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Country Rules captures feature | Emerald Downs
For the Reporter
Country Rules held off Perfect Night and then survived a stewards' inquiry for a 1¼-length victory Saturday in the $18,900 feature race for 3-year-olds and up at Emerald Downs.
Ridden by Jose Zunino, Country Rules ran 5½ furlongs in 1:02.72 and paid $5.80, $3.40 and $2.80. Dan Markle trains Country Rules for owners/breeders Sue and Tim Spooner.
Hustled to the lead from the No. 1 post-position, Country Rules set fractions of :21.75, :44.48 and :56.39 en route to the victory. The winner drifted about through the stretch, causing the stewards to open an inquiry, but they made no change in the order if finish.
Perfect Night, ridden by Jennifer Whitaker, finished strongly inside to gain second place and paid $5.20 and $4.
Prayer for Da Bric, with Isaias Enriquez riding, finished third and paid $3.40 to show. Belt, the 9-to-5 co-favorite, finished fourth and was followed by So Legit and Atta Boy Lucky.
A 4-year-old Washington-bred gelding by Tribal Rule, Country Rules is 3-1-1 in eight career starts with earnings of $41,195, including $10,395 for Saturday's triumph.
Country Rules has demonstrated talent the last two seasons at Emerald Downs, finishing a close fourth in the WTBOA Lads Stakes as a 2-year-old, and defeating triple stakes winner Mike Man's Gold in an allowance sprint last summer. In the latter race, Country Rules drifted out in the stretch and was placed second for interference.
Vegas Burn ($3.60) prevailed by a nose in race five to become the meet's first three-time winner. Owned and trained by Jeff Metz, the 4-year-old California-bred gelding previously won on April 13 and April 20. ... Metz had three wins and leads Frank Lucarelli 18-10 in the trainers' standings. Metz has saddled multiple winners on five of the first eight racing days. ... Rocco Bowen rode two winners and leads Leslie Mawing 16-12 atop the jockeys' standings. ... Metz and Bowen have already combined for 13 victories including wins Saturday with Vegas Burn and ninth race winner Supreme Ballerina ($3.20). ... Trainer Jim Penney also had two wins Saturday. ... The 140th Kentucky Derby was simulcast between races four and five at Emerald Downs, and with California Chrome ($7) becoming the first California-bred winner since Swaps in 1955, it was fitting that Cal-breds Montelena ($11.80) and Vegas Burn scored wins immediately before and after California Chrome. ... Jockeys Jorge Rosales and Luis Gonzalez notched their first wins of the meet, Rosales guiding Wind a Flyin ($11.80) to an 11-length victory in race two and Gonzalez guided Carl Command ($15.40) to a neck win over Surprise Sale in race seven. A 4-year-old Oregon-bred, Carl Command is 3-for-5 lifetime, winning at odds of 9-1, 3-1 and 6-1. Surprise Sale had won three straight including a pair of victories at Golden Gate. ... EmD 2013 champion 2-year-old filly Chu and You finished last as the 7-2 second choice in the $50,000 Ross McLeod Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Hastings Racecourse. Ole's Miss ($18.90) prevailed by a neck over 7-to-10 favorite Arabella's Muse in 1:17.16 for 6½ furlongs. ... Live racing continues Sunday with first post 2 p.m.