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Class Included takes the top prize in $50,000 Hastings Handicap | Emerald Downs
Class Included showed why she is a champion Sunday at Emerald Downs.
The 4-year-old filly had to muster all her reserves to edge Elusive Noise by a head in the $50,000 Hastings Handicap for older fillies and mares on Mother’s Day.
The track’s Top 3-Year-Old Filly of 2011, Class Included ran six furlongs in 1:09.17 and paid $3.20. $2.10 and $2.10. Juan Gutierrez rode the winner at high weight of 121 lbs for trainer Jim Penney and owners-breeders Michael and Amy Feuerborn of Maple Valley.
A Kentucky-bred by Include-A Classic Life, has compiled a 6-5-0 record in 11 career starts*including four stakes wins*with earnings of $219,323 including $27,500 for Sunday’s win.
Elusive Noise, ridden by Gallyn Mitchell at 118, led until the final strides, after leading through fractions of :22.51, :45.20 and :56.94. Off at odds of almost 6-to-1, the runner-up paid $3.80 and $2.20.
Special Holiday, ridden by Leslie Mawing at 118, was 1-¾ lengths back in third place and paid $2.20. Carrabelle Harbor, who dueled with Elusive Noise to the quarter-pole, finished fourth and The Gang and I was fifth.
Gutierrez, third all-time with 39 stakes wins at Emerald Downs, had to angle his mount outside from the No. 1 post, and after being in third place early, finally reeled in the leader in the shadow of the wire.
“I was a little worried about breaking from the inside because I’d rather have an outside position,” Gutierrez said. “I needed to hold her back a little bit going into the turn so that I could move her outside.
“Once I swung her outside, she really started to move. I thought this would be an easier race to win, but I know Elusive Noise, and she has a lot of class. I didn’t know if we were going to get by her, but my horse did just enough.”
Mitchell said Elusive Noise did everything but win the race.
“I followed (trainer) Tom Wenzel’s instructions and it worked to a tee,” Mitchell said. “We wanted to get the lead and then try to back up the pace up as much as possible. I thought I had the race won. We had the lead until the last two jumps, but the last two jumps are where the money is.”
NOTES: Penney, assisted by daughter Kay Cooper, led the trainers with three wins on the 10-race card*Bob Meeking saddled two winners* Champali Lace ($2.40) made it 2-for-2 at the meet and 6-for-10 at Emerald Downs lifetime with a gate-to-wire victory in the eighth race. Junior Coffey trains the 5-year-old mare for owners K Bar J Stables Inc. and Al Rainwater. Champali Lace accounted for $31,402 of $48,590 wagered in the win pool*Sunday’s mutuel handle was $1,682,273*Trainer Howard Belvoir celebrated his 68th birthday with a victory as the 5-year-old gelding Country Square ($16.40) prevailed by a neck over Kuya in the sixth race*With one win each Sunday, Belvoir and Frank Lucarelli remain tied atop the trainers’ standings at 11 wins apiece*Mawing and Gutierrez led the riders with three and two wins respectively*After five weeks, the jockeys’ leader board is a jumble. Joe Crispin leads with 16 wins, followed by Gutierrez and Leonel Camacho-Flores with 14 wins each, followed by Mawing and Eliska Kubinova with 13 apiece, and William Antongeorgi with 12*Live racing resumes Friday with first post at 6 p.m.