For the Reporter
Gold Rush Dancer had his consistency rewarded Sunday at Emerald Downs, scoring a 5½-length victory over My Heart Goes On in the $65,000 Gottstein Futurity for 2-year-olds on closing day of the 2015 season.
Ridden by Julien Couton at 120 pounds, Gold Rush Dancer ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.45 on a fast track and paid $2.80, $2.40 and $2.10. Bill Tollett is the winning trainer for owner/breeder John E. Parker of Lake Bay, Wash.
It was the 100th win of the meeting for Couton, the 2015 riding champion, and the first stakes win for Gold Rush Dancer, who had been stakes-placed three times before Sunday’s dominating breakthrough victory.
Gold Rush Dancer overtook the filly My Heart Goes On into the stretch and, although drifting and veering through the lane, drew off for an easy victory.
“He was a little bit all over the place,” Couton said. “But he has so much talent, and he’s going to bet better as he gets older.”
A Washington-bred by Private Gold-Dances On Water, Gold Rush Dancer earned $35,393 to push his bankroll to $74,093. His overall mark of 2-2-1 in five starts includes seconds in the Emerald Express and Captain Condo Stakes, and a third in the WTBOA Lads Stakes.
My Heart Goes On, ridden by Javier Matias at 118 lbs, held second and paid $4.80 and $3.20. Cape Grace, a filly ridden by Leslie Mawing at 118 lbs, finished third and paid $2.60.
Love the Lion, Wando Cat, Packy’s Out and En Avant completed the order of finish.
Mach One Rules cakewalks in $50,000 NWSS Cahill Road
In the $50,000 Cahill Road Stakes for 2-year-olds, Mach One Rules remained undefeated with an extremely easy 4¾-length victory in 1:10.50 for six furlongs.
The 1-to-20 betting favorite ridden by Mawing at 120 pounds, Mach One Rules is now four-for-four with earnings of $93,826, including $25,736 for Sunday’s victory.
Facing three overmatched foes – Two Pt Conversion was scratched earlier in the day – Mach One Rules led through fractions of :22.58, :45.41 and :57.49 en route to the victory. Mach One Rules led by eight lengths past mid-stretch and pretty much coasted to the wire.
“This was probably the easiest race in my riding career,” said Mawing, the meet’s leading big-money rider with 10 stakes wins. “All I had to do was not fall off.”
Mach One Rules finished the season with three stakes wins and was voted the meet’s Top 2-Year-Old Male.
After Sunday’s win, trainer Frank Lucarelli said Mach One Rules is headed to California and will continue racing in 2015.
“We’ll ship him down south and give him a shot or two before we give him a break,” said Lucarelli, tied for No. 4 all-time with 36 stakes wins at Emerald Downs.
Roy Scahefer, who also campaigned last year’s Top 2-Year-Old Trackattacker, owns Mach One Rules, a Washington-bred by Harbor the Gold-Felice the Cat.
Mach One Rules – with nearly 75 percent of the win pool and over 90 percent of the place pool – paid $2.20 and $2.10.
Ryan Walt, ridden by Rocco Bowen, finished second and paid $2.40 to place. Possible Spider and first-time starter Rally Wave completed the order of finish.
No. 66! Metz ties McCanna’s single-season training record
Surprise Sale ($3.80) won Sunday’s 11th and final race to give trainer Jeff Metz his 66th win of the meeting – tying the Emerald Downs’ single-season record previously set by Tim McCanna in 2008.
“It’s amazing … words can’t describe it,” Metz said in the winner’s circle. “It’s an awesome feeling. It’s like two weeks of pressure building up, and to get (the record) is great.”
Metz has won the last three training titles at Emerald Downs, winning 42 races in 2013, 49 in 2014, and 66 in 2015. His winning margin of 28 races – Frank Lucarelli finished second with 38 wins, also is a track record.
Metz was 0-for-2 Sunday before Surprise Sale and apprentice Osvaldo Gonzalez circled the field on the turn and held off Del Siete Leguas for the victory.
Metz (Saratoga West) also was the meet’s leading owner with 24 wins, second highest total in track history to Swag Stables’ 27 wins in 2009.
Metz finished 66-for-276 (23.9 percent); McCanna was 66-for-333 (19.8 percent) in 2008. Also, the 2008 meet was 91 days compared to 70 days in 2015.
Sunday’s fifth race – The Gallyn Mitchell Purse – honored the track’s all-time leading rider, who is retiring after a brilliant 33-year-career that includes 1,419 wins at Emerald Downs. Mitchell, 53, is the only jockey to ride all 20 seasons at Emerald Downs and also is No. 1 with 80 stakes wins at Emerald Downs. Incidentally, the track is planning an official retirement ceremony for Mitchell during the 2016 season. An emotional Mitchell thanked horsemen, fans, and especially his family including wife and agent Denise for his remarkable career. Mitchell said he may have one final mount next month in an out of town stakes race. Overall, Mitchell has 2,742 wins and nearly $22 million in earnings. …
Couton had two wins Sunday for his 30th multiple-win day of the season. The 34-year-old Frenchman averaged nearly 1.5 wins per day at the 70-day meeting, and led the standings from May 2 to closing day. … Alert Bay ($10.80), third in the Longacres Mile, rallied for a one-length victory in Sunday’s $200,000 City of Hope Mile (Grade 2) on the turf at Santa Anita. Blaine Wright, who finished third in the Emerald Downs’ trainers’ standings, trains Alert Bay for owner Peter Redekop. A 4-year-old California-bred, Alert Bay now has four graded wins and over $950,000 in earnings. … Ken and Marlene Alhadeff served as Honorary Stewards for the Gottstein Futurity. Ken Alhadeff, of course, is the grandson of Longacres’ founder Joe Gottstein. … Bill Tollett has seven stakes wins at Emerald Down but the Gottstein was his first since August 12, 2006, when Judicature won the Knights Choice Stakes. …
Frank Lucarelli had his second three-win day of the week and finished second in the trainers’ standings with 38 wins. Lucarelli, No. 2 all-time with 837 wins at Emerald Downs, has now finished first or second 13 times in the track’s 20-year history. Lucarelli also was No. 1 this season with 10 2-year-old wins including two on Sunday – Mach One Rules and Valid Keiki ($24.60), a first-time starter by Successful Appeal that scored a four-length win a $20,500 maiden special weight for colts and geldings. … In addition to Gold Rush Dancer in the Gottstein, owner John Parker also won the ninth race with Among the Stars ($3.80), a 4-year-old filly that won four races and over $50,000 after being claimed for $12,500 in May. Parker finished second in the owners’ standings with 15 wins.