Kato back in the saddle at Emerald Downs

  • Wednesday, July 24, 2019 3:30pm
  • Sports
Akifumi Kato

Akifumi Kato

The amazing Akifumi Kato returns to Emerald Downs for a special riding assignment Saturday evening.

The only active jockey to have won a race at the four major Washington tracks past and present – Longacres, Playfair, Yakima Meadows and Emerald Downs – Kato rides Cats Gulch in Race 5 at 7:07 p.m. For Kato, 67, it’s his first mount at Emerald Downs since 2006.

“It’s like a homecoming for me, wow!, said Kato, winner of over 2,000 races in a 48-year-riding career. “It all started in Spokane in 1973 at Playfair. It was like home to me, people were great, both my kids were born in Spokane.”

On Saturday, Kato teams with North America’s oldest active trainer – 95-year-old Arturo Arboleda – for a mount aboard Cats Gulch in a $2,500 claiming race at 6 furlongs. That’s 162 years combined between the jockey and trainer, including about 11 decades of racing experience.

“With Akifumi coming to ride at Emerald Downs, it only seemed natural to team him on a horse with Arturo,” said Emerald Downs President Phil Ziegler. “It’s great to recognize a horseman like Mr. Kato, who has contributed so much to our industry.”

Kato, son of a Japanese jockey turned trainer, was born in Osaka, and rode primarily at Playfair in Spokane where he was the all-time leader with 1,104 victories, including two riding titles and four victories in the Playfair Mile. Remarkably, 2019 represents the 48th straight year that Kato has ridden at least two winners, a streak that continued with a pair of wins earlier this year at Turf Paradise.

Kato also has worked as a bloodstock agent and a daughter, Kaylyn, is an active trainer in Arizona.

Saturday’s eight-race program begins at 5 p.m.

More in Sports

Seattle’s Conner Bruggen-Cate. COURTESY PHOTO, Brian Liesse, T-Birds
Thunderbirds fall to Americans in shootout

Bruggen-Cate has two goals in 3-2 loss to Tri-City

Local favorite Lamar Neagle returns to the Stars | MASL

The Tacoma Stars have announced the re-signing of a Northwest favorite in… Continue reading

Sounder train to run for Saturday, Oct. 19 Sounders FC match

Playoff game against Dallas at CenturyLink Field

Auburn Riverside players and fans revel in the win against Kentridge on Friday night. MARK KLAAS, Auburn Reporter
Ravens defuse Chargers in Valley play, 55-14

Auburn Riverside’s ground attack scores 7 touchdowns in rout at home

Thunderbirds goalie Roddy Ross. COURTESY PHOTO, Brian Liesse, T-Birds
Silvertips slip past Thunderbirds in overtime

Ross makes 24 saves in 1-0 loss at Everett

Kentridge’s Renteria wins CenturyLink High School Athlete of the Week honors

Senior to be recognized during Ravens at Seahawks game Oct. 20

Kentridge tops Stadium 9-7 | Boys water polo

Kentridge downed Stadium 9-7 in a boys water polo match Tuesday. Mac… Continue reading

Matthew Wedman was the T-Birds’ leading scorer last season with 40 goals and 37 assists in 66 games. COURTESY PHOTO, Brian Liesse, T-Birds
Thunderbirds center Wedman named team captain for 2019-20 season

Seattle Thunderbirds center Matthew Wedman has been named team captain for the… Continue reading

Thunderbirds center Henrik Rybinski battles the Americans’ Zane Franklin in bringing the puck up the ice Friday night. COURTESY PHOTO, Brian Liesse, T-Birds
Thunderbirds fall to Americans

Kukuca scores in 3-1 loss to Tri-City

Kentridge tops Peninsula | Boys prep water polo

Mac Brennan scored five goals and Garrett Nelson had three, leading Kentridge… Continue reading

Anyportinastorm and jockey Juan Hernandez. COURTESY TRACK PHOTO
Anyportinastorm chosen Horse of the Meeting | Emerald Downs

Peter Redekop’s Anyportinastorm was voted 2019 Emerald Downs’ Horse of the Meeting,… Continue reading

The Longacres Mile was voted 2019 Race of the Meeting. COURTESY TRACK PHOTO
2019 Emerald Downs’ year-end awards announced

Anyportinastorm, No Talking Back, Frank Lucarelli and Gary Wales all took down… Continue reading