Stenslie trains another winner in Sunday stakes race

Hollywood Harbor justified his role as the heavy favorite Sunday winning the $50,000 Premio Esmeralda Stakes for 2-year-olds at Emerald Downs.

With Jose Zunino riding at 120 pounds, Hollywood Harbor led throughout in 1 minute, 9 seconds for six furlongs and paid $2.80, $2.40 and $2.10.

Enumclaw resident Chris Stenslie trained the gelding for owners Jody Peets of Issaquah and John Holmes of Shoreline.

Hollywood Harbor showed good speed racing to a clear lead while setting splits of 21 1/5, 43 4/5 and 55 3/5 for five furlongs, opening up five lengths on Rescue Plan into the lane.

“I didn’t try to go to the front, but Hollywood Harbor is a fast horse,” said Zunino, whose two career stakes wins at Emerald Downs are both on Hollywood Harbor. “I was a little worried at the top of the stretch because I thought someone might finish strong.”

Rescue Plan with Jose Contreras riding chased the winner throughout, but was never a serious threat and settled for second place. Rescue Plan, claimed for $12,500 last month, paid $6 and $3.

Koala Beach, the 4-1 second choice ridden by Ricky Frazier, finished third and returned $2.40.

Forener, the 6-5 morning line favorite, and Hoodoo Canyon were both scratched. Keith Swagerty of Swag Stables announced a majority share of Forener, the only horse to beat Hollywood Harbor, had been sold, and said the horse would be transferred to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin in New York.

Hollywood Harbor is a Washington-bred by Harbor the Gold, and he has won two consecutive stakes, the Northwest Stallion Series Strong Ruler and the Premio Esmeralda. The gelding has earnings of $45,351. Peets and Holmes paid $21,000 at the 2008 Washington September yearling sale.

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