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Music of My Soul wins Gottstein thriller on closing day | Emerald Downs
Music of My Soul turned back betting favorite Finallygotabentley and scored a thrilling half-length victory in the $65,000 Gottstein Futurity for 2-year-olds Sunday on closing day at Emerald Downs.
A full brother to two-time Horse of the Meeting Noosa Beach, Music of My Soul is beginning to create his own racing legend. With Leslie Mawing riding at 120 pounds, Music of My Soul ran one mile in 1:36.90 and paid $5.60, $2.60 and $2.40. Doris Harwood is the trainer for Elttaes Stable, nom de course for Ken Alhadeff of Seattle.
In a dramatic twist, Alhadeff, grandson of Longacres founder Joe Gottstein, served as honorary steward for the race named in honor of his grandfather.
"I want to give credit to my grandfather," Alhadeff said in a jubilant winner's circle. "He believed in Thoroughbreds, Thoroughbred racing and Washington-breds. The horse did it, but it was fueled by the music of my soul."
A Washington-bred by Harbor the Gold-Julia Rose, Music of My Soul is named after a song in the hit musical "Memphis", produced by Ken Alhadeff and his wife Marleen. So the victory was important to the Alhadeffs on several levels.
The victory, however, looked like a long shot after Finallygotabentley made a withering, three-wide move into the lane and gained a short lead. Moreover, Music of My Soul had done most of the heavy lifting, dueling with Mike Man's Gold through fractions of :23.04, :45.48 and 1:10.75.
But showing the type of resilience that made his big brother famous, Music of My Soul roared back on the inside, and the final furlong was a two-horse match race with Music of My Soul prevailing by a half-length.
"I knew the two horses to beat were Finallygotabentley and Mike Man's Gold," Mawing said. "When (Finallygotabentley) came up on our outside, my horse eyed him right away and dug back in. My horse was running fast the whole way, I just didn't want to stop his momentum. I knew this horse was game. He didn't want to lose today."
Finallygotabentley, ridden by Juan Gutierrez at 120 pounds, paid $2.40 and $2.10 for place and show. The son of Bernardini-Smarty Deb just missed winning the race his mother won in 2007, and now has two seconds and a third in three stakes races.
"I had a little bit of trouble in the first turn," Gutierrez said. "A couple of horses came in and we clipped heels a little bit. After that, the horse responded really well. I asked him at the quarter-pole and he really started to move.
"But when we got the lead, he started waiting for the other horse. He's learning little by little. The winner was the horse to beat."
It was 4¾ lengths back to Raised a Secret, ridden by William Antongeorgi, and a $3.40 show payoff. Dontmesswithkitten, Mike Man's Gold and More Strawberries completed the order of finish.
Music of My Soul has won two straight stakes – Gottstein Futurity and Dennis Dodge – and was voted the meet's Top Juvenile Male. Music of My Soul is 2-1-0 in five starts with earnings of $67,132, including a $35,393 check for the Gottstein.
Harwood, the track's all-time leader with 56 stakes wins, has saddled three of the last six Gottstein winners: Smarty Deb, 2007; Koala Beach, 2009, and Music of My Soul.
Rocky's Quest earns Top Claimer
Sunday's program also featured the annual Ashbaugh Beal Claiming Challenge, a series of six starter allowances that featured many of the track's top claiming horses.
In fact, with a 2¼-length victory over Malibu Rum in the $16,000 Itstufftobegood for 3-year-olds and up, Rocky's Quest capped a spectacular five-win season and was voted Top Claimer at the 2012 meeting.
Ridden by Juan Gutierrez, Rocky's Quest ($4.40) ran one mile in 1:35.80 and joined Cresent McGain as five-time winners at the meet. A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding by Rockport Harbor, Rocky's Quest compiled a 5-2-1 record in eight starts for trainer Blaine Wright and earned $54,518 for owners John and Janene Maryanski of Auburn.
Wasserman turned in another solid effort to finish third. The 10-year-old gelding earned $2,400 to push his track earnings record to $560,858.
In other Ashbaugh Beal Claiming Challenge events:
• Touch of Elegance, the track's Top Claimer a year ago, finished 2012 on a high with a 12¾-length romp in the $12,000 Hit a Star for older fillies and mares. Ridden by Jennifer Whitaker for trainer Howard Belvoir and owner Hurricane Racing Stables, Touch of Elegance ran six furlongs in 1:09.44 and paid $3.
• Tapadero rallied from far back to score a 3½-length victory in the $12,000 Market Master for 3-year-olds and up. Ridden by Rocco Bowen for owner Bill Jensen and trainer Joe Toye, Tapadero ran six furlongs in 1:08.65 and paid $26.60. A 6-year-old gelding by Pleasantly Perfect, has a 4-5-1 record overall in 12 starts this year.
• In the $10,000 Pretty Peggy Slew for older fillies and mares, 4-year-old Roarified made it seven wins in 11 career starts with a 4¼-length victory in 1:44.28 for 1 1/16 miles. Chris Stensile trains Roarified for One Horse will Do Corporation and Tina and Scott Saxwold. The Washington-bred by Roar is three-for-five this year, three-for-four last year and one-for-two in 2010.
• Big Daddy's Vision ($4) continued a late-season surge with a one-length triumph in the $10,000 Bob Stories for 3-year-olds and up. A 5-year-old Kentucky-bred by Value Plus, Big Daddy's Vision is owned Robert Lampard and Mike Laurine and gave Belvoir his second Ashbaugh Beal victory Sunday. Regular rider Javier Matias rode Big Daddy's Vision, and the gelding finished the meet with three wins in his last five starts.
• Washington Hall of Fame trainer Jim Penney finished one-two in the $16,000 Sassie Jo Lassie for older fillies and mares, as The Gang and I held off Private Fortune for a half-length victory in 1:36.75 for one mile. A 4-year-old Washington-bred gelding by You and I, The Gang and I has won six of 18 lifetime starts for owners/breeders Homestretch Farms and Ellen Follett, including a 2-1-1 record in seven starts at the meeting. Ridden by Juan Gutierrez, The Gang and I paid $5.20 as the betting favorite.
Cresent McGain ($5.60) also won his fifth race of the meet Sunday, scoring by 1¼-lengths under Rocco Bowen in race four. A 4-year-old Washington-bred by You and I, Cresent McGain won two races apiece for trainers G.D. Khalsa and Dino Apostolou, and one for H.R. Mullens. ...
Jennifer Whitaker continued her late season surge with two more wins and remains the track's leading woman rider, 409-407, over Debbie Hoonan. ...
Gallyn Mitchell, the track's all-time leader with 1,347 wins, finished out of the top five for the first time in the track's 17-year history. Mitchell missed the final two months with a broken hand and finished 11th with 25 wins. ... Gutierrez' three wins Sunday gave him a career-high 117 wins and his first riding title. It was his 11th day with at least three wins and he finished the season No. 2 all-time with 995 wins at Emerald Downs.