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Lady Fifty Two answers distance question, scores victory in $65,000 Washington Oaks | Emerald Downs
For the Reporter
California invader Lady Fifty Two snatched Emerald Downs' richest and most prestigious event for 3-year-old fillies Saturday, edging clear for a 1½-length victory over Mylast Sweet Pea in the $65,000 Washington Oaks.
With Leslie Mawing riding at 120 pounds for Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, Lady Fifty Two ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.21 and paid $3.80, $2.40 and $2.10.
A Kentucky-bred daughter of Kodiak Kowboy-K.D.'s Shady Lady, Lady Fifty Two is 3-0-3 in nine starts with earnings of $83,352, including $35,750 for the Oaks victory. Lady Fifty Two is co-owned by Hollendorfer, Dr. Mark Dedomenico of Redmond and Dr. George Todaro of Seattle.
Mylast Sweet Pea, ridden by Gallyn Mitchell at 120 pounds, set the pace to the head of the stretch, but was out finished through the lane and settled for a second-place check worth $13,000. The second betting choice at 5-to-2, Mylast Sweet Pea paid $2.40 and $2.40.
Champagne Gal, a Canadian shipper ridden by Alex Bisono at 120 pounds, was 4¾ lengths back in third place and paid $3.20 to show. Sunpenny, Quiet Wisdom, Cheeky Stone and Papa's Flashy Girl rounded out the order of finish.
Although seven horses raced, the Oaks pretty much was a match race between Lady Fifty Two and Mylast Sweet Pea.
Hustled to the lead, Mylast Sweet Pea set fractions of :24.17, :48.57 and 1:12.61 for six furlongs, and maintained a slim advantage as the fillies straightened for home. Lady Fifty Two, however, was practically glued to the front-runner from the bell, and she finally made her move into the lane, and gradually edged clear while drifting a bit through the stretch.
"The horse had been running short races, so if this horse was going to get tired I was going to make sure it was when she was near the lead," Mawing said. "I know how Jerry (Hollendorfer) trains and he always has them fit. When it's time to get a horse ready, he'll have the horse ready.
"He told me to hustle her out of the gate, find a good spot and use my own judgment. We were coming past the quarter-pole and I knew I had a little more horse than (Mylast Sweet Pea). I'm happy to win this race for (Jerry). I hope he sends more horses up to Emerald Downs."
Indeed Lady Fifty Two had never raced beyond six furlongs, a situation that Mitchell hoped to exploit aboard Mylast Sweet Pea.
"I thought there might be a couple of other horses that would go to the lead with me, but (Mylast Sweet Pea) is versatile, and the kind of filly that it doesn't matter where she's at in a race.
"She relaxed so well, but maybe too much," Mitchell added. "I had to nudge her a bit on the backside and then she moved right into a nice stride and ran a great race. She tried to come back on in the stretch but I could see the winner was gone. When we get to the Washington Cup without any shippers, she'll get her due."
With Lady Fifty Two winning the Oaks, this season's 3-year-old filly division produced four different winners*City by the Bay, Find Your Spot, Ole's Miss and Lady Fifty Two. The first three winners all missed the Oaks for various reasons, however, and Lady Fifty Two shipped in to fill the void.
Club's super geldings wins again
Dancing Yodeler evidently loves Emerald Downs.
The 6-year-old gelding – owned by Emerald Racing Club and its 128 members – charged from last place and scored a two-length victory in Saturday's ninth race for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs.
With Mawing up for his fourth win on the card, Dancing Yodeler ran six furlongs in 1:09.69 and paid $4.40 to win. Larry and Sharon Ross are the trainers.
In his last three starts, Dancing Yodeler has two wins and a second-place finish, and is 2-1-1 in five starts overall for Emerald Racing Club with earnings of $9,265.
Mawing's four-win day increased his lead to 70-52 over Rocco Bowen atop the jockeys' standings. He also leads Bowen 7-3 in the stakes standings and has won five of the last six stakes races, all on different horses for different trainers. ... Juan Gutierrez also had a big day with three victories and is fifth in the standings with 36 wins. ... Howard Belvoir led the trainers with two wins. ... Gallant Son ($15.20) came off the bench for a tenacious victory in the $50,000 Jess Jackson Owners' Handicap at Santa Rosa. The 8-year-old gelding, trained throughout his career by Frank Lucarelli, ran five furlongs in :56.85 on firm turf to defeat Ain't No Other by a head. Voted Emerald Downs' champion 2-year-old in 2008, Gallant Son is 11-5-6 in 39 starts lifetime with earnings of $552,278 for owners Chris Randall and Nick Rossi. ... Live racing continues Sunday with the $65,000 Emerald Downs Derby for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles. Noosito (8-to-5) and Del Rio Harbor (9-to-5 ) are the morning line favorites in the meet's top event for sophomore colts and geldings. First post is 2:15 p.m. ... Nominations for the $200,000 Longacres Mile (Grade 3) will be released Sunday. The 79th running of The Mile is Sunday, Aug. 24.