Vodka With Ice win $60,000 Bank of America Emerald Downs Championship Challenge

Vodka With Ice is clearly best in the 3rd running of the Bank of America Emerald Downs Championship Challenge for Quarter Horses 3-year-olds and up - Photo Courtesy Reed Palmer/Emerald Downs
Vodka With Ice is clearly best in the 3rd running of the Bank of America Emerald Downs Championship Challenge for Quarter Horses 3-year-olds and up
— image credit: Photo Courtesy Reed Palmer/Emerald Downs

If at first you don’t succeed try, try again.

Vodka With Ice, an 8-year-old Texas-bred, apparently adheres to one of life’s oldest proverbs. Second in 2011, third in 2012, Vodka With Ice finally got the win in 2013*notching a three-quarter-length victory while setting a track record in the $60,000 Bank of America Emerald Downs Championship Challenge for 3-year-olds and up.

Ridden by Cesar DeAlba at 124 lbs, Vodka With Ice ran 440 yards in :21.66 and paid $7, $4 and $5.60. Pablo Rabasa Jr. is the trainer for owner Gerardo Prado of Federal Way, Wash.

Snowbound Superchick, ridden by Ruben Camacho at 124, finished second by a head and paid $7.60 and $11.40. J Mancuso, with Luis Gonzales riding at 124 lbs, finished third and paid $17.40.

Chicks Special Angel, the 3-to-5 betting favorite ridden by Debbie Hoonan, broke poorly and finished fourth in the 10-horse field. The only female in the race, Chicks Special Angel, came into the race on a 10-race winning streak, including a track record performance in the August 17 Trials for Sunday’s race.

One Famous Secret, Cm Got Overserved, Eyez On Brimmer, First Specialist, Catlow Rim and Fast Intention completed the order of finish.

Breaking from the No. 10 post-position, Vodka With Ice came away cleanly, forged to the lead in mid-stretch and was clear at the wire.

“He’s running like a 2-year-old, really,” DeAlba said of the winner. “He broke and he was gone. I felt a little bumping behind me, but my horse was good.”

DeAlba is three-for-three aboard the veteran gelding, including the second fastest qualifying time of :22.078 on August 17. He also rode the gelding to a 1 ½-length victory in $14,150 Les Bois Park Bonus Challenge Stakes.

“He’s a nice horse. He does everything right. He breaks and gets to running, so it’s pretty easy for me.”

Vodka With Ice is 11-8-4 in 46 career starts with earnings of $175,256, including $32,292 for Sunday’s win.

In the $21,150 Zoetis Emerald Starter Allowance Challenge, Whos On First Aj ($3.40) continued his torrid streak with a neck victory over Secret Inferno in :17.85 for 350 yards. Joe Crispin rode the winner for trainer Nick Cronquist and owner Craig Giles.

A 9-year-old California-bred, Whos On First Aj is 13-for-33 lifetime and has won seven of eight starts in 2012-13. The Separatist gelding is three-for-three since being claimed by Giles in May.

NOTES: Coal Creek Farm’s Until You ($21.20) caught Winning Machine in the final jump for a nose victory in the $30,000 allowance feature for 3-year-olds and up. Until You, coming off a seventh in the Longacres Mile, ran one mile in 1:35.04 under Javier Matias for trainer David Martinez. Matias had ridden Winning Machine in his previous 10 starts, including two stakes wins and a runner-up effort in the 2012 Longacres Mile*Michael & Amy Feuerborn’s razor-sharp Scat Daddybaby ($6) prevailed in the second race for $18,000 allowance/optional claimers 3-year-olds and up. A 3-year-old Kentucky-bred by Scat Daddy, Scat Daddybaby ran 6 ½ furlongs in a quick 1:15.35 and produced another win for one of the meet’s most successful jockey/trainer combinations. Juan Gutierrez and Robbie Baze are a combined 13-for-52 including two stakes wins with 2-year-old filly Chu and You*Gutierrez rode three winners on the nine-race card*his eighth riding triple of the season*and has opened an 89-84 lead over Isaias Enriquez with 13 days left in the 2013 meeting*Stryker Phd, five furlongs in 1:00.60, and Jebrica, five furlongs in :59.80, both had workouts in preparation for the $50,000 Muckleshoot Tribal Classic on Sunday, September 8. The Muckleshoot Tribal Classic at 1 1/16 miles is one of six $50,000 races for Washington-breds to be run at Washington Cup XI*Until You also is nominated to the Muckleshoot Tribal Classic*Emerald Distaff winner E Z Kitty breezed three furlongs in :37 3/5 in a tune-up for the $50,000 Pegasus Training Center Stakes for Washington-bred fillies and mares on Washington Cup Day*Live racing continues Monday with first post 2 p.m. on Labor Day*Simulcast action includes a Del Mar Pick 6 carryover of $297,528.

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