Riser authoritatively stamped himself as the top local candidate for the Longacres Mile, racing to a brilliant 2¼-length victory over Barkley in the $50,000 Mt. Rainier Stakes for 3-year-olds and up Sunday at Emerald Downs in Auburn.
With Juan Hernandez riding at 124 pounds, Riser ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:40.08 – a stakes record – and paid $2.60, $2.20 and $2.10. Blaine Wright is the winning trainer for Chappell Alpine Farms of Sugar City, Idaho.
Wright, incidentally, saddled three stakes winners Sunday, tying his own track record for most stakes wins in one day. In addition to Riser, Wright, 43, had wins with Baja Sur in the $50,000 King County Express and with Top Quality in the $50,000 Boeing Stakes.
“It’s hard not to smile on a day like this,” Wright said. “It’s a great day for me and my crew.”
Riser’s winning time broke the mark of 1:40.20 set by triple Washington Horse of the Year Stryker Phd in 2014, and is just two ticks off Kid Katabatic’s track record 1:39 3/5 set in 1998.
Breaking alertly from the No. 5 post-position, Riser set fractions of :22.97, :45.87, 1:09.21 and 1:33.83, and had enough gas to hold off a strong challenge by Barkley through the final furlong. The victory was worth $27,500.
Riser has finished first in all three stakes this season for older horses, and the Mt. Rainier helped make amends for a tough disqualification in last month’s Budweiser Stakes.
“The plan worked out today, and we didn’t muck out anybody at the start,” Wrights said. “Our ultimate goal is the next race. Let’s hope he pulls up well, and we’re on to the (Longacres Mile).”
The 83rd running of the $200,000 Longacres Mile (Grade 3) is on Sunday, Aug. 12. The race figures to have its usual assortment of horses brought in from California and Canada.
An Ohio bred 4-year-old by Mizzen Mast, Riser is 6-1-1 in 13 lifetime starts with earnings of $177,313, and 5-1-0 in seven starts with earnings of $145,795 at Emerald Downs. In fact, Riser has only trailed one horse in seven races at Emerald Downs – stable mate Aqua Frio nailed him at the wire of the 2017 Seattle Slew Stakes.
Barkley, with Javier Matias riding at 120 pounds, ran a smashing race to easily finish second, and actually gave Riser a run for the money through the lane. Saving ground throughout, Barkley accelerated on the last turn and finished strongly to the wire, paying $4.40 and $2.60.
Earning $10,000 for second, Barkley is 8-4-1 in 16 lifetime starts with a bankroll of $242,900 for Rising Star Stable III.
Mach One Rules, ridden by Austin Solis at 120 pounds, held third and paid $2.40 to show. The 5-year-old gelding had the unenviable task of chasing Riser early, and gave way gradually through the stretch
Opportunistic and Dedicated to you completed the order of finish.
Northwest Factor prevails in $50,000 Angie C
A resilient Northwest Factor re-rallied and scored a three-quarter-length victory over even-money favorite Aikman Juliet in the $50,000 Angie C Stakes for 2-year-old fillies.
With Julien Couton riding at 117 pounds, Northwest Factor covered 5½ furlongs in 1:04.41 and paid $13.80, $4.20 and $2.80. Steve Bullock is the trainer for How We Roll #4, an ownership syndicate composed of David Israel, Joe Withee, Al Adams, Charlie Clark, Angela Wilson and Steve Pilgrim.
A Kentucky-bred by The Factor-East Side Charley, Northwest Factor earned $29,370 for her maiden victory. The gray filly had shown promise in three previous starts, but Sunday’s victory was a breakthrough.
“We’ve always been pretty high on this filly, and I though she might be stakes material,” Bullock said. “She really dug in today”
Northwest Factor raced between Sunshine Emily and Aikman Juliet into the lane, and appeared destined to finish in second place. Aikman Juliet swept past the leaders with a four-wide bid to gain a one-length lead past mid-stretch, but Northwest Factor responded gamely and surged late for the victory.
Bullock now has four wins at the meet, three in stakes races. Bullock also conditions Sippin Fire, currently the top 3-year-old on the grounds, a Harbor the Gold gelding also owned by How We Roll #4.
A $15,500 buy at the 2017 WTBOA Sale, Northwest Factor is 1-2-1 in four starts with earnings of $39,545.
Aikman Juliet, ridden by Hernandez at 119 pounds, held second and paid $2.80 and $2.40. An Idaho-bred by Comic Strip, she is is 1-1-0 in two starts with earnings of $20,855.
Lady Campbell, ridden by Eswan Flores at 119 pounds, rallied from last to finish third and paid $3.80, while Senordiablo, Sunshine Emily and Lucy’s Eclipse rounded out the order of finish.
Twirling Devon and Money Inthe Starrs were scratched.
The $50,000 Barbara Shinpoch Stakes at six furlongs is next for 2-year-old fillies on Sunday, Aug. 12.
Baja Sur razor sharp in King County Express
Based on his first two starts, the sales topper at last year’s WTBOA Summer Yearling Sale looks like a steal.
Baja Sur – purchased for $67,000 last August – scored a dominating 10½-length victory in the $50,000 King County Express for 2-year-old colts and geldings.
Ridden by Erick Lopez, the bay gelding zipped 5½ furlongs in 1:03.13 – over a full second faster than fillies in the Angie C – and paid $2.80, $2.20 and $2.10. Wright, winning his second of three stakes Sunday, trains Baja Sur for John and Janene Maryanski and Gail and Gerald Schneider.
A Washington-bred by Smiling Tiger-Premo Copy, Baja Sur is 2 for 2 with earnings of $34,650, including a $24,475 check for Sunday’s victory. His two wins are by a combined 15¾ lengths.
“He’s the real deal and such a neat horse,” Lopez said. “Obviously he has a very bright future.”
Breaking from the No. 1 post-position, Baja Sur opened a clear early lead through fractions of :21.75 and :45.06, entering the lane 4½ lengths clear of Verynsky. He widened the margin through the stretch, finishing with the second biggest blowout in the 23-year history of the race.
Verynsky, with Gary Wales riding at 118 pounds, held second and paid $11.60 and $4.20, while Sky Confidential, ridden by Kevin Orozco at 118, finished third and paid $3.40. The Great Nation, Az Dreamer and Jack Van Berg completed the order of finish.
The Maryanskis now own or co-own three stakes winners at the meet: Invested Prospect (Hastings Stakes), Bella Mia (Kent Stakes) and Baja Sur.
The $50,000 WTBOA Lads Stakes at six furlongs is next for 2-year-old colts and geldings on Sunday, August 12.
Top Quality impressive in Boeing Stakes
Top Quality asserted her considerable class through the stretch, powering home for a 3¾-length victory in the $50,000 Boeing Stakes for older fillies and mares.
With Kevin Orozco riding at 121 pounds, Top Quality ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.39 and paid $4, $2.80 and $2.40. Blaine Wright, winning his third stakes Sunday, is the trainer for Ten Broeck Farm (Dave Mowat, Medina).
In sixth place early, Top Quality rallied four wide on the second turn and exploded to a three-length lead past mid-stretch.
It was a devastating move that capped the filly’s third career stakes win.
“I just let her do her thing,” Orozco said. “She kind of let me know when it was time to go, and she really responded.”
A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred by Top Quality-Lemon Bay, Top Quality is 4-1-2 in 10 starts with earnings of $118,479. She now has two stakes wins at Emerald Downs and also won a stakes last month at Hastings Racecourse.
Reginella, ridden by Hernandez, held second and paid $5.80 and $3.80. A 4-year-old Ministers Wild Cat filly also from the Wright stable, set fractions of :23.10, :46.02 and 1:10.02 before yielding to Top Quality.
No Talking Back, with Erick Lopez aboard at 119 pounds, finished third and paid $4.20, while Jerre to Carrie, Blazinbeauty, Sheeza Sassy Girl and My Heart Goes On completed the order of finish.
The $50,000 Emerald Distaff at 1 1/8 miles is next for older fillies and mares on Sunday, Aug. 12.
Notes: Wright added a fourth winner Sunday as Fortunate Cookie ($5.20) prevailed in a $7,500 claiming race for 3-year-old fillies. … The last four-win day by a trainer at Emerald Downs was Joe Toye on August 5, 2017. … Wright, who had 11 stakes wins last season, now has seven at the 2018 meeting. … Wright’s previous triple stakes winning day was Aug. 27, 2017. … Riser joined Sippin Fire as the only double stakes winners at the 2018 meeting. … Hall of Fame jockey Julie Krone was honorary steward for the Mt. Rainier Stakes. … Owner Jared Chappell said Riser is named after a song by country singer Dierks Bentley. … Riser accounted for $35,370 of $55,716 in the win pool. … On the day France captured the 2018 World Cup, Frenchman Julien Couton rode three winners at Emerald Downs. … Kevin Orozco also had three wins and Erick Lopez had two. … Rocco Bowen had one win Sunday and tops the standings with 63 wins, while Couton and Orozco are tied for second at 41 wins apiece. … The $0.50 all stakes Pick Four paid $22.65. … Betting favorites had a good weekend, compiling a 12 for 25 mark over the three days. … Party for One ($10.60) became a triple winner at the meet with a victory in race four. … Live racing resumes Friday with first post 6:30 p.m.