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Makors Finale edges Italian Boy in Emerald Downs Derby
Makors Finale led all the way and held off Italian Boy for a half-length victory Sunday in the $74,750 Emerald Downs Derby for 3-year-olds.
Ridden by Rocco Bowen at 122 pounds, Makors Finale ran 1-1/8 miles in 1:48.48 and paid $13.40, $6 and $2.80. Tom Wenzel is the trainer for owner/breeder Karl Kireg of Oak Harbor, Wash.
The victory was worth $41,250 and all but clinched the title for Makors Finale as Emerald Downs' Top 3-Year-Old of 2012. The chestnut colt by Makors Mark has three stakes wins at the meet*Auburn Handicap, Coca-Cola Handicap, Emerald Downs Derby – at distances of 6½ furlongs, one mile and 11/8 miles.
For Bowen, who picked up the mount only because Gallyn Mitchell is injured, it was his second stakes win and biggest victory at Emerald Downs. And he accomplished it on the front end while guiding Makors Finale through fractions of :22.73, :45.89, 1:10.08 and 1:35.26, maintaining a slight lead on Italian Boy throughout the nine furlongs.
"When I was a bug boy at Hastings I won a $100,000 stakes up there, but I still think this is the best race of my career," Bowen said. "All week I felt like I had ice water running through my veins, but last night I couldn't sleep very much. My mom told me before the race that I'd get a hat trick today, and she was right.
"Tom (Wenzel) told me to put the horse in front and lead every step of the way. I just made sure that we stayed in front and never let anyone get ahead of us. He fought the whole way. It was a great race."
Italian Boy, ridden by William Antongeorgi at 122 lbs, ran gamely to finish second and paid $3.40 and $2.20. The Seattle Slew Handicap winner had a four-race winning streak end, but Antongeorgi was proud of his colt's effort.
"He got hot before the race, but he always does so I wasn't worried," Antongeorgi said. "The way I envisioned the race is the way it played out. My horse settled nicely for me.
"I knew they'd send Makors Finale, so I just kept my horse within range. I had to start riding my horse pretty hard in the turn just to keep up with the winner. He was tired, but he ran the rest of the way with his heart. We just came up a little short today."
D'honorable One, the slight betting favorite ridden by Leslie Mawing at 122 lbs, was two lengths back in third and paid $2.20 to show. Faster Than Duke, Brady's Kat and Edge Forward completed the order of finish.
Makors Finale is 3-0-0 in four starts at Emerald Downs, and 5-4-0 in 11 starts overall with earnings of $135,852.
Bowen and Antongeorgi rode the top two Derby finishers and also were the day's riding stars with three victories each. Mawing had two wins and continues to chip away at leading rider Juan Gutierrez, who leads 77-73 after 18 weeks of the 24-week meeting.
Trainer Tim McCanna finished second with Italian Boy but still had a big day with three wins, and has pulled within three, 37-34, of Frank Lucarelli in the trainers' standings.
NOTES: Northwest Farms and trainer Tom Wenzel unleashed yet another fast filly Sunday as first-time starter Stopshoppingdebbie ran 5-½ furlongs in 1:02.97, won by seven lengths and paid $3.60 to win. The daughter of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin is a half-sister to Emerald Downs' champions Smarty Deb and Shampoo, and gives Northwest Farms three potential starters in the Aug. 26 Barbara Shinpoch Stakes for 2-year-old fillies. The NWF tandem of Goin to the Window and Blueberry Smoothie finished one-two in the Angie C Stakes last week... Donnybrook Stable's Smokin' Grey ($4) improved to three-for-five lifetime with an easy win in the eighth race, an $18,900 allowance for 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs. The daughter of Smoke Glacken ran six furlongs in 1:09.09 under Leslie Mawing for trainer Frank Lucarelli... Trainer Charles Gibson is back at Emerald Downs and saddled his first winner here since 2001 as R Samurai ($14.40) prevailed in race five... Live racing resumes Thursday with first post 6 p.m. Longacres Mile Week kicks off Wednesday, however, with the Post-Position Draw for the 77th running of the $200,000 Longacres Mile (G3)... Defending Mile champion Awesome Gem worked six furlongs on turf in 1:15-4/5 Sunday for trainer Craig Dollase at Del Mar, and top contender Gladding drilled six furlongs on Polytrack in a bullet 1:12-2/5 for trainer John Sadler... At Emerald Downs, Mile nominees Rocky's Quest, four furlongs in :49-1/5, and Slim Pickins, five furlongs in 1:00-3/5, had workouts for trainers Blaine Wright and Chris Stenslie*Happy Birthday to Emerald Downs' all-time leading rider Gallyn Mitchell, who turns 50 this Wednesday... Also Wednesday, Del Mar has a $0.50 Pick 5 carryover of $362,503 up for grabs beginning on the first race.