Keller’s Gold held off Moneydontspenitself and scored a giant upset Sunday in the $20,500 allowance feature for 3-year-olds at Emerald Downs.
So Lucky, track and state champion 2-year-old of 2016 weakened slightly in the stretch and finished third in his season debut.
Ridden by apprentice David Martin at 118 pounds., Keller’s Gold ran 5½ furlongs in 1:04.47 and paid $38.20, $13.80 and $6.40. David Martinez is the trainer for owners Swag Stables & 20/10 Stables.
A Washington-bred gelding by Liberty Gold-Glory Hallelujah, Keller’s Gold was stakes placed last year at Emerald Downs and one of the top juveniles last fall at Portland Meadows. His career record is 5-4-0 in nine starts with earnings of $57,124, including $11,275 for Sunday’s victory.
Moneydontspenitself overcame a poor beginning to nearly get the victory. Victorious in his only start as a 2-year-old, Moneydontspenitself moved up to challenge Keller’s Gold through the stretch but was out finished in the final yards and settled for second. Ridden by Javier Matias, the runner-up paid $6.60 and $5.40.
So Lucky, ridden by Rocco Bowen, broke like a rocket from the No. 2 post, led through a quarter-mile in :21.94, and was challenged by Keller’s Gold and Moneydontspenitself as the three leaders raced through a half-mile in :45.91.
From there it was a battle between Keller’s Gold and Moneydontspenitself, as they raced head and head to the wire, Keller’s Gold prevailing by a half-length while So Lucky gave way gradually inside.
Winner of three stakes and $103,835 as a 2-year-old, So Lucky was unbeaten in four previous one-turn races. His overall mark is 4-1-1 in six starts overall with earnings of $106,910.
Grand Palais prevails in blanket finish
In the $18,500 allowance/optional claiming co-feature for 3-year-olds and up, Grand Palais gamely held off a wall of challengers for a nose victory in 1:03.30 for 5½ furlongs.
Ridden by Juan Gutierrez for owners John and Janene Maryanski and trainer Blaine Wright, Grand Palais paid $10.
Togrammashousewego flew late to finish second and Canadian shipper Silvertown was a head back in third. In a rarity, the top three finishers are all grays.
A 5-year-old Florida-bred by Grand Slam, Grand Palais is 3-3-2 in 11 starts with earnings of $47,545.
93-year-old Don Munger picked up his first two wins of 2017 as 3-year-old filly Rifle Grenade ($12.20) rallied to victory in Sunday’s fourth race and 6-year-old horse Pakokohe ($29) prevailed in race eight. … Eliska Kubinova rode both of Munger’s winners and added a third victory aboard Rallying Market ($5.20) in race six. … Trainer Vince Gibson also had two wins Sunday: Rallying Market and Wine At Nine ($6.80) in race two. … Owners Two Putts For the Win (Dean Mazzuca, Paul Jaramillo and partners) extended their win streak to three straight days with Wine At Nine’s victory. … Through four days of racing, Rocco Bowen leads Kubinova and Javier Matias 6-4 in the jockeys’ standings. … Charles Essex, Frank Lucarelli and Blaine Wright are tied atop the trainers’ standings with three wins apiece…Sunday’s $0.50 Pick 5 paid $5,208. … Live racing resumes Friday with first post 6:30 p.m. and features a $4,865 carryover in the $0.50 Pick 7. … The Pick 5 and Pick 7 both have a reduced 15 percent takeout this season.