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EMERALD DOWNS: Koala Beach romps in $75,000 Gottstein Futurity victory
Koala Beach took an eight-length, gate-to-wire triumph into the winner's circle in the $75,000 Gottstein Futurity for 2-year-olds at Emerald Downs Saturday.
With Enumclaw resident Gallyn Mitchell riding at 120 pounds, Koala Beach ran 1-1/16 mile stakes in 1 minute, 42 4/5 on a fast track and paid $2.60, $2.20, $2.10. Doris Harwood,capping a brilliant season, is the trainer for owner/husband Jeff Harwood of Kent.
Horses owned by Ron Crockett, track president, finished second, third and fourth, but were no threat to the runaway Koala Beach, who has won consecutive stakes by a combined 16 lengths.
A Washington-bred son of Harbor the Gold, Koala Beach set fractions of 24, 48 1/5, 1:12 3/5 and 1:36 3/5, and extended his advantage through the stretch.
Mitchell, only the second jockey to win the Gottstein three times in the race's 72-year history, said the outcome was never in doubt.
"He broke really well and just went to the lead," Mitchell said. "I just wanted him to relax, and he did that really well. He was still going easy when I felt some pressure from behind, at about the quarter-pole. I just nudged him a little at that point, and he just took off.
"He's a real versatile horse, and I think he can win at any distance."
The fillies Have'n a Wild Time, Pistolpackin'gal and Rewritten, all owned by Crockett, finished second third and fourth.
Have'n a Wild Time, the Free at Last filly that knocked off triple stakes winner Knight Raider on Washington Cup Day, finished second at 16-1 odds, and paid $6 and $4.40. Pistolpackin'gal rallied from last to finish third and paid $3.
Rewritten finished fourth, followed by Private Fortune, Saratoga Boot and Our Double O Seven.
Koala Beach has put together a strong juvenile season, recording a 3-2-1 mark from six starts with $92,843 in earnings, including $37,125 for the Gottstein. After chasing 2-year-old phenom Hollywood Harbor most of the summer, Koala Beach has put together back-to-back stakes wins of eight lengths in the Dennis Dodge Stakes and eight lengths in the Gottstein Futurity.
Harwood has been even better, setting records with 21 wins by 2-year-olds and season earnings of over $930,000. Her 12 stakes wins equal her own mark set in 2007.
"This is just the best way to end any meet," Harwood said. "I never thought I'd top 2007, but this has topped it."
• Tim McCanna saddled two winners and clinched his ninth Emerald Downs training title. McCanna, 47, has a 61-59 lead on Harwood, who has no horses entered Sunday at Emerald Downs.
• Ricky Frazier rode two winners to boost his season total to 154 wins. Frazier long ago clinched his fourth riding title in six years, but he'll need four wins Sunday to break his own single-season record of 157 wins. It's certainly possible since Frazier already has nine four-win and two five-win days this season.
• Jockey Deborah Hoonan-Trujillo deserves high marks toughness for guiding Old Mason ($5.60) to victory in the nightcap, just three days after she sustained a broken jaw in a morning training accident.
• Tony's Legacy ($10.80) and jockey Javier Matias won the meet's first 1-1/4 mile event after a ding-dong front-end battle with the favored Must Be Joking.
• Off the Heezy ($8) won his fourth straight race under Juan Gutierrez for trainer Jim Penney. The 3-year-old Tribunal gelding has won all four in gate-to-wire fashion.
• Gutierrez needs two wins Sunday to join Frazier and Gallyn Mitchell as jockeys with 100 wins at the meet.
• First post is 2 p.m. Sunday.
• The 11-race program features the Stanislaw Ashbaugh Claiming Challenge, a series of races for the track's top platers.