Finallygotabentley, stakes-placed three times as a 2-year-old and runner-up in his last three starts, got a breakthrough victory Sunday in the $50,000 Auburn Handicap for 3-year-old colts and geldings.
With Juan Gutierrez riding at 118 lbs, Finallygotabentley led virtually the entire trip, turning back Disruption past mid-stretch and 3-to-5 betting favorite Carving late for a one-length victory in 1:15.28 for 6 ½ furlongs. Third choice in the wagering, Finallygotabentley paid $13.40, $6.60 and $3.
A Kentucky-bred colt by Bernardini out of 2007 Emerald Downs champion 2-year-old filly Smarty Deb, Finallygotabentley earned $27,500 to push his earnings to $80,468. Tom Wenzel is the trainer for owners Northwest Farms and Debbie Paxton, the same connections that finished first, second and third in last week’s Seattle Handicap for 3-year-old fillies.
Disruption, a Northern California shipper ridden by Julien Couton at 118 lbs, loomed boldly in mid-stretch but was unable to get past the winner, nosing out Carving for second place. Disruption paid $7.20 and $3.20.
Carving, the 3-to-5 betting favorite, raced in contention throughout but lacked the needed late push and finished third. Ridden by Javier Matias at high weight of 121 lbs, Carving paid $2.10 for show.
He’s Not Bluffin, a 38-to-1 outsider ridden by Cassie Papineau, finished fourth, followed by Cariboo Road, Mike Man’s Gold, Forin Sea and Whistle Cat. Music of My Soul was a late scratch, but trainer Doris Harwood said the colt was uninjured in the mishap at the starting gate.
Finallygotabentley has never finished out of the money, compiling a 2-6-1 record in nine starts, but also had never won a stakes, finishing second in last year’s Gottstein Futurity and Premio Esmeralda Stakes. He started this season with runner-up finishes to Forin Sea and Cariboo Road in allowance races.
“The biggest difference today was that he finally got a clean trip,” Gutierrez said of Finallygotabentley. I didn’t want to go to the lead too early, but I was on the inside and I didn’t want to get cut off at the three-eighths pole. I was a little worried that he might get tired and the other horses might catch us, but he really tried hard today.
This is a great horse and he has a lot of class.”
Finallygotabentley dueled with Whistle Cat through fractions of :22.83 and :44.98, maintained a short lead into the stretch, and then held off Disruption and Carving for the win.
Matias said Carving wasn’t the same horse that blew past Music of My Soul and Boyett in a May 5 allowance race.
“Something wasn’t quite right with him,” Matias said. “I thought he should win this race today. I thought I had a good chance in the stretch, but he just couldn’t do it.”
In the $18,900 sub-feature for allowance/optional claimers, Camp Granada scorched six furlongs in 1:08.35 under David G. Lopez for trainer Frank Lucarelli and owner Ron Crockett Inc. A 5-year-old Kentucky-bred by Forest Camp-Pleas Write, Camp Granada has a 2-2-1 record in five starts with earnings of $24,185.
NOTES: Sunday’s $0.50 Pick 5 paid a whopping $22,203 to one winning ticket, eclipsing the track record of $20,957 set last August. Tahoe’s Prize at 16-to-1 in race 10 delivered the knockout punch to most players*Gutierrez rode two winners*already his 10th multiple win day*and leads Isaias Enriquez 36-25 in the jockeys’ standings*Debbie Hoonan completed a sweep of the week’s three Quarter Horse events with a win aboard Seventy East ($5.80) in the Sunday opener. Hoonan added a win on Better to Be Lucky ($4.60) in race three and finished the week with six wins*Connie Doll holds the Emerald Downs season mark of four Quarter Horse wins set in 2011*Timely Note and Enriquez finished first in race six but were disqualified and placed second for interference, as La Capitana ($9.80) and Anne Sanguinetti were moved up from second to first place*Sanguinetti also rode two winners Sunday*The win by La Capitana pushed Jeff Metz into first place in the trainers’ standings, 16-15, over Chris Stenslie*The hard-hitting 7-year-old mare Seattle Game ($4) scored her 11th Emerald Downs win and 14th lifetime with a gate-to-wire victory in race seven. A Washington-bred by Seattle Shamus, Seattle Game is 11-3-3 in 22 starts at Emerald Downs*Live racing resumes Friday with first post 6:45 p.m.