One of the finest jockeys in track history, 47-year-old Javier Matias is enjoying a sparkling 2019 meeting at Emerald Downs.
With 42 wins in 203 mounts, the Mexico City native ranks third in wins, second in win percentage (21.0), tied for second in stakes wins (three), and third in earnings ($523,695).
Matias showcased his versatility last Sunday by sweeping the stakes doubleheader for 2-year-olds, riding Cakewalk gate to wire in the Barbara Shinpoch for fillies, and rallying Muncey from far back to take the WTBOA Lads Stakes for colts and geldings.
Matias’ riding ability is no secret, of course, and horsemen regularly seek out his services. But not everyone realizes Matias is also a talented Quarter Horse rider, compiling a 17 for 45 career mark at Emerald Downs – 37.8 percent – including Bh Lisas Boy’s record triumph in the 2015 Bank of America Emerald Downs Championship Challenge.
Matias is 2 for 2 year this year on quarter horse, including Cm Boom Shakalaka’s victory in the trials three weeks ago. Trained by Nick Lowe and co-owned by Lowe and Chris Sutton, Cm Boom Shakalaka ran the fastest qualifying time – :22.13 for 440 yards – and the likely favorite in Sunday’s 9th running of the $35,000 Bank of America Emerald Downs Championship Challenge. A 4-year-old Oregon-bred by Carters Cartel, Cm Boom Shakalaka is 9 for 20 lifetime with over $103,000 in earnings, a record that includes a pair of stakes wins at Los Alamitos.
For Sweet Jess – second fastest qualifier at :22.15 – is 13 for 33 lifetime with over $106,000 in earnings and trained by Juan Sanguino, who saddled Chicks Special Angel to an easy victory in the 2014 Bank of America Challenge.
Sunday’s race is expected to gross over $60,000 in purse money and goes as Race 9 at 6:09 p.m.
The last two years resulted in giant upsets, with Secretly Fast scoring at 60 to 1 in 2017 and Corona B Gone at 17 to 1 in 2018.
Sunday’s card also features the $25,000 John Deere Juvenile Challenge for 2-year-olds at 350 yards, and $15,000 Emerald Downs Distance Challenge for 3-year-olds and up at 870 yards.
In the Juvenile Challenge, a pair of Northwest Futurity champions head the eight-horse field: Senor Frogs, winner of the $38,000 Grants Pass Firecracker Futurity; and John Carter Cash, winner the $27,500 Sun Downs Futurity.
The field for the 9th running of the $35,000 Bank of America Emerald Downs Championship Challenge, 440 yards (Race 9, 6:09 p.m.):1-Love to Reason Br, Leonardo Gonzalez, 124 pounds; 2-Wagonfullofdividends, Jesus Canales, 124; 3-Favorite Bling, J.E. Lopez, 124; 4-L Bar D Razle Dazle, Jake Samuels, 124; 5-Cm Boom Shakalaka, Javier Matias, 124; 6-L Bar D Genuine Red, Lorenzo Lopez, 124; 7-I Aint Callin, J. Luis Torres, 124; 8-For Sweet Jess, Alex Anaya, 124; 9-Tickle Ur Fancy, Robert Burney, 124; 10-Kool Odds, Nakia Ramirez, 124.
Qualifying times: Cm Boom Shakalaka, :22.13; For Sweet Jess, :22.15; I Aint Callin, :22.23; Kool Odds, :22.23; Love to Reason Br, :22.28; L Bar D Genuine Red, :22.35; L Bar D Razle Dazle, :22.39; Tickle Ur Fancy, :22.43; Favorite Bling, :22.46; Wagonfullofdividends, :22.57.
BH Lisas Boy still going strong
Who is the fastest Quarter Horse in Emerald Downs’ history?
It would be difficult to argue against Bh Lisas Boy, who as a 3-year-old set track records for winning margin, 1 ¾ lengths, and fastest time, :21.37 for 440 yards, while winning the 2015 Bank of America Emerald Downs Championship Challenge.
Owned and trained by Bill Hoburg, Idaho-bred Bh Lisas Boy continues to thrive at Los Alamitos. The now 7-year-old is 21 for 40 lifetime with $805,553 in earnings, including a victory two weeks ago in the Bank of America Regional Challenge Stakes in :21.65 for 440 yards. He has nine stakes wins including four Grade 1s.
Racing this week
• Friday, Aug. 23 (53 race date/67-day meet)
6:30 p.m. (7 races)
• Saturday, Aug. 24 (54/67)
5 p.m. (8 races)
Breakfast at the Wire (8-10 a.m.)
• Sunday, Aug. 25 (55/67)
2 p.m. (10 races)
$35,000 Bank of America Challenge (QH)
$25,000 John Deere Juvenile Challenge (QH)
Congratulations to former Emerald Downs’ runner Disruption on being recognized with the the T.I.P. Thoroughbred of the Year Award for excellence in a new non-competitive career. Now known as “Bruce”, the 9-year-old gelding assists with programs at Katie Merwick’s Second Chance Ranch in Spokane, including an equine assisted mental health therapy program and an equine art program which encourages children to express creativity. Retired from racing by owner Heidi Nelson following the death of trainer Monique Snowden in 2016, Disruption earned more than $100,000 in a 16-race career that included a pair of stakes placings and an eighth in the 2014 Longacres Mile. The award includes a $5,000 grant.