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Why Not Be Perfect pulls upset in $50,000 Governor's Handicap | Emerald Downs
For the Reporter
Why Not Be Perfect stunned the fans and nearly broke the clock Sunday at Emerald Downs.
Ridden by Anne Sanguinetti at 117 lbs., the 7-year-old Kentucky-bred motored to a 1¼-length victory over Jebrica in the 75th running of the $50,000 Governor's Handicap for 3-year-olds and up. Why Not Be Perfect ran 6½ furlongs in a stakes record 1:13.72, and paid $59.80, $15.20 and $7.60.
Jeff Metz trains the winner for J C Racing Stable, nom de course for John Sanguinetti of Los Gatos, Calif., who also is the father of the winning jockey.
The 28-to-1 upset was second all-time to the $63.60 payout set by Tout Ou Rien in the 1983 Governor's Handicap. The running time bettered the stakes mark shared by Trooper Seven (1980) and Winning Machine (2012).
Although a respectable sixth in the 2013 Longacres Mile, Why Not Be Perfect had been off since October and was virtually ignored at the windows.
"He's been training amazing, that's why we went straight into the stakes instead of waiting for an easier race," Anne Sanguinetti said. "We were astounded that he went off at 28-to-1. I felt like I was sitting on a 4-to-5 shot.
"I had the perfect spot on the outside and I was able to watch everyone else and do what I want. This race played out how I hoped it would. Everybody saw there wasn't a lot of speed, so they sent their horses."
Indeed the race was jumbled from the opening strides, as Finallygotabentley, Winning Machine, Absolutely Cool and Mike Man's Gold smoked through fractions of :21.50 for the quarter-mile and :43.29 for the half. Why Not Be Perfect, in fifth place early, circled the field on the turn, opened a clear lead into the stretch, and held off Jebrica and Absolutely Cool for the victory.
"He was a little tired last summer and had run some big races in a row," Sanguinetti said. "Sometimes when horses have long campaigns they start to run just a little below themselves. I was a little worried he might not come back to what I knew he was capable of, but once he got here and started training, we all felt like he was back."
Why Not Be Perfect is 9-5-9 in 50 career starts with earnings of $301,145, including $27,500 for Sunday's win. He's also 5-for-12 since being claimed by Metz for $40,000 on Oct. 28, 2012, including three stakes wins at Turf Paradise and one at Emerald Downs.
Jebrica, ridden by Juan Gutierrez at 118 lbs, rallied from seventh to finish second and paid $6 and $3.60. Absolutely Cool, ridden by Rocco Bowen at top-weight of 122 lbs, held third and paid $3.40.
Mr. Bowling finished fourth, and jockey Isaias Enriquez said the 6-to-5 betting favorite had early traffic problems.
"We didn't have the trip we expected," Enriquez said. "We wanted a better start, and he was farther off the early pace than he likes. We had a wall in front of us and had to wait around the turn and into the stretch.
"The hole opened up and then we had to change course. He's better if he can keep up with the speed. Going a mile, he's going to be a better horse."
Dontmesswithkitten, Finallygotabentley, Wheelhouse, Mike Man's Gold and Winning Machine completed the order of finish.
The $50,000 Budweiser Handicap at one mile is next for older handicap horses on Sunday, June 15.
Metz had two wins on the card, extending his lead to 24-13 over Frank Lucarelli atop the standings. Metz already has seven multiple-win days and is on pace to shatter the track record of 66 wins set by Tim McCanna in 2008. ... Jockey Louis Zacherle and owner/trainer Preston Boyd connected again Sunday, as 3-year-old gelding My Chief ($6.80) remained unbeaten with a fast gate-to-wire victory in the $18,900 sub-feature for 3-year-olds. A Washington-bred by Harbor the Gold, My Chief ran 5 ½ furlongs in 1:03.01. Zacherle and Boyd are a combined 3-for-5 at the meet and 10-for-27 the last two seasons. ... Eliska Kubinova and Roy Lumm teamed up to win the finale with Katsthoughts ($8.80) and are 14-for-58 the last three years at EmD. ... The stewards disqualified first race winner Dynasty Now and placed the gelding third for interference in deep stretch of the 350-yard Quarter Horse race. Lookithatcavemango ($18.60) was moved up to first place and Excessive Jubilation was moved up from third to second place. It was the first DQ from win at the 15-day-old meeting. ... Reminder: No live racing Friday, May 23. Racing resumes Saturday and continues through Monday (Memorial Day).