For the Reporter
Barkley and his big white face out finished millionaire Alert Bay and scored a 1½-length victory Sunday in the 83rd running of the $200,000 Longacres Mile (Grade 3) at Emerald Downs.
With Javier Matias riding at 120 pounds, Barkley charged between Alert Bay and Oh Marvelous Me to gain command past mid-stretch, and drew clear late for the victory. The winner ran the mile in 1:34.93.
A 5-year-old Kentucky-bred by Munnings-Numero d’Oro, Barkley earned $108,900 for his first graded win and sixth stakes victory overall. His career record improved to 9-4-1 in 17 starts with earnings of $351,800.
Howard Belvoir trains Barkley for owner Rising Star Stable III, a syndicate headed by Vicki Potter of Auburn.
For Belvoir, it’s his third win in the Northwest’s premier race, tying him with Jim Penney for most Mile wins at Emerald Downs. Penney, who died last year, is No. 1 all-time with five Mile wins, including two at the old Longacres.
Belvoir said Barkley’s Mile victory ranks among his biggest accomplishments in racing.
“This is way up there, and I might need a parachute to get down,” he said. “This is a good little horse. He was real slow about switching leads today, but once he did the race was over.”
Barkley represents the first Mile win for Matias, a 46-year-old Mexico City native who ranks among the Top 10 in virtually every major riding category at Emerald Downs, including 31 stakes wins. His previous best Mile finish was a second aboard Winning Machine in 2012.
“Whenever you have a short field things can happen,” Matias said in a jubilant winner’s circle. “This time I think I rode a pretty smart race, and the horse proved himself today. He won the race.”
Alert Bay, the 9-5 favorite ridden by Juan Hernandez at 121 pounds, ran a strong race off the bench for trainer Blaine Wright, and paid $3.40 and $2.80 for place and show.
A 7-year-old California-bred, Alert Bay earned $39,600 for owner Peter Redekop of Vancouver, B.C., and the City Zip gelding is 14-8-4 in 34 lifetime starts with earnings of $1,292,155.
Oh Marvelous Me, ridden by Julien Couton at 117 pounds, held third and paid $3 to show. Owned by Todd and Shawn Hansen of Tenino, Oh Marvelous Me is 6-3-3 in 13 starts at Emerald Downs.
Wright, who also trains Oh Marvelous Me, wound up finishing second and third in the Mile despite his current top gun, Riser, missing the race with injury.
Mach One Rules, Kaabraaj and Midwest shipper Conquest Windycity finished fourth, fifth and sixth.
Kaabraaj led early, as expected, setting moderate fractions of :23.47, :46.08 and 1:09.98, but was overtaken by Oh Marvelous Me into the stretch. Straightening into the lane, Oh Marvelous Me, Alert Bay and Barkley were three heads apart, and the stage was set for Barkley’s winning move. While Alert Bay drifted out a tad past mid-stretch, Barkley found his best stride and surged to victory.
Barkley joined Washington Hall of Famer Noosa Beach as the only horses in Emerald Downs’ history to win stakes at ages 2, 3, 4 and 5.
The Longacres Mile was the final leg of Sunday’s stakes quadruple-header, also featuring the $50,000 Emerald Distaff, $50,000 WTBOA Lads Stakes and $50,000 Barbara Shinpoch Stakes.
Reginella holds off Top Quality in Distaff
Reginella took command three-eighths from home and held off stable mate Top Quality through the stretch for a 2¾-length victory in the $50,000 Emerald Distaff for older fillies and mares.
Ridden by Juan Hernandez at 119 pounds, Reginella ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.68 and paid $11.60, $3.60 and $2.80. Blaine Wright – who dominated this year’s older filly and mare series – is the winning trainer for owners Luigi DiPietro of Seattle and Diana DiPietro of Tukwila.
A 4-year-old California-bred by Ministers Wild Cat-Ghost Tree, Ministers Wild Cat earned $26,675 to boost her bankroll to $131,642. Her overall record is 3-4-4 in 20 starts.
Wright capped an unprecedented feat with the victory, sweeping the four-race series with four different winners: Invested Prospect (Hastings Stakes), Alliford Bay (Washington State Legislators Stakes), Top Quality (Boeing Stakes) and Reginella (Emerald Distaff).
Top Quality, the 3-to-5 favorite, loomed boldly in mid-stretch but Reginella had energy in reserve for the victory. Ridden by Kevin Orozco at 122 pounds, Top Quality paid $2.20 and $2.10.
No Talking Back, ridden by Anne Sanguinetti, finished third and paid $3.80. A 4-year-old Washington-bred filly, No Talking Back is 2-1-2 in five starts at the meet including stakes placings in the Washington State Legislators, Boeing Stakes and Emerald Distaff.
Daz Lin Dawn finished fourth to give Wright three of the top four finishers in the Distaff, while Little Dancer, Blazinbeauty, Jerre to Carrie and Grace Bay completed the order of finish.
This Great Nation delivers massive Lads upset
This Great Nation — the longest shot on the board — out-finished Jack Van Berg and produced a mammoth upset in the $50,000 WTBOA Lads Stakes for 2-year-old colts and geldings.
Off at odds of 48 to 1, This Great Nation paid $98.40, $48.20 and $16.40; the $2 win payout is the largest in Lads Stakes history and fourth largest in Emerald Downs’ stakes history.
With Erick Lopez riding at 118 pounds, This Great Nation ran six furlongs in 1:10.84, finishing two lengths clear of Jack Van Berg.
A Washington-bred gelding by Nationhood-Great Mom, This Great Nation is trained by Felimon Alvarado for owner Art McFadden of Portland The winner – fourth in both previous starts – is now 1 for 3 lifetime with earnings of $27,826.
Jack Van Berg, ridden by Patrick Henry at 116 pounds, finished second at odds of 25 to 1 and paid $28.80 and $14.20. Reno Roy, ridden by Anne Sanguinetti at 114 pounds, rallied inside for third and paid $6.60.
Time ‘n Time Again finished fourth, followed by Helaman, Verynsky, Fuzzy Dolphin, Licorice Drop Pops, No Harbor in Sight, Sky Confidential and Jackwain.
This Great Nation, breaking from the No. 1 post, and Jack Van Berg, from post No. 9, battled head-and head through fractions of :21.99, :44.60 and :57.09, with This Great Nation edging clear late. Jack Van Berg held off Reno Roy by a neck for second.
The $1 exacta (1-9) paid a meet-high $1,167.40.
Aikman Juliet sharp in Barbara Shinpoch Stakes
In the $50,000 Barbara Shinpoch Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, Aikman Juliet powered home for a 2¾-length victory over Twirling Devon in 1:10.47 for six furlongs.
Ridden by Anne Sanguinetti at 115 pounds, Aikman Juliet paid $7.20, $4.40 and $3.80.
Co-owned by trainer Paul Treasure of Middleton, Idaho and Harry Bettis of Emmett, Idaho, Aikman Juliet improved to 2-1-0 in three starts with earnings of $50,105. Her lone defeat was a close second to Northwest Factor in the Angie C Stakes last month.
Rallying four-wide into the stretch, Aikman Juliet collared the leaders into the lane and drew away for a convincing victory. The winning time was nearly two ticks faster than 2-year-old colts and geldings in Sunday’s WTBOA Lads Stakes
Twirling Devon, ridden by Rocco Bowen at 115 pounds, rallied from far back to finish second and paid $6.80 and $5.40, while Northwest Factor, ridden by Julien Couton at 119 lbs, took third and paid $3.20.
Senordiablo finished fourth, followed by Money In the Starrs, Lady Campbell, Slingshot Mistress, Sunshine Emily, Fleet Marie, Divine Dharma, Probability of Pie and Invite Me.
The $0.50 All Stakes Pick Four paid $12,081. … A remarkable streak ended when Chu and I scored an $18.60 upset in Sunday’s fourth race. It was the gelding’s first Emerald Downs’ win since August 27, 2011, a span that included 17 runner-up finishes. … Sunday’s 10th race, the Mark Kaufman Memorial Purse, was named in honor of the former Publicity Director at Longacres. … Javier Matias, Erick Lopez and Rocco Bowen rode two winners each on the 11-race card. … With 49 of 67 racing days in the books, Bowen leads Kevin Orozco 81-53 in the jockeys’ standings. … Trainers Candi Tollett and Jeff Metz each had two wins Sunday, and Metz leads Blaine Wright 37-30 in the trainers’ standings. …. Live racing resumes Friday with first post 6:30 p.m., and includes a $5,205 carryover in the $0.20 Jackpot Pick 7.