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Del Rio Harbor super in Coca-Cola Handicap | Emerald Downs
For the Reporter
Never underestimate Del Rio Harbor at Emerald Downs.
The track's Top 2-Year-Old Male last year, Del Rio Harbor continues to confound horseplayers with big performances at big odds. Sunday, the chestnut gelding rebounded with a 2½-length victory over stable mate Noosito in the $50,000 Coca-Cola Handicap for 3-year-old colts and geldings.
Ridden by Gallyn Mitchell at 121 lbs, Del Rio Harbor ran one mile in 1:34.73 and paid $11.20, $3.60 and $3. The victory was worth $27,500 to co-owners Desert Rose Racing and Bar C Racing Stables.
Noosito, ridden by Leslie Mawing at 121 lbs, challenged Del Rio Harbor into the stretch but was out finished through the lane and settled for second place. Noosito paid $2.20 and $2.20.
Doris Harwood trains both Del Rio Harbor and Noosito, upping her all-time track record to 63 stakes wins.
Charlie Thomas, with Felipe Valdez riding at 117 lbs, rallied inside to finish third and paid $4.20. Mebossman, Slice of Red, Redsolocup, Kenai King, Trick Or Retreat and He's Zuberrific completed the order of finish.
Del Rio Harbor and Noosito*both Washington-breds by Harbor the Gold*have now faced each other five times with Del Rio Harbor holding a 3-2 lead.
Del Rio Harbor has four stakes wins and has yet to be favored in any of them, winning at odds of 3-to-1, 15-to-1 and 9-to-2 twice.
In last month's Auburn Handicap at 6 ½ furlongs, Noosito got the jump on Del Rio Harbor and drew off for a five-length victory. This time the roles were reversed, as Del Rio Harbor swept past a tiring He's Zuberrific on the last turn, and then turned back Noosito for the victory.
"I knew I had plenty of horse at the top of the lane," said Mitchell, who has been aboard Del Rio Harbor in his last two works. "I kicked him on and asked him in the middle of the turn, and de did exactly what he does in the morning. He got out in front and pricked his ears. I just kept chirping at him and kept him busy. He heard the other horses coming and just kept to business."
By Harbor the Gold*Bahati, Del Rio Harbor is 6-1-1 in nine starts with earnings of $155,709, including $27,500 for Sunday's victory.
Noosito, in fourth place early, offered his bid into the lane, but came up short.
"He ran his race, Del Rio Harbor was just better today," Mawing said. " We were in a perfect spot and galloped up to Del Rio Harbor at the quarter pole but he just had a lot in reserve. Looking back, I don't think I would've done anything different. We were in a good spot off a fast pace, sitting right where we wanted to be."
Mawing had a second straight three-win day and leads Rocco Bowen 44-35 in the jockeys' standings. ... Mitchell and Juan Gutierrez rode two winners apiece. ... Jennifer Whitaker guided Joe B With Thee to a $26 upset in the nightcap, a day ahead of her 43rd birthday. ... Tabled With Gold ($7) defeated Kind of Naughty by a nose in the $20,475 sub-feature for $50,000/$40,000 claiming fillies and mares at six furlongs. A 4-year-old California-bred, Tabled With Gold has finished in-the-money in 9-of-10 lifetime starts for trainer Roy Lumm and owner Patricia Zacker. ... Vancouver, B.C.-based trainer Alex Murray notched his first Emerald Downs win Sunday, saddling 4-year-old gelding Thanks a Million ($5) to a stretch-running victory in a $17,850 maiden optional claiming race at one mile. Murray had two previous starters at Emerald Downs in 1998. ... Live racing resumes Friday at 6:45 p.m.