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Mike Man’s Gold wins the $50,000 Premio Esmeralda Stakes | Emerald Downs
Twice now Mike Man’s Gold has been ignored at the windows, and twice the colt has emerged with victories.
Sunday, Mike Man’s Gold and jockey Javier Matias held off Finallygotabentley for a half-length victory in the $50,000 Premio Esmeralda Stakes for 2-year-old colts and geldings at Emerald Downs.
Dismissed at 20-to-1 in his debut July 7, Mike Man’s Gold was “bet down” to 9-to-1 Sunday, and paid $20.20, $8.20 and $5.60. The winner ran six furlongs in 1:10.04.
Owned and bred by Keith and Jan Swagerty of Auburn, Mike’s Man Gold earned $24,750 to push his bankroll to $34,568. A dark bay or brown colt by Liberty Gold-Chedoodle, Mike Man’s Gold is out of the same dam that produced quadruple Emerald Downs stakes winner No Flies On Doodle.
The victory also gave trainer David Martinez his first Emerald Downs’ stakes triumph.
Finallygotabentley, ridden by Gallyn Mitchell, rallied late for second place and paid $6.40 and $5. The first foal out of 2007 Emerald Downs’ Top 2-Year-Old Filly Smarty Deb overcame a poor start and finished boldly, perhaps tipping her hand for the slightly longer Barbara Shinpoch Stakes at 6-½ furlongs next month.
It was 2-¾-lengths back to Cariboo Road, the early leader ridden by Debbie Hoonan, and a $6.20 show payoff.
Music of My Soul finished fourth, and was followed by Gilmore, Master’s Bluff, Scat Daddybaby and Luna Tick.
The even-money betting favorite, Scat Daddybaby pressed the pace as Cariboo Road set fractions of :21.93 and :44.51, and gave way suddenly into the stretch.
Mike Man’s Gold, meanwhile, stalked the leaders into the turn, overtook Cariboo Road at the five-sixteenths marker, opened a 1-½-length lead into the lane and held off Finallygotabentley for the victory.
“I waited until the quarter-pole to ask him because I didn’t want him to move too early,” Matias said. “At the quarter-pole, I said ‘let’s go.’ I never heard anyone coming until Gallyn (Mitchell) passed me after the wire.”
Matias has four stakes wins this season, including two on Longacres Mile contender Winning Machine, and is tied with Juan Gutierrez for most stakes wins at the meet.
Gutierrez didn’t enjoy success on Scat Daddybaby but did record his 16th two-win day of the meet and finished Week 16 with a 67-63 lead on Leslie Mawing. Mawing rode one winner Sunday and needs three wins to reach 2,000 for his career.
NOTES: John & Janene Maryanski’s 4-year-old gelding Rocky’s Quest ($6.80) remained razor-sharp with a victory over Newfound Gold in 1:14.27 for 6-½ furlongs. In his last two starts, Rocky’s Quest has run the fastest mile of the meeting, 1:34.16, and second fastest 6-½ furlongs, 1:14.27*Juan Gutierrez rode two winners Leonel Camacho-Flores scored his first win since coming back from an arm injury with a last-to-first triumph on She’s Tops ($5.20) in race four*Former Emerald Downs trainer Grant Forster notched a big win Sunday with Brushed by a Star ($21.20) in the $200,000 Molly Pitcher Stakes G2) for older fillies and mares at Monmouth Park*Live racing resumes Thursday with first post 6:15 p.m.