Sports

Orlando Xpress captures Memorial Day feature | Emerald Downs

Orlando Xpress and jockey Rocco Bowen (No. 2) hold off He
Orlando Xpress and jockey Rocco Bowen (No. 2) hold off He's a Cruiser and Gallyn Mitchell to win the feature race for 3-year-olds on Memorial Day at Emerald Downs.
— image credit: Courtesy photo/Erin Palmer, Emerald Downs

Orlando Xpress prevailed in a pace duel with He's a Cruiser and scored a half-length victory Monday in the featured Cascade Coffee Purse for 3-year-olds at Emerald Downs.

With Rocco Bowen riding, Orlando Xpress ran six furlongs in 1:09.49 and paid $7.80, $3.80 and $2.40. Doris Harwood is the trainer for owners Vital Signs Stables.

He's a Cruiser, ridden by Gallyn Mitchell, challenged the winner throughout but settled for second place and paid $3.60 and $2.60.

Stevie Z, the 8-to-5 favorite ridden by Debbie Hoonan, finished 2¾ lengths back in third and paid $2.10 to show. Expenses Paid and Showboat Gambler completed the order of finish.

Adding blinkers after a fourth-place finish on May 5, Orlando Xpress led by a head while setting fractions of :22.41 and :44.95, maintained a head advantage into the stretch and then out finished He's a Cruiser in a prolonged drive.

"The blinkers sharpened him and made a huge difference," said Bowen, a23-year-old native of Barbados riding his first season at Emerald Downs.

A Washington-bred gelding by Raise the Bluff-Just Call Me Grace, Orlando Xpress showed good promise as a 2-year-old including a third-place finish to champion 2-year-old Chu and I in the Strong Ruler Stakes. Orlando Xpress has a 2-1-3mark in seven starts with earnings of $20,568.

Notes

2011 Longacres Mile winner Awesome Gem ($8) inherited the victory in the $100,000 Berkeley Handicap (Grade III) when first-place finisher Positive Response was disqualified and placed fourth for interference in the stretch run at Golden Gate Fields. Awesome Gem earned $60,000 to increase his bankroll to $2,821,370, making the 9-year-old gelding the leading active earner in North America. Gallant Son, ridden by Russell Baze, finished seventh in the field of eight 3-year-olds and up. Positive Response, ridden by Julien Couton, ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:45.82 but was taken down for fouling Anthony's Cross in the final furlong. ... Congratulations to owner-breeder John Lindley as She's a Time Bomb ($5.60) came off a 10-month break to notch a 2½-length victory in the fifth race, a $17,000 maiden special weight at six furlongs. Lindley, whose Parker's Picks is the exclusive tip sheet at Emerald Downs, bred Da Stoops to First Star I See to produce She's a Time Bomb. The 3-year-old filly finished second last year in her lone starts as a 2-year-old. ... William Antongeorgi and Leonel Camacho-Flores rode two winners each on the nine-race card*Through seven weeks of racing, Juan Gutierrez leads Eliska Kubinova 23-22 in the riders' standings, with Joe Crispin and Camacho-Flores tied for third with 21 wins apiece. Antongeorgi finished the week with six wins and is fifth with 20 wins while defending champion Leslie Mawing is sixth with 16*Trainer Vince Gibson finished first and second with Mufaajy and Buds a Flyin in the third race. A 5-year-old Cherokee Run gelding, Mufaajy has finished first, second or third in 11 of 13 starts at Emerald Downs. ... Live racing resumes Friday with first post 6 p.m.

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