For the Reporter
Princessof the Nyl rallied from last and powered to a dominating eight-length victory over Diamonds R in the $50,000 Washington Oaks for 3-year-old fillies Sunday at Emerald Downs.
With Kevin Orozco aboard at 121 pounds, Princessof the Nyl covered 1 1/8 miles in 1:51.24, and paid $8.80, $4.60 and $2.20. Mike Puhich is the winning trainer for owner Mike Waters (Muddy Waters Stables) of Kirkland.
Commencing the winning move four furlongs from home, Princessof the Nyl split horses approaching the stretch, gained command into the lane, shook off Bella Mia at the eighth pole and widened to the wire.
“I thought the pace was going to set up well today,” Orozco said. “I just saved ground, stayed quiet and waited to make my move. She’s a really nice filly.”
Purchased for $35,000 at the 2017 Pegasus Two-Year-Olds in Training & Horses of Racing Age Sale, Princessof the Nyl began her career with the late Jack Van Berg at Oaklawn Park, and Waters saluted the Hall of Fame trainer in the post-race interview with Joe Withee. A Kentucky-bred by Pioneerof the Nile, Princessof the Nyl has a life mark of 2-3-3 in 11 starts with earnings of $127,225.
Diamonds R, also far back early, rallied to edge Bella Mia in the final strides to finish second. Ridden by Leonel Camacho-Flores at 121 pounds, the 2-1 second choice paid $3.20 and $2.10.
Bella Mia, the 7-5 favorite ridden by Julien Couton at 121 pounds, finished third and paid $2.10 to show, while Ca Dreamer, Ima Happy Cat and Spot On rounded out the order of finish.
Golden Gate shipper Ca Dreamer set a fast early pace, :22.11, :45.02 and 1:09.76, before giving way into the stretch.
Although the four-race 3-year-old filly series produced four different winners – Ima Happy Cat, Bella Mia, Diamonds R and Princessof the Nyl – Bella Mia with a win, two seconds and a third was the division’s most consistent performer. Trained by Blaine Wright for owners John and Janene Maryanski, the Harbor the Gold filly is 5-2-1 in nine lifetime starts with earnings of $145,873.
The Washington Oaks was the final open race for 3-year-old fillies this season, but Washington-breds are eligible for the $50,000 Washington Cup Sophomore Filly Stakes on Aug. 26.
Orozco enjoyed his first four-win day at Emerald Downs, and finished the week in second place with 47 wins. Orozco previously had eight three-win days at Emerald Downs, but Sunday marked his first four-bagger … Puhich has eight career stakes wins at Emerald Downs, while Orozco has seven EmD stakes wins including four this season. … Flirtacious Girl by 9½ lengths in 1999 holds the record for largest winning margin in the Oaks. … Jaime Mendez of Univision Seattle was honorary steward for the Washington Oaks and also on hand to celebrate the 2018 Fiesta Premio Esmeralda. … Ryan Walt ($36.60) became a three-winner at the meet with a last-to-first triumph under Orozco in race seven. Trained and co-owned by H.R. Mullens, the 5-year-old Nationhood gelding has wins this year at 7-1, 20-1 and 17-1. … Julien Couton rode a pair of winners Sunday. … With 40 days in the books, Rocco Bowen tops the standings with 68 wins, followed by Orozco (47), Couton (43), Gary Wales (33) and Eswan Flores (28). … Jeff Metz leads the trainers’ standings with 30 wins, followed by Blaine Wright (25), Frank Lucarelli (24), Joe Toye (17) and Vince Gibson (14)…Bowen and Orozco are tied for first in stakes wins at four each, while Wright leads in trainers stakes wins with seven. … Live racing resumes Friday with first post 6:30 p.m. and includes carryovers of $13,565 in the $0.50 Pick 5 and $5,163 in the $0.20 Jackpot Pick 7.