Mike Man's Gold snags Independence Day victory | Emerald Downs

Mike Man
Mike Man's Gold (left) and Country Rules (right) battle through the stretch Thursday in the $18,900 feature race for 3-year-old colts and geldings. July 4, 2013
— image credit: Erin Palmer/Emerald Downs

One of the track's top 2-year-olds from a year ago was back on the beam Thursday at Emerald Downs. Mike Man's Gold, a double stakes winner in 2012, finished second but was moved up to first in the $18,900 Carl's Jr. Purse for 3-year-old colts and geldings,

Country Rules, the 2-to-1 betting favorite ridden by David G. Lopez, finished first by one length, but was disqualified and placed second for bumping Mike Man's Gold twice in deep stretch. Country Rules ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1 minute, 14.82 seconds.

Mike Man's Gold, reunited with jockey Javier Matias, paid $12.60, $5.40 and $4. David Martinez is the trainer for owners Swag Stables and Gallo Stables.

A Washington-bred gelding by Liberty Gold-Chedoodle, Mike Man's Gold is 4-0-1 in nine career starts with earnings of $77,626, including $10,395 for Thursday's victory. Winner of the WTBOA Stakes and Premio Esmeralda Stakes last year, Mike Man's Gold was out of the money in three previous starts this year, including a sixth in the Auburn Handicap and a seventh in the Coca-Cola Handicap.

Ankeny Hill, ridden by Leonel Camacho-Flores, led through fractions of :23.15 and :45.07, but weakened slightly as both Country Rules and Mike Man's Gold rallied into the stretch. Ankeny Hill paid $2.60 to show.

Whistle Cat, Star of the Dia and Boyett completed the order of finish.

In the co-featured $18,900 Coca-Cola Purse for 3-year-old fillies, Strange Luck ($19.20) and jockey Lorenzo Lopez notched the victory for trainer Roy Lumm and owners Julie Nakahara, Matt Pilot and Shari Wood-Richardson. A Kentucky-bred filly by Songandaprayer, Strange Luck is 3-2-1 in 10 career starts with earnings of $41,051, and 2-1-0 in five starts at the meet.

NOTES: There were six double-digit winners Saturday, and there is $5,778 carryover in the $0.50 Pick 5 to Saturday... Fastest got the Independence Day card off to an explosive beginning, rallying for an $81.60 stunner under Connie Doll for owner Shawna Whiteside and trainer Billy Christian. The 870-yard event was for Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses... Juan Gutierrez rode two winners and reclaimed top spot in the jockeys' standings, 53-52, over Isaias Enriquez. Gutierrez has six wins the last two days, and 15 multiple-win days at the meet... After being out of action six weeks with a knee injury, Jose Zunino returned to the winner's circle twice Thursday with victories aboard Joy's Jaguar ($7.20) in race two and Pretty Darn Good ($15.20) in race five... World War 2 veteran Don Munger has a knack for winning on holidays. Strategic Patience won the feature race on Memorial Day and Pretty Darn Good rallied for the victory Thursday on Independence Day. The 89-year-old Munger also is tied with Howard Belvoir for second place in the owners' standings with seven wins apiece... There is no live racing Friday at Emerald Downs, but the track is open for simulcasting including the final night program in Hollywood Park history... Live racing resumes Saturday with first post 2 p.m.

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