Jockey Isaias Enriquez capped a sensational first season at Emerald Downs with a victory aboard Southern Solution in Friday’s feature race for 3-year-olds.
The victory gave Enriquez 97 wins at the meet, one more than defending champion Juan Gutierrez, who is sidelined closing weekend with a concussion.
“I’m very happy, it’s been a wonderful year,” said Enriquez, a 40-year-old native of Tijuana, Mexico. “Me and my family have enjoyed being here, and I plan on being back here next year.”
Enriquez rode two winners Friday, his 26th riding double of the meet, and leapfrogged past Gutierrez into first place. He scored on Slewbie Doo ($4.40) in the second race and on Southern Solution ($2.80) in the sixth race.
The 75-day meeting concludes with 11-race programs Saturday and Sunday.
Southern Solution led virtually step while scoring a one-length victory in 1:36.52 for one mile on a wet-fast track. A 3-year-old Washington-bred by Southern Africa-Kimora, Southern Solution tied Kind of Naughty for most wins at the meet with five apiece. The gelding has a 5-0-0 record in seven starts and is a contender for Top Claimer honors, to be announced Sunday.
Credit Line, who made a brief bid for the lead, finished second and paid $2.80 and $2.20. Barton Hill, finished third, paid $3.60, and was followed by Whiskeyonthehouse and Credit Line. Big Question and
Financial Officer were scratched.
WAY TO GO, BOOGER!
Gallyn Mitchell returned to a familiar spot Friday evening*the Winner’s Circle at Emerald Downs.
The 51-year-old jockey came off the bench to ride Chaching Pete ($4) to a gate-to-wire victory in race five, teaming with the razor-sharp 6-year-old gelding for a three-quarter-length triumph in a blistering 1:08.39 for six furlongs.
It was the first win of the meet and the 1,348th at Emerald Downs for the track’s all-time leading rider. Mitchell*the only jockey to ride at least one winner all 18 seasons at Emerald Downs*suffered a heart attack in April and had been winless in eight previous rides at the meet.
"The whole thing felt great, I needed to get the bugs out,” Mitchell said after Friday’s win. “A race is totally different than morning training. Mike Christian (assistant trainer for Preston Body) told me a few weeks ago I could ride him if I was coming back, and Preston went right along with the plan.
“After the race, I needed the outrider to grab me, my legs were gone!"
Mitchell, who plans to ride this winter at Turf Paradise, is scheduled to ride two more races on Sunday’s closing day program.
NOTES: Chaching Pete has been a win machine for owner/trainer Preston Boyd, compiling a 7-2-2 record in 13 starts and $39,111 in earnings when racing for Boyd. Owner John Parker and trainer Bill Tollett claimed the Washington-bred from Friday’s race for $12,500*and Boyd also is a net $2,500 in claims and reclaims of Chaching Pete*La Capitana ($26.80) surged late to win the seventh race finale and give Jeff Metz a 40-39 lead over two-time defending champion Frank Lucarelli in the trainers’ standings. Metz has 10 total starters Saturday and Sunday while Lucarelli has six*Trainers Joe Toye and Don Munger each had one-two finishes on the seven-race card. Toye had the first race exacta with Big Fat Storm ($4.80) and Tale Spinner, and Munger finished first and second in race three with Snooper Dauper ($3.80) and Krain Corner*Jockeys Eliska Kubinova and David G. Lopez each riode their 50th winners of the meet Friday, and are one back of Rocco Bowen for third place in the jockeys’ standings*Live racing continues Saturday with first post 2 p.m. The $22,575 one-mile allowance feature includes 9-to-5 morning line favorite Winning Machine and Budweiser Handicap winner Jebrica.