circle.

“He didn’t surprise me today,” Tollett said of Sharkzilla. “He’s developed like a good horse.”

Next for 3-year-olds is the $50,000 Coca-Cola Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs on Sunday, June 4.

Night racing this Friday

NOTES: Rocco Bowen had an eventful afternoon of riding, racking up three wins along with a second on So Lucky in the Auburn and a DQ aboard Mr. Branching Out in race three. . .Apprentice Kevin Orozco also rode three winners Sunday including a $43.60 surprise aboard Sugar Morning in Race 10. . .After 16 days of racing, Bowen leads Orozco 26-19 in the standings, followed by Eswan Flores with 15 wins. . .Mayor Nancy Backus served as honorary steward for the Auburn Stakes. . .Bowen and Tom Wenzel combined for their 50th win at Emerald Downs as Double A. Prospect ($12.60) led gate-to-wire for a maiden win Sunday’s fifth race. Bowen and Wenzel have combined for 14 stakes wins at Emerald Downs including eight by Stopshoppingdebbie. . . Trainer Joel Yarbor collected his first career Emerald Downs’ victory as Where’s My Voucher ($9.80) was promoted from second to first when Mr. Branching Out was disqualified for interference on the backstretch in race three. . .Trainer Jeff Metz had two wins Sunday and was denied a third via disqualification in race three. . .Live racing resumes Friday with first post 6:30 p.m. and includes carryovers of $12,612 in the $0.50 Pick 5 and $2,703 in the $0.20 Pick 7. . .Next weekend features a pair of stakes races, Saturday’s $50,000 Hastings Stakes for older fillies and mares and Sunday’s $50,000 Governor’s Stakes for 3-year-olds and up. .