Makors Finale, the 2012 Washington Horse of the Year, held off Winning Machine and scored a gate-to-wire neck victory Sunday in the $21,000 allowance feature for 3-year-olds and up at Emerald Downs.
Ridden by Rocco Bowen at 120 lbs, Makors Finale ran 5 ½ furlongs in 1:02.71 and paid $8.20, $4.20 and $3.40. Tom Wenzel is the trainer for owner-breeder Karl Krieg of Oak Harbor, Wash.
Winning Machine, ridden by Javier Matias at 120 lbs, found racing room late, and closed strongly to just miss the victory. The track’s Top Older Horse and Top Sprinter last year, Winning Machine paid $3.20 and $2.40.
Hoist, with Isaias Enriquez riding, rallied for third place and paid $3.80.
Edge Forward flew late to tag D’honorable One for fourth place, while Kooky Saluki, Assessment and Drift King completed the order of finish.
The only horse to win four stakes at Emerald Downs last year, Makors Finale was voted the meet’s Top Washington-bred and Top 3-Year-Old, but Sunday’s outing was the 4-year-old’s first test vs. older horses.
“They don’t come any better than that group of horses,” Makors Finale owner/breeder Karl Krieg said in the Winner’s Circle. “He’s one of those horses who puts his head down and says you’re not going to go by me.”
Makors Finale was challenged from all sides Sunday. Archrival D’honorable One loomed boldly into the stretch, but the 4-year-old Florida-bred failed to change leads and settled for a close fifth.
Winning Machine, meanwhile, struggled to find room until inside the eighth pole, and then finished fast when clear. It was a good out for the 7-year-old, and sets him up nicely for a title defense of the $50,000 Governor’s Handicap on Sunday, May 19.
At 6 ½ furlongs, the Governor’s is the first stakes for older handicap horses en route to the $200,000 Longacres Mile (G3) on Sunday, August 18.
Bowen, a 23-year-old native of Barbados, rode three winners on the nine-race card. His only other three-win day at Emerald Downs was last August 12, and included a victory by Makors Finale in the Emerald Derby.
A Washington-bred by Makors Mark-Coup de Foudre, Makors Finale has won five of his last six starts, and is 7-4-0 in 13 starts overall with earnings of $166,320.
Royal Moses, runner-up in three stakes last year, made her 2013 debut a winning one with a half-length triumph over Maggie’s Special in the $18,900 sub-feature for fillies and mares. A 4-year-old Washington-bred by Cahill Road, Royal Moses (10-2-5-0-$73,847) ran 5 ½ furlongs in 1:03.49, with Matias riding for trainer Tim Harder and owners Squatting Dog Stable & R G Warwick.
NOTES: Less than a week after suffering a heart attack, Gallyn Mitchell was at the races Sunday and watched the race named in his honor*the “Get Well, Gallyn Mitchell Purse”. “I’m by no means walking away, but I’m going to give it a rest and enjoy my family,” said Mitchell, No. 1 all-time at Emerald Downs with 1,347 wins and 76 stakes wins*Just Meteor ($5.20) became the meet’s first two-time winner with a victory in race three, with Anne Sanguinetti riding for trainer Jeff Metz and owner J C Racing Stable*With a victory on Seventyprcentcocoa ($5.20) in race five, Juan Gutierrez continued his string or riding at least one winner on all six cards to date. With the first two of 24 weeks in the books, Gutierrez leads Bowen 10-7 in the standings, with Isaias Enriquez third with six wins*Enriquez rode two winners Sunday including Kind of Naughty in race four, a victory which gave two-time defending training champion Frank Lucarelli his first win of the meet*Wenzel led the trainers with two wins, and the 47-year-old conditioner is 11 wins away from becoming the 11th trainer with 300 career wins at Emerald Downs*Jockey Ronald Richard was held blameless for his DQ aboard I Keep Saying in the Saturday feature race*Bowen was fined $500 for failure to maintain a straight course on Mister Q.P. in Friday’s first race. Mister Q.P. was disqualified from first and placed second*Washington-bred Special Summer ($11.40) is three-for-three lifetime after a victory in a $29,000 starter allowance for trainer Tim McCanna and owners Billie Klokstad and Helen Sherry*Live racing resumes Friday with first post 6:45 p.m.