Two 92-Year-Old Trainers Win Friday!

92-year-old trainers Arturo Arboleda (pictured above) and Don Munger (pictured below) each scored a victory Friday night at Emerald Downs.

92-year-old trainers Arturo Arboleda (pictured above) and Don Munger (pictured below) each scored a victory Friday night at Emerald Downs.


AUBURN, Wash. (Sept. 2, 2016) – In what has to be a first in North American racing, two different 92-year-old trainers—Don Munger and Arturo Arboleda—won races Friday evening at Emerald Downs.

Munger won the opener with Jima, a 3-year-old Nacheezmo filly that led gate-to-wire under Leslie Mawing and paid $9.20 to win.   And Arboleda won the fourth race with Cozzabi, a 4-year-old Devine Cozzene gelding that rallied from last under Leonel Camacho-Flores and paid $21.40 to win.

Munger, born December 11, 1923, was honored last weekend after winning his 100th career race at Emerald Downs. He has over seven decades in the sport, and is among a handful of trainers to win at least one race all 21 seasons at Emerald Downs.

Arboleda, born April 19, 1924, has been a long shot specialist this season at Emerald Downs, with all five of his winners paying at least $20 to win. He hast at least one victory in 19 of 21 seasons at Emerald Downs.

In fact, over half the winners on the seven-race card were saddled by trainers at least 80 years old. Sophie Dopey ($4.80) won race seven for 88-year-old Bob Meeking and Cash N Dash ($7.20) prevailed in race five for 80-year-old Neil Knapp.


Perfect Night remained razor-sharp Friday with a front-running victory under Jennifer Whitaker in the $11,500 BetAmerica Purse for 3-year-olds and up.

A 7-year-old Washington-bred gelding by Cahill Road-Share the Knight, Perfect Night ran 6 ½ furlongs in 1:17.15 and paid $6.80, $3 and $2.80. Howard Belvoir is the winning trainer and co-owner with Dixie Hitchcock.

Perfect Night shook off Ready Set Jet into the stretch and held off a late charge by Mister Breeze, the 8-5 betting favorite, for the victory. The younger brother of 2008 Longacres Mile winner, Perfect Night is 4-10-6 in 31 career starts with earnings of $96,797.

It was a big night for Whitaker, Belvoir and Hitchcock, as they also teamed with 2-year-old gelding A Smooch for Me ($3.20) for a 8 ½-length victory in race two.

NOTES: Belvoir’s two wins thrust him into contention for the 2016 training title. With six days remaining, Blaine Wright leads with 35 wins, followed by Jeff Metz with 34, and Belvoir and Frank Lucarelli with 31 each. . .Whitaker is No. 8 all-time with 460 wins at Emerald Downs, with 317 of the wins on horses trained by Belvoir. . .Always Macho’s victory in Friday’s third race gave John Parker sole possession of first place in the owners’ standings with 10 wins, while four other owners remain tied for second at nine wins apiece. Parker will be at Del Mar Sunday as Gold Rush Dancer is 8-1 in the $300,000 Del Mar Derby (G3) on turf. The 14-horse field is wide open with Lucky Bryan a lukewarm 9-2 morning line favorite. . .Rocco Bowen drew a rare blank Friday, but still leads Leslie Mawing 98-69 in the jockeys’ standings. . .Live racing continues Saturday with first post 2 p.m.