AUBURN — Del Rio Harbor turned back stable mate Kenai King and held off first-time starter Illumination Road for a gate-to-wire victory Sunday in the $50,000 Emerald Express for 2-year-old colts and geldings at Emerald Downs.
Ridden by Rocco Bowen, Del Rio Harbor ran six furlongs in 1:10.75 and paid $32.80, $10.80 and $6.20. Doris Harwood, adding to her track record with her 58th Emerald Downs stakes victory, is the trainer for co-owners/breeders Desert Rose Racing & Bar C Racing Stables.
Del Rio Harbor earned $24,750 for the victory, and is 2-0-0 in three starts with earnings of $35,013.
Breaking from the No. 10 post, Del Rio Harbor was hustled to the lead and set fractions of :22.41, :45.34 and :57.59, opening a 1½-length lead into the stretch. From there, Del Rio Harbor held off a wall of closers for the victory.
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“Doris (Harwood) told me ‘I’ll leave it all in your hands’ and that’s the best instructions for a jockey,” Bowen said. “It helped having the pace competition on the outside of me, but I still had to ride a smart race. It was just a two-horse race at the head of the lane, and I was able to get it done.”
Illumination Road, ridden by Eliska Kubinova, rallied boldly to finish second, and paid $9.60 and $5. The lone first-time starter in the field, Illumination Road was in eighth place early, rallied wide into the lane, and finished full of run to just miss. Trained by Terry Gillihan and owned and bred by Ron Maus, the runner-up earned $9,000.
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Westchester had 26 hits and eight home runs.
From track reports and other sources