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Jebrica wins first stakes in $65,000 Emerald Derby | Emerald Downs
Jebrica picked the perfect time to score his first stakes victory at Emerald Downs.
The lightly raced but rapidly improving gelding rallied from next-to-last for a convincing 2-¾-length victory over Couldabenthewhisky in the $65,000 Emerald Derby for 3-year-olds. Ridden by Pedro Terrero, Jebrica ran 1-1/8 miles in 1 minute, 48.17 secnds on a fast track and paid $23, $8.40 and $3.80.
For Washington Hall of Fame Trainer Jim Penney, Jebrica’s victory completed a weekend sweep of the track’s championship events for 3-year-olds. Saturday, Penney saddled the favored Class Included to a neck victory in the $65,000 Washington Oaks.
Jebrica earned $35,750 for the Derby victory, nearly doubling his career bankroll to $72,470 for owner Ron and Rosalie Warren of Olympi. A Washington-bred gelding by Liberty Gold out of Peaceful Wings, Jebrica has a 3-0-1 mark in seven lifetime starts, all at Emerald Downs. The bay gelding had showed promise to finish third in the 2010 Gottstein Futurity and a fast-closing fourth last month in the Seattle Slew Handicap.
Sunday, Jebrica put it all together, sweeping past Couldabenthewhisky into the lane, dueling with that one past mid-stretch, and drawing away late for the victory.
Couldabenthewhisky, last year’s Top Juvenile, was clearly second best and earned $13,000 for the runner-up effort. Ridden by Gallyn Mitchell, Couldabenthewhisky paid $4.20 and $2.10.
It was 8-½ lengths back to third-place finisher Winter Warlock, ridden by Kevin Krigger, and a $3 show payoff.
Zayda, the 6-to-5 betting favorite after victories in the Pepsi-Cola and Seattle Slew Handicaps, never got untracked and finished fourth. Rainier Missile and Kooky Saluki completed the order of finish. All starters carried 122 pounds.
Winter Warlock dueled with Rainier Missile early, setting fractions of :22.93, :45.99 and 1:10.59, a rapid pace that set things up nicely for Jebrica and Terrero.
“I sat behind the speed and tried to stay as quiet as I could,” Terrero said. “I started to ask him to go right before the quarter-pole, and he really responded.
“I knew it was between me and (Gallyn Mitchell and Couldabenthewhisky), but it was tough to see who had more horse. This has been a great week, probably my greatest of the year.”
Terrero finished the week with six wins and almost won the Washington Oaks aboard Playful Argument, a 16-to-1 long shot that missed by a neck to Class Included. There were some anxious moments earlier Sunday when Terrero was unseated as Last Wild Kiss stumbled leaving the gate in the fourth race. The track’s top apprentice last year with 65 wins, Terrero sat out a race but came back to ride two of the final three winners on the card.
NOTES: Flaming Bullet ($3) snapped a 26-race losing streak with a 1-½ length victory under Mawing in Sunday’s sixth race. The 9-year-old gelding last won on closing day of the 2008 meeting with Seth Martinez riding.
Joe Crispin was excused from his mounts Sunday due to illness…Leonel Camacho-Flores rode three more winners and has nine wins in the last six racing days, including a pair of three-baggers.
Newfound Gold ($7) picked up the win after Olympic Lights was disqualified and placed second for interference against Demosthenes in the $13,300 sub-feature for 3-year-olds and up. Terrero was aboard Newfound Gold while Robert Skelly had the mount on Olympic Lights…H.R. Pat Mullens was the only trainer with two wins.
With a victory by Poncho ($10.60) in race two, Howard Belvoir extended his lead to 43-35 over Frank Lucarelli in the Thoroughbred trainer standings. Belvoir, 67, is bidding for his first Emerald Downs training title.
Jockey Troy Grissom returned to the saddle Sunday after a long absence and recorded a fifth-place finish on Denkenesh in the eighth race and a fourth on Booby Trap in the 10th. A 55-year-old native of Whittier, Calif., Grissom has been working horses in the morning for several months, but hadn’t ridden in a race at a recognized track since 1989. Grissom is best-known for multiple stakes wins aboard Diamond Villa for owner-trainer Don Munger in the early 1980s…Live racing resumes Thursday with first post scheduled for 6 p.m.
Jockey Deborah Hoonan-Trujillo will be out of action at least three weeks with a head injury sustained in a spill in the final race Thursday. Hoonan-Trujillo is enjoying her best season at Emerald Downs with 60 wins, and was scheduled to ride double stakes winner You Me and Ema B in the $65,000 Emerald Distaff on Sunday, Aug. 21.
Entries for the $200,000 Longacres Mile (G3) and $65,000 Emerald Distaff will be announced Wednesday morning at the Draw Breakfast in the Emerald Room. The 76th running of the Longacres Mile is Sunday, Aug. 21.