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A Royal Dervish tops the challenge | Emerald Downs

A Royal Dervish and jockey Never Marin prevail over Devon Dat Cash in the $67,320 Bank of America Emerald Downs Championship Challenge for older Quarter Horses. The 7-year-old Washington-bred gelding ran 440 yards :21.96, earned $31,640 and paid $6.20 as the second choice. - Photo courtesy Erin Palmer/Emerald Downs Photo
A Royal Dervish and jockey Never Marin prevail over Devon Dat Cash in the $67,320 Bank of America Emerald Downs Championship Challenge for older Quarter Horses. The 7-year-old Washington-bred gelding ran 440 yards :21.96, earned $31,640 and paid $6.20 as the second choice.
— image credit: Photo courtesy Erin Palmer/Emerald Downs Photo

A Royal Dervish out-finished defending champion Devon Dat Cash and scored a half-length victory Sunday in the $67,320 Bank of America Emerald Downs Championship Challenge for older Quarter Horses.

Ridden by Never Marin, A Royal Dervish ran 440 yards in :21.96 and paid $6.20, $3.20 and $2.40. Kurt Calton is the trainer for owners Bob and Scott Giltner of Jerome, ID.

The victory guarantees A Royal Dervish a starting berth in the $350,000 Bank of America Racing Challenge Championship, Saturday, October 27 at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, IA.

Devon Dat Cash, ridden by J. Luis Torres, held second by a nose and paid $4.40 and $2.80. Vodka With Ice, ridden by Jose Zunino, finished third and paid $2.80. The top three finishers are all 7-year-old geldings.

The race was a near replay of last year’s inaugural running, with the same horses finishing in the top three although last year Devon Dat Cash finished first, followed by Vodka With Ice and A Royal Dervish.

Breaking from the No. 4 post-position, A Royal Dervish wrestled command from L Bar D Snow Princess midway through the race and held Devon Dat Cash and Vodka With Ice for the victory.

Marin, riding his first winner at Emerald Downs, said through an interpreter he was certain his horse won.

“He got bumped pretty hard at the start, but he just pinned his ears back and kept going,” Marin said. “I knew it would be a close finish, but I was sure we had it won. I can’t wait for the final in Iowa.”

A Washington-bred by Royal Miracle Dip out of Three Royal Roses, A Royal Dervish is 12-5-8 in 34 career starts with earnings of $129,553. Sunday’s win was worth $31,640, and Calton said the plan is to ship to Iowa for the Challenge Championship.

“I don’t know how this horse does it, but he puts it together every time,” Calton said. “It’s pretty special for a 7-year-old to keep competing at this level. I just want to thank Emerald Downs and everybody else for helping to put this race together.”

Follys Fast, the fastest qualifier and the 8-to-5 betting favorite, finished fourth and was followed by Cupids Dash, L Bar D Snow Princess, Just a Rumor and Cash Baq. Jorge Rosales, rider of Just a Rumor, claimed foul against both A Royal Dervish and Vodka With Ice, alleging interference at the break, but the stewards disallowed the claim.

In the $15,000 Pfizer Emerald Starter Allowance Challenge, J Mancuso ($3.40) ran 350 yards in a track record :17.76 for 350 yards. Ridden by Torres for trainer Juan Sanguino and owner Juan Delapaz, the 3-year-old gelding earned a berth in the $75,000 Pfizer Starter Allowance Saturday, October 27 at Prairie Meadows.

NOTES: Apprentice Eliska Kubinova swept the early double with victories on Sarganis ($5.40) and Keepanosecrets ($10.40) and needs one win to tie Cassie Papineau’s apprentice record of 70 wins set in 2009. But the record has to wait until Friday as the 23-year-old bug rides in four races Monday at Portland Meadows*Seattle Game and Up Your Plan were both denied their fifth wins of the season as the 8-year-old mare Sun City ($17) rallied to take race six under Debbie Hoonan. It was career win No. 18 for the daughter of Snowbound, owned by Terra Firma farm and conditioned by Joe Toye. Up Your Plan lost little in defeat, as the 12-to-1 long shot is now 5-4-0 in 10 starts at the meeting*Rocky’s Quest ($2.60) became the meet’s 10th four-time winner with a powerful triumph in the $18,900 Thoroughbred feature for 3-year-olds and up. The 4-year-old Rockport Harbor gelding ran one mile in 1:34.37 for trainer Blaine Wright and jockey Juan Gutierrez. Rocky’s Quest is 4-2-1 in seven starts at the meet with earnings of $45,718 for John & Janene Maryanski of Auburn. Newfound Gold held second and Wasserman rallied for third place. The 10-year-old gelding earned $2,835 to increase his track record total to $558,088*Live racing continues Monday with first post 2:15 p.m. on Labor Day.

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