Riser authoritatively stamped himself as the top local candidate for the Longacres Mile, racing to a brilliant 2 ¼-length victory over Barkley in the $50,000 Mt. Rainier Stakes for 3-year-olds and up.
With Juan Hernandez riding at 124 pounds, Riser ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:40.08 – a stakes record – and paid $2.60, $2.20 and $2.10 on Sunday at Emerald Downs in Auburn. Blaine Wright is the winning trainer for Chappell Alpine Farms of Sugar City, Idaho.
Wright, incidentally, saddled three stakes winners Sunday to tie his own track record for most stakes wins in one day. In addition to Riser, the 43-year-old Wright had wins with Baja Sur in the $50,000 King County Express and Top Quality in the $50,000 Boeing Stakes.
“It’s hard not to smile on a day like this,” Wright said in a Emerald Downs press release. “It’s a great day for me and my crew.”
Riser’s winning time broke the mark of 1:40.20 set by triple Washington Horse of the Year Stryker Phd in 2014, and is just two ticks off Kid Katabatic’s track record 1:39 3/5 set in 1998.
Breaking alertly from the No. 5 post-position, Riser set fractions of :22.97, :45.87, 1:09.21 and 1:33.83, and had enough gas to hold off a strong challenge by Barkley through the final furlong. The victory was worth $27,500.
Riser has finished first in all three stakes this season for older horses, and the Mt. Rainier helped make amends for a tough disqualification in last month’s Budweiser Stakes.
“The plan worked out today, and we didn’t muck out anybody at the start,” Wrights said. “Our ultimate goal is the next race. Let’s hope he pulls up well, and we’re on to the (Longacres Mile).”
The 83rd running of the $200,000 Longacres Mile (G3) is on Sunday, August 12. The race figures to have its usual assortment of horses brought in from California and Canada.
An Ohio bred 4-year-old by Mizzen Mast, Riser is 6-1-1 in 13 lifetime starts with earnings of $177,313, and 5-1-0 in seven starts with earnings of $145,795 at Emerald Downs. In fact, Riser has only trailed one horse in seven races at Emerald Downs – stable mate Aqua Frio nailed him at the wire of the 2017 Seattle Slew Stakes.
Barkley, with Javier Matias riding at 120 pounds, ran a smashing race to easily finish second, and actually gave Riser a run for the money through the lane. Saving ground throughout, Barkley accelerated on the last turn and finished strongly to the wire, paying $4.40 and $2.60.
Earning $10,000 for second, Barkley is 8-4-1 in 16 lifetime starts with a bankroll of $242,900 for Rising Star Stable III.
Mach One Rules, ridden by Austin Solis at 120 pounds, held third and paid $2.40 to show. The 5-year-old gelding had the unenviable task of chasing Riser early, and gave way gradually through the stretch
Opportunistic and Dedicated to you completed the order of finish.