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Mike Man's Gold takes a thriller in Lads | Emerald Downs
Mike Man’s Gold remained undefeated with a head victory in a three-horse blanket finish Saturday in the $50,000 WTBOA Lads Stakes for 2-year-old colts and geldings at Emerald Downs.
Ridden by Javier Matias at 120 lbs, Mike Man’s Gold ran 6-½ furlongs in 1:16.72 and paid $5.60, $3 and $2.60. David Martinez is the trainer for owner-bred Swag Stables, nom de course for Keith and Jan Swagerty of Auburn, Wash.
Matias ranks No. 1 with six stakes wins at the meet and has won a series of photo finishes, as his 6-0-5 record in 14 stakes mounts attests.
A Washington-bred colt by Liberty Gold-Chedoodle, Mike Man’s Gold appears en route to honors as the track’s Top Juvenile Male. He’s three-for-three with stakes wins in the Premio Esmeralda and WTBOA Lads Stakes, and Saturday’s first place check is worth $24,750.
The public is catching on, too. Overlooked at 20-to-1 in his maiden win and dismissed at 9-to-1 in the Premio Esmeralda, Mike Man’s Gold was the 9-to-5 second choice Saturday.
The three horses crossed the wire in tight quarters, with Mike Man’s Gold between Finallygotabentley and Music of My Soul flying home on the outside to just miss. The stewards held an inquiry to examine for interference but made no change in the order of finish.
“He didn’t break that sharp today,” Matias said. “I got worried when I saw (Finallygotabentley) break sharp because I knew he’d be the horse to beat. My horse wanted to move early and was pulling pretty hard.
“The early move made us go wide around the turn. It got really tight in the stretch. I couldn’t use my whip too much because I was going to bump the other horse. I knew we won at the wire, but it was close. This horse should get better the longer the race. He’s a pretty smart horse.”
Music of My Soul, ridden by Leslie Mawing at 118 lbs, finished fastest of all, but ran out of ground and settled for second place. Noosa Beach’s younger brother paid $12.60 and $6.80.
Finallygotabentley, the 6-to-5 favorite ridden by Juan Gutierrez at 118 lbs, was another head back in third and paid $2.60. The Kentucky-bred son of Bernardini has three seconds and one third in four starts, including three losses to Mike Man’s Gold.
Country Rules broke slow, rushed to the lead and set a fast pace*:44.39 for the half mile and 1:09.93 for six furlongs*and held on determinedly to finish fourth. Notdabossame, Gilmore, Cat Mon Blue and Scat Daddy Baby completed the order of finish. Billable Ours was pulled up on the backstretch and vanned off.
Although he just missed aboard Finallygotabentley in the WTBOA Lads, Gutierrez had another big day with four wins and has opened an 85-75 lead on Leslie Mawing in the jockeys’ standings. Sunday, he rides 15-to-1 long shot Jebrica in the meet’s premier event, the $200,000 Longacres Mile (G3) for 3-year-olds and up. Jebrica also is by Liberty Gold and is the lone Washington-bred in the race.
Matias, meanwhile, attempts to continue his 2012 stakes success with a mount on 5-to-1 Winning Machine in The Mile. The 6-year-old Kentucky-bred has already teamed with Matias for two stakes wins at the meeting.
BANK OF AMERICA QUARTER HORSE TRIALS
Long shots Givemesumcorona ($38.60) and Follys Fast ($19.40) each won 440-yard trials for the $60,000 Bank of America/Emerald Downs Challenge Championship for Quarter Horses on Sunday, September 2.
Follys Fast at :22.094 is the fastest of 10 qualifiers for the second annual event, and defending champion Devon Dat Cash finished second in the first trial and is fifth fastest qualifier. Vodka With Ice, runner-up last year, finished fourth in the first heat and is eighth fastest qualifier for the 440-yard final.
The 10 fastest qualifying time: 1-Follys Fast, :22.094; 2-Givmesumcorona, :22.114; 3-A Royal Dervish, :22.163; 4-La Jolla Famosa, :22.243; 5-Devon Dat Cash, :22.343; 6-Just A Rumor, :22.358; 7-Cupids Dash, :22.429; 8-Vodka With Ice :22.443; 9-Cash Baq, :22.551; 10-L Bar D Snow Princes, :22.577.
NOTES: Congratulations to owner Frank Gaunt and trainer Frank Lucarelli as 43-to-1 Stormin Lucy finished runner-up to even-money favorite Lady of Shamrock in the Grade 1, $300,000 Del Mar Oaks at 1-1/8 miles on turf for 3-year-old fillies*West Point Thoroughbreds, owners of 2-to-1 Longacres Mile morning line favorite Awesome Gem, popped with 22-to-1 first-time starter Tree of Life ($47.40) in Saturday’s sixth race at Del Mar*Live racing continues Sunday with the 77th running of the Grade 3, $200,000 Longacres Mile at 5:32 p.m. First post is 2 p.m., with the $65,000 Emerald Distaff going as Race 6 and The Mile as Race 8.