Sports

Wasserman wins Friday feature | Emerald Downs

Wasserman finally is going to miss The Longacres Mile, but the old boy still has plenty left in the tank.

Wasserman rallied resolutely in the stretch and nailed Untilifindyou in the final strides for a half-length victory Friday in the $13,750 feature race for 3-year-olds and up. It was the first win in six tries this year for the 10-year-old gelding, and his 12th in 71 starts dating to his debut May 27, 2005.

Along the way, Wasserman developed into one of the most popular runners in track history, winning the 2008 Longacres Mile and three other stakes en route to Horse of the Meeting honors that year. His five straight starts in the Longacres Mile are a record at Emerald Downs, and even though he won’t run in next week’s 77th renewal of the race, he proved Friday that the spirit is still willing.

“He just runs,” said winning rider Jennifer Whitaker, who has been aboard in 55 of the gelding’s races. “It’s great, he’s like one of my kids. It’s a privilege to ride a horse like him, and he loves what he’s doing.”

Wasserman ran one mile in 1:36.85 and paid $7.40, $2.80 and $2.20. The $7,562 first prize bumped his track record earnings to $555,253. Including 11 races in California, Wasserman has overall earnings of $579,320 for owner/breeder/trainer Howard Belvoir, the gelding’s conditioner since the beginning.

“I think this race made me prouder than winning The Mile,” Belvoir said in the winner’s circle. “He’s 10 now, and he’s still doing it.”

Untilifindyou, the 7-to-10 betting favorite ridden by Leslie Mawing, swept past Hunter Kane into the stretch but was tagged by Wasserman in the final yards. Untilifindyou paid $2.10 and $2.10.

It was head back to Mr. Mad Max, ridden by Debbie Hoonan, and a $2.20 show payoff. Hunter Kane, the early leader, finished fourth, followed by Shamundi in fifth.

NOTES: Jennifer Whitaker has ridden three winners in two nights and has 398 wins at Emerald Downs*Juan Gutierrez and Leslie Mawing each rode a winner and Gutierrez leads Mawing 76-67 in the jockeys’ standings. Gutierrez also ranks first with five stakes wins*Eliska Kubinova moved another step closer to the single-season apprentice record with a triumph on long shot Have’n a Wild Time ($19) in the fifth race. Kubinova has 60 wins in 58 days and needs 11 wins in the final 23 days to break the mark of 70 wins set by Cassie Papineau in 2009* Howard Belvoir has three wins in two nights and is sneaking back into the trainers’ race. Frank Lucarelli leads with 34 wins, followed by Tim McCanna, 31, and Belvoir, 27. McCanna, 839 wins, Lucarelli, 710, and Belvoir, 588, also are the top three all-time trainers at Emerald Downs*Trainer Alan Bozell had two wins Friday, Wedge of Gold ($9.40) in the second race and Foolish Miss ($15.80) in the fourth*Trainer Don Munger continued his excellent season as Krain Korner ($10.60) notched his maiden win in the seventh race nightcap under Jose Zunino. Munger has a career-high 14 wins as a trainer, and he and wife Wanda Munger lead the owners’ standings 14-8 over Ron Crockett and Mike and Amy Feuerborn*Owners Michael Pollowitz and Jeffrey Wilson had their second win in two nights as 2-year-old filly Kissing Ruby ($3.40) romped by 4-¼ lengths in Friday’s opener*Live racing continues Saturday with first post 2:15 p.m. The $65,000 Washington Oaks goes as the eighth race with 2-to-1 morning line favorite Exclusive Diva looking to wrap up sophomore filly title with a victory in the 1-1/8 mile test*Also Saturday, there is a $0.50 Pick 5 carryover of $7,456 beginning on race five.

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