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Mike Man’s Gold takes Independence Day feature | Emerald Downs

Mike Man
Mike Man's Gold (left) and Country Rules (right) battle through the stretch Thursday in the $18,900 feature race for 3-year-old colts and geldings. July 4, 2013
— image credit: Photo coutesy Erin Palmer/Emerald Downs

One of the track’s top 2-year-olds from a year ago was back on the beam Thursday at Emerald Downs. Mike Man’s Gold, a double stakes winner in 2012, finished second but was moved up to first in the $18,900 Carl’s Jr. Purse for 3-year-old colts and geldings.

Country Rules, the 2-to-1 betting favorite ridden by David G. Lopez, finished first by one length, but was disqualified and placed second for bumping Mike Man’s Gold twice in deep stretch. Country Rules ran 6 ½ furlongs in 1:14.82.

Mike Man’s Gold, reunited with jockey Javier Matias, paid $12.60, $5.40 and $4. David Martinez is the trainer for owners Swag Stables and Gallo Stables.

A Washington-bred gelding by Liberty Gold-Chedoodle, Mike Man’s Gold is 4-0-1 in nine career starts with earnings of $77,626, including $10,395 for Thursday's victory. Winner of the WTBOA Stakes and Premio Esmeralda Stakes last year, Mike Man’s Gold was out of the money in three previous starts this year, including a sixth in the Auburn Handicap and a seventh in the Coca-Cola Handicap.

Ankeny Hill, ridden by Leonel Camacho-Flores, led through fractions of :23.15 and :45.07, but weakened slightly as both Country Rules and Mike Man’s Gold rallied into the stretch. Ankeny Hill paid $2.60 to show.

Whistle Cat, Star of the Dia and Boyett completed the order of finish.

In the co-featured $18,900 Coca-Cola Purse for 3-year-old fillies, Strange Luck ($19.20) and jockey Lorenzo Lopez notched the victory for trainer Roy Lumm and owners Julie Nakahara, Matt Pilot and Shari Wood-Richardson. A Kentucky-bred filly by Songandaprayer, Strange Luck is 3-2-1 in 10 career starts with earnings of $41,051, and 2-1-0 in five starts at the meet.

NOTES: There were six double-digit winners Saturday, and there is $5,778 carryover in the $0.50 Pick 5 to Saturday*Fastest got the Independence Day card off to an explosive beginning, rallying for an $81.60 stunner under Connie Doll for owner Shawna Whiteside and trainer Billy Christian. The 870-yard event was for Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses*Juan Gutierrez rode two winners and reclaimed top spot in the jockeys’ standings, 53-52, over Isaias Enriquez. Gutierrez has six wins the last two days, and 15 multiple-win days at the meet*After being out of action six weeks with a knee injury, Jose Zunino returned to the winner’s circle twice Thursday with victories aboard Joy’s Jaguar ($7.20) in race two and Pretty Darn Good ($15.20) in race five*World War 2 veteran Don Munger has a knack for winning on holidays. Strategic Patience won the feature race on Memorial Day and Pretty Darn Good rallied for the victoryThursday on Independence Day. The 89-year-old Munger also is tied with Howard Belvoir for second place in the owners’ standings with seven wins apiece*There is no live racing Friday at Emerald Downs, but the track is open for simulcasting including the final night program in Hollywood Park history*Live racing resumes Saturday with first post 2 p.m.

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