Royal Game takes the crown in Friday feature at Emerald Downs | Horse Racing

Royal Game and jockey Juan Gutierrez opened a long early lead and held off the closers for a 2 ¼-length victory Friday in the featured $11,500 Cascade Coffee Purse for older horses at Emerald Downs.

Royal Game splashed 6 ½ furlongs in 1 minute, 16 1/5 seconds on a sloppy track and paid $6.20, $3.40 and $2.40. Petra Lewin is the trainer for owners Rainbow Meadows Farm and Robert O’Neil.

The victory was the perfect gift for Lewin, who was in California helping to celebrate her mother’s 99th birthday. Joe Toye handled saddling chores at Emerald Downs.

Game Fever, ridden by Ricky Frazier, rallied for second place and paid $4 and $3. Passion Lives Here, Inoel Beato riding, finished third and paid $2.60.

Snow On the River, Bouncin Boomer and Knightofreckoning completed the order of finish. Private Jettz was scratched earlier in the day.

Royal Game needed 15 tries to break his maiden, finally earning a diploma with a nose victory two starts back on May 16. But the 4-year-old Game Plan gelding has speed, and he used it to great advantage Friday, opening a six-length lead while running the opening half-mile in :44 2/5. The lead was still five lengths after six furlongs in 1:09 1/5, and Royal Game pretty much coasted home from there.

Bred in California by his owners, Royal Game has won two of his last three starts and has an overall mark of 2-4-3 in 17 starts with earnings of $42,049.

News and Notes

• Second-race winner Bleu Tarp, ridden by apprentice Pedro Terrero, was disqualified and placed third for impeding third-place finisher Leroi Victor in the stretch run. Best Indy West ($18.60) and jockey Troy Stilwell were promoted from second to first place.

• Frazier and Gutierrez rode two winners each and Frazier maintained a five-win lead—50-45—over Gutierrez in the jockeys’ standings.

• Frazier’s wins were back-to-back for trainer Tim McCanna in the fourth and fifth races—Fisher Creek ($7) and Totalconsciousness ($4.40).

• Trainer Dan Markle celebrated his 61st birthday with a victory by Rovasco ($4.40) in the nightcap.

• Washington-bred first-time starter Social Event ($33.80) captured the first leg of Friday’s pick six at Hollywood Park. Felipe Valdez was the jockey for trainer Ed Moger Jr… Live racing continues Saturday as Emerald Downs presents its annual Fireworks Spectacular. Special first post is 5 p.m.; the fireworks show begins at approximately 10:15 p.m. Fans are advised to arrive early and stake out good seats—especially with a favorable weather forecast calling for sun and temperature in the low 70s.

• Bijou Barrister shoots for his eight straight victory while also attempting to become the meet’s first four-time winner in Saturday’s second race, a $17,500 claiming event for older horses at one mile.

• Vic-Tory Stables’ Highdleburg, fresh off a 22-to-1 upset in the June 18 feature race, returns at the same condition (3-and-up, $10,000 claiming, six furlongs) in Saturday’s eighth race. The seven-horse field includes the second and third-place finishers from the June 18 race —Maltese Tiger and Amante Mio—and 8-year-old Chickasaw Park, an 11-time winner who drops in class and adds leading rider Ricky Frazier.

• Emerald Downs Live airs 5-9 p.m. this Saturday only on Comcast SportsNet Northwest. Hosted by Joe Withee, the show normally airs 2-6 p.m. Saturdays.

• Autism Awareness, seventh in last year’s Longacres Mile, makes his first start of 2010 Sunday in the $50,000 Alamedan Handicap on closing day at Pleasanton.

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