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Stryker Phd rolls to victory in $50,000 Mt. Rainier Handicap; Mile up next | Emerald Downs
For the Reporter
Stryker Phd became the clear-cut local favorite for the Longacres Mile with a stakes-record performance Sunday in the $50,000 Mt. Rainier Handicap for 3-year-olds and up at Emerald Downs.
Ridden by Leslie Mawing at high weight of 121 pounds, Stryker Phd rallied from far back to win going away by one length in 1:40.20 for 1 1/16 miles. Larry Ross is the winning trainer for owners Jim and Mona Hour of Bellevue.
The winning time broke the stakes mark of 1:40.52 set last year by Herbie D, who then became the fifth horse in eight years to sweep the Mt. Rainier Handicap and Longacres Mile (G3).
Based on his first two races this year – stakes record performances in the Budweiser and Mt. Rainier Handicaps – Stryker Phd rates an excellent chance to win this year's Mile.
A 5-year-old Washington-bred gelding by Bertrando-Striking Scholar, Stryker Phd earned $27,500 to increase his lifetime bankroll to $182,751. His overall mark is 4-4-4 in 15 starts, which includes a runner-up to Herbie D in last year's Longacres Mile.
Dontmesswithkitten, the pacesetter, held second pace and paid $17.40 and $8.40 for place and show. Rocco Bowen rode the 23-to-1 long shot at 115 lbs.
Disruption, a 13-to-1 shot ridden by Eliska Kubinova at 116 pounds, finished third and paid $6 to show. Shooting Jacket, Jebrica, Mr. Bowling, Somewhere With You, Worldventurer and Why Not Be Perfect completed the order of finish.
Adding luster to Stryker Phd's victory is the fact speed was dominant throughout Sunday's 10-race card. In the Mt. Rainier, Stryker Phd was the only closer to impact the race, as pacesetters Dontmesswithkitten and Disruption held second and third place.
Once again, Stryker Phd inhaled his foes on the last turn, rallied to the lead past mid-stretch and proved clearly best.
"He's been working great leading up to the race, we were confident," said Mawing, perfect in two rides aboard the gelding. "Once the race started, I was hoping I could just duplicate the trip he had in (the Budweiser Handicap).
"The pace seemed reasonable enough, I just had to stay patient and ask him at the right time. He's easy enough to rate, that's no problem. He's a powerful horse."
It remains to be seen which horses will invade for the Longacres Mile, but Stryker Phd clearly is the best local hope for this year's race.
In the $50,000 Emerald Express for 2-year-old colts and geldings, the flashy colt Trackattacker backed up his considerable hype with an 11-length romp in a stakes record 1:08.31 for six furlongs.
Ridden by Mawing at 120 pounds, Trackattacker – an overwhelming 1-to-20 favorite – paid $2.10, $2.10 and $2.10. Trackattacker accounted for $125,848 of the $129,636 wagered in the show pool.
Mawing – sweeping all three weekend stakes – rode Trackattacker for trainer Frank Lucarelli and owner Roy Schaefer of Port Orchard.
Unbeaten in two starts, Trackattacker earned $24,750 for Sunday's win. A Washington-bred by Harbor the Gold-Eclatante, Trackattacker won his debut by nine lengths and set a track record of :49.98 for 4 ½ furlongs.
"This horse had been training fantastic," Mawing said. "He's such a big horse that if you didn't know him, you'd think he was an older horse. Then you find out he's a 2-year-old. He's got a huge stride. You just want to let him do his own thing."
Breaking from post-position No. 4, Trackattacker set fractions of :21.86 for the quarter-mile and :44.12 for the half. The gelding opened a six-length lead into the lane and increased the advantage under a hand ride.
Monster Wave, ridden by Anne Sanguinetti, finished second, and Private Boss, ridden by Felipe Valdez, finished third. Bolshoi's Bluff, Moonee Beach and My Grandson rounded out the order of finish.
Isaias Enriquez and David G. Lopez also rode two winners on the 10-race card. ... With 43 of 75 days complete, Mawing owns a 60-49 lead over Rocco Bowen with defending champion Enriquez third with 39 wins. ... Lucarelli saddled three winners and closed to within eight wins of Jeff Metz in the trainers' standings. Metz leads Lucarelli 38-30, followed by Jim Penney with 15 wins. ... One of the Northwest's hardest trying mares scored her third win of the meet and 14th of her career as Clemens Brook ($4.20) prevailed in the $14,800 Movie Lovers Purse. A 7-year-old Washington-bred, Clemens Brook ran six furlongs in 1:08.64 under Jennifer Whitaker for owner Inittowinit and trainer Rigoberto Velasquez. ... Velasquez had two wins Sunday, as Dare Me Devil ($20.80) zipped 6½ furlongs in 1:13.97 to win race seven for older $15,000 claimers. ... 6-year-old California-bred mare Montelena ($8.40) prevailed in race six to become a triple winner at the meet for trainer/co-owner Martin Pimentel. ... Live racing resumes Friday with first post 6:45 p.m.