Kooky Saluki wins the $13,700 Carl’s Jr. Purse | Emerald Downs

Kooky Saluki and jockey William Antongeorgi III stave off Sharp Focus and Leonel Camacho-Flores for a half-length victory Saturday in the $13,700 Carl
Kooky Saluki and jockey William Antongeorgi III stave off Sharp Focus and Leonel Camacho-Flores for a half-length victory Saturday in the $13,700 Carl's Jr. Purse at Emerald Downs. April 28, 2012
— image credit: Photo courtesy Erin Palmer/Emerald Downs

Kooky Saluki edged clear of a resilient Sharp Focus and notched a half-length victory Saturday in the $13,700 Carl’s Jr. Purse for 3-year-olds and up at Emerald Downs.

Ridden by William Antongeorgi III, Kooky Saluki ran 5-½ furlongs in 1:03.26 on a fast track and paid $3.60, $3 and $2.40. Jim Penney is the trainer for MOH Stables Inc., which is nom de course for KOMO-TV news anchor Dan Lewis of Sammamish, Wash.

A 4-year-old Washington-bred gelding by Tribunal, Kooky Saluki showed promise as a sophomore while winning a maiden special weight and running second to the speedy Rainier Missile in an allowance race. Saturday, in his first race since August, Kooky Saluki stalked from third place as Sharp Focus and 8-to-5 second choice Send Silver dueled through a quarter *mile in :22.57 and the half in :45.62.

Kooky Saluki swept to the lead three deep into the stretch, and then out-finished Sharp Focus in a stiff drive for the victory. In the winner’s circle, Lewis praised the horse, winning rider and “Team Penney” which consists of trainer Jim Penney, his daughter and chief assistant Kay Cooper, and her husband and former rider Bryson Cooper.

“He looked good,” Lewis said of Kooky Saluki.  “Billy gave him a good ride and Homestretch Farm is the place to be.”

Sharp Focus, ridden by Leonel Camacho-Flores, ran extremely well considering it was the colt’s first start since his career debut nearly two years ago. The runner-up paid $10.40 and $5.

It was three lengths back to third-place finisher National, also trained by Penney, and a $3.60 show payout. Send Silver and Niccolo’s Dancer rounded out the order of finish.

NOTES: Trainer Blaine Wright hit a home run Saturday as recent claim Hudson Landing ($19.60) upset 1-to-2 favorite Jeranimo in the $150,000 San Francisco Mile (G2) on the turf at Golden Gate Fields. Ridden by Juan Hernandez, Hudson Landing improved to three-for-three since being claimed by Jared Chappell for $50,000 on Feb. 25. In the winner’s circle Wright called the victory “By far the biggest win of my life.” The 5-year-old Maria’s Mon gelding could be seen this summer at Emerald Downs in the $200,000 Longacres Mile (G3) on Aug. 19. Gallant Son also ran well in the San Francisco Mile, finishing third at 12-to-1 after taking a two-length lead into the stretch. Trainer Frank Lucarelli also has The Mile in mind for Chris Randall and Nick Rossi’s 6-year-old gelding*Back at Emerald Downs, Wright will send out 3-to-5 morning line favorite D’honorable One in Sunday’s $21,500 allowance race for 3-year-olds*In Sunday’s $20,000 allowance/optional claiming feature for 3-year-olds and up, Cat On Base is the 8-to-5 morning line favorite while gunning for his second win of the meeting* A K Racer ($5.40) turned in a game performance to win Saturday’s second race by a head over 12-time Emerald Downs’ winner Chickasaw Park. Trained by Tim McCanna for Hern/Le Pley Racing and ridden by William Antongeorgi, A K Racer ran 5-½ furlongs in 1:03.48*In the fourth race, the longest shot on the board prevailed as Montelena ($26.80) led gate-to-wire and defeated 2011 Top Claimer Touch of Elegance by 2-½ lengths. Trained by Martin Pimentel and ridden by Eliska Kubinova, Montelena is three-for-four lifetime*Kubinova added a second long shot winner as Devils Dragonfly ($17.60) scored in the sixth for trainer/co-owner Neil Knapp*Juan Gutierrez notched career win No. 885 at Emerald Downs aboard Chicks Dig Him ($6.80) in the seventh race. Gutierrez, who has four rides Sunday, is one win shy of tying Ricky Frazier on the track’s all-time list*Antongeorgi and Debbie Hoonan also rode two winners on the nine-race card. Kubinova and Leonel Camacho-Flores are tied for first at 8 wins apiece, and Hoonan, Gutierrez and Antongeorgi are right behind with seven wins each*McCanna was the only trainer to win two races*The $0.50 Pick 5 (3,4-5-2-2-3) paid $2,679.65 to three winning tickets*Gallyn Mitchell was fined $500 for causing interference in the fourth race April 22. In the race, Mitchell’s mount Brudda Clyde was disqualified from first and placed fourth*

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