AUBURN — It was a day of firsts for Lady Fifty Two, the winner of Saturday’s 35th running of the $65,000 Washington Oaks for 3-year-old fillies at Emerald Downs.
The 11/8 -mile race marked the first time the California-based horse had run in Washington, and more significantly it was the first time Lady Fifty Two had run a distance longer than 6 furlongs.
With Leslie Mawing aboard at 120 pounds, Lady Fifty Two showed no trouble with the distance, taking command in the stretch and outracing early leader Mylast Sweet Pea to the finish line in 1 minute, 48.21 seconds for a 1½-length victory.
Lady Fifty Two, the odds-on favorite at 4-5, paid $3.80 to win and earned a winner’s share of $35,750.
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Mylast Sweet Pea, who was 5-2 with Gallyn Mitchell aboard, was also second in last month’s Kent Handicap. Canada-based Champagne Gal, ridden by Alex Bisono, finished 4¾ lengths behind Mylast Sweet Pea in third.
Mark Dedomenico of Redmond, one of Lady Fifty Two’s three owners, conceded he wasn’t sure what to expect from his filly at 11/8 miles.
“She had never been around two turns and she had run a little short at 6 furlongs sometimes,” he said. “We didn’t know what she would do today.”
Dedomenico acknowledged Mawing’s skill as a key factor in the win. “You have to give Mawing credit for riding the horse just perfect,” he said. “He knew how much horse he had left under him. He could feel it.”
Mawing is the leading stakes rider this season at Emerald Downs with seven wins in 12 mounts.
“The horse has been running short races, so if this horse was going to get tired I was going to make sure it was when she was near the lead,” he said. “I know how (trainer and part-owner) Jerry (Hollendorfer) trains, and he always has them fit.
“He told me to hustle her out of the gate, find a good spot and use my own judgment,” Mawing said. “We were coming past the quarter-pole and I knew I had a little more horse than (Mylast Sweet Pea).”
• Mawing is fourth all-time with 28 stakes wins at Emerald Downs,
• Hollendorfer, who did not make the trip to Auburn, has eight wins in 52 races at Emerald Downs. Seven of those victories have been stakes wins. This was his first Washington Oaks victory.
• The 3-year-old filly division at Emerald Downs has produced four different winners this season.
• Dancing Yodeler, owned by the 128 members of the Emerald Racing Club, won the ninth race. It was the second win of the season for the 6-year-old gelding.
Individuals in the club paid $500 to be part owner of two horses.