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Classy Jebrica prevails over Mike Man's Gold in $18,900 Freight NW Purse | Emerald Downs

Jebrica (black silks) outfinishes Mike Man
Jebrica (black silks) outfinishes Mike Man's Gold in the $18,900 feature race Saturday at Emerald Downs. Juan Gutierrez rode the winner for trainer Jim Penney and owner Where We At.
— image credit: Erin Palmer/Emerald Downs

Jebrica rarely dips into the claiming ranks, but great things tend to happen when he does.

Saturday, the classy 6-year-old gelding held off a resilient Mike Man's Gold for a neck victory in the $18,900 Freight NW Purse for $40,000 claiming 3-year-olds and up.

Ridden by Juan Gutierrez, Jebrica ran 6 ½ furlongs in 1:14.71 and paid $3.40, $2.60 and $2.20. Jim Penney is the trainer for Where We At, nom de course for Paul Heist of Auburn and Jack Fabulich of Edgewood.

A Washington-bred by Liberty Gold-Peaceful Wings, Jebrica is a triple stakes winner and has competed in the last two Longacres Miles at Emerald Downs.

The versatile gelding has seven career wins - four sprints, three routes - with earnings of $315,056. Saturday was only his second career start in a claiming race - the previous one, a $50,000 claimer last year at Santa Anita, was notable as the comeback mount for Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens. Jebrica finished third that day, beaten a neck and a head, and Stevens hasn't looked back, adding a Preakness and two Breeders' Cup wins to his Hall of Fame resume.

As for Jebrica, the high points since the Stevens race were a victory in the 2013 Budweiser Handicap and a respectable fourth in the 2013 Longacres Mile. But the gelding was on an eight-race losing streak before Saturday, and was sold privately after finishing fourth as the favorite in this year's Budweiser Handicap.

The track's Top 3-Year-Old Male of 2011, Jebrica is 7-4-6 in 29 career starts.

Mike Man's Gold, ridden by Javier Matias, dueled with Memphis Beach through fractions of :22.49 and :43.99, gained a slight advantage past mid stretch and fought back gamely when headed by Jebrica. Mike Man's Gold paid $5.60 and $3.60.

Country Rules, Jose Zunino riding, finished third and paid $3.20 to show. Polish Dollar, the 2-to-1 second choice, finished fourth and Memphis Beach was fifth.

NOTES: The track was labeled wet-fast the first four races, and fast on races five through nine. . .Trainer Neil Knapp had a big day as 5-year-old mare Whiskey Miner ($10.40) upset odds-on Seventyprcentcocoa in the $12,700 third race for $15,000 claimers, and Oldtimers Vision ($31.40) caught odds-on Stikine Slough for a win in the $18,900 co-feature for allowance 3-year-old colts and geldings. Knapp also beat an odds-on favorite Friday as Perusethenews ($14.80) edged 7-to-10 Buddy Dave in race four. . .Immigration recorded his 20th career second-place finish in race five, as the 10-year-old finished runner-up to Premium Quality ($6) in the $2,500 claiming race. With a victory on the 9-year-old gelding, Anne Sanguinetti improved to 35-for-171 the last two years when riding for trainer Jeff Metz. . .2-year-old filly Ethan's Baby ($8.40) turned in an eye catching debut in Saturday's second race, drawing off for a 5 ½-length win under David G. Lopez in :57.46 for five furlongs. Howard Belvoir trains the Washington-bred by Offlee Wild for owners/breeders Todd & Shawn Hansen. . .Live racing continues Sunday with the $50,000 Irish Day Handicap for 3-year-old fillies at one mile. Find Your Spot at 2-to-1 and Chu and You at 5-to-2 are top choices on the morning line. A victory by Find Your Spot would cap a big weekend for Penney and Where We At.

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