Rocky’s Quest finds the winner's circle in Saturday feature | Emerald Downs

Rocky’s Quest took the early lead and kept right on going Saturday at Emerald Downs.

The rapidly improving gelding ran the fastest mile of the meeting*1:34.16*and notched a 3-½-length victory in the $14,800 feature race for 3-year-olds and up.

Ridden by Juan Gutierrez, Rocky’s Quest paid $3.40 $2.40 and $2.20. Blaine Wright is the trainer for owners John and Janene Maryanski of Auburn.

A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding by Rockport Harbor, Rocky’s Quest is 2-1-1 in four starts at the meet and has won at 5-½ furlongs and one mile. His losses were second and third-place finishes in races won by Go With Gusto, who is a razor-sharp 7-year-old and the only horse to win four races this season.

Rocky’s Quest did it the hard way Saturday*setting fast fractions and holding a lead on a day when closers had fared well. Pressed hard all the way by Ugottabcatty, Ricky’s Quest led through splits of :22.89, :45.16 and 1:09.01, opened a three-length lead into the lane and continued strongly to the wire. The winning time topped a 1:34.44 clocking set by Winning Machine in the Budweiser Handicap last month, and also is faster than seven of the last eight winning times in the Longacres Mile.

Capped with his ride on Rocky’s Quest, Gutierrez had three wins and opened a 51-44 lead on Leslie Mawing in the jockeys’ standings. Bidding for his first Emerald Downs riding title, Gutierrez now has 16 multiple-win days and is on pace to win over 100 races.

Wright and the Maryanskis also had a great day as their 3-year-old filly Roll Your Eyes ($6.20) prevailed in a $16,000 claiming race with a $19,000 purse at Pleasanton.

Wright has saddled the first two feature-race winners this week as Rezar scored a 12-to-1 upset Friday night, and is 10-7-6 in 37 starts this season.

Ugottabcatty, the 4-to-1 second choice ridden by Gallyn Mitchell, gamely held second place and paid $3.60 and $2.60 for place and show. It was a head back to Mr. Mad Max, ridden by Debbie Hoonan, and a $3 show payoff.

National, Wasserman and Free Beer completed the order of finish, The track’s all-time leading money winner, 10-year-old Wasserman earned $370 for fifth to boost his Emerald Downs bankroll to $545,131.

NOTES: Eliska Kubinova rode seven mounts Saturday after being involved in a spill Friday night, and she guided Mile Easy ($5.80) to a front-running victory in the ninth race nightcap. It was the 38th win for the 23-year-old apprentice who she remains on pace to break the single-season mark of 70 wins by an apprentice*Mike Man’s Gold ($42.80) won the $17,850 maiden special weight race for 2-year-olds in :58.18 for five furlongs. The winner is a half-brother to quadruple Emerald Downs’ stakes winner No Flies On Doodle. Finallygotabentley, the 1-to-5 betting favorite, finished second while Music of My Soul, Noosa Beach’s full brother, had traffic problems and finished fifth in his career debut*At Pleasanton, first-time starter Broken Sword won the $50,000 Juan Gonzalez Memorial Stakes for 2-year-old fillies in 1:03.27 for 5-½ furlongs. The daughter of Broken Vow, co-owned by Dr. Mark Dedomenico, began her training at the Pegasus Training and Rehabilitation Center in Redmond*Skinny Genes, a 4-year-old filly who debuted with a victory at Emerald Downs last year, came off the bench and scored a $33.80 surprise at Hollywood Park for trainer Vann Belvoir and owners Todd and Shawn Hansen. Skinny Genes is 4-for-9 lifetime with earnings of nearly $70,000*Live racing continues Sunday with first post 2:15 p.m. Class Included is the 6-to-5 morning line favorite in the $50,000 Boeing handicap for older fillies and mares. Sunday marks the midway point of the 81-day meeting.

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