Private Fortune bring in the win in first Thursday feature | Emerald Downs

The classy Private Fortune took advantage of an early speed duel and rallied for a 1-¼ -length victory Thursday in the $12,700 Ashbaugh Beal Claiming Challenge Qualifying Event for fillies and mares at Emerald Downs.

Patiently ridden by William Antongeorgi, Private Fortune ran one mile in 1:36.62 and paid $9.40, $4.40 and $3. Jim Penney, assisted by Kay Cooper, is the trainer for owners/breeders Fred and Debbie Pabst of Buckley, Wash.

It was only the third win in 27 starts lifetimes for Private Fortune, but the 5-year-old mare has been stakes placed twice at Emerald Downs and now has earnings of $89,718.

A Belle and a Cat, the 2-to-1 betting favorite ridden by Juan Gutierrez, was caught in a three-horse duel for the lead, emerged from the pack with a clear lead into the stretch, but yielded to the winner late. A Belle and a Cat paid $4 and $3.20.

It was 4-¼ lengths back to Montelena, who overcame a slow start to finish third under Rocco Bowen and paid $4.40. Tweetie Pie, Satin Bouquet and Greenback Forest completed the order of finish.

Greenback Forest, A Belle and a Cat and Tweetie Pie battled through taxing splits of :22.99, :45.37 and 1:10.37, while Private Fortune lagged in fifth place, some eight lengths behind the leaders. The eventual winner saved ground on the last turn, angled outside into the stretch, and collared A Belle and a Cat a furlong from the finish.

NOTES: Leslie Mawing and apprentice Eliska Kubinova rode two winners apiece, and Mawing has at least one win each of the last 13 racing days*Owner Ron Maus and trainer Terry Gillihan swept the early daily double with 2-year-old gelding Justa Gusta ($3.80) and 8-year-old gelding I Am Thor ($6). Second-time starter Justa Gusta romped by 10-¾ lengths the opener, and the veteran I Am Thor scored his 11th win in 75 starts with a neck triumph in the second. I Am Thor’s last win at Emerald Downs had been Sept. 7, 2007, when the gelding capped a three-race win streak with a three-quarter-length victory under Nathan Chaves* Kubinova rode I Am Thor Thursday and is 12-for-51 in route races this season at Emerald Downs* Beginning with a Sunday win by Candy for Debbie, Gillihan and Maus have won with their last three starters*Doris Harwood was the other trainer with two wins Thursday*Memphis Beach ($5.40) in the third and Epic Cast ($3) in the seventh*and Harwood also claimed Greenback Forest for $15,000 on behalf of owner Oliver B. Holmes*2011 claimer of the meet Touch of Elegance ($7.40) scored her first 2012 win under Jennifer Whitaker in the fourth race. It was the 11th career victory for the 5-year-old mare, and the 395th Emerald Downs win for Whitaker *Live racing continues Friday with first post 6:15 p.m.

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