AUBURN — Stryker Phd used a strong closing run to make a triumphant return to Emerald Downs on Sunday.
Runner-up in the 2013 Longacres Mile, Stryker Phd drew clear for a 3¼-length victory in the $50,000 Budweiser Handicap for 3-year-olds and up.
Ridden by Leslie Mawing, Stryker Phd ran 1 mile in 1:34.15 — breaking the stakes record shared by Westsideclyde and R. Associate — and paid $10.80, $6 and $4.60.
Mr. Bowling, ridden by David G. Lopez, finished second and paid $5.40 and $4.20. Canadian shipper Shooting Jacket, a 29-1 longshot ridden by Eliska Kubinova, rallied to finish third and paid $15.
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Jebrica, the defending champion and 3-1 betting favorite, finished fourth.
In ninth place early, Stryker Phd made a sweeping move on the last turn to gain command into the stretch, and then drew off through the lane for a powerful victory.
“We’ve been training him just how we wanted him to run today,” Mawing said. “We wanted him to come from off the pace. I knew there was going to be a lot of speed today. All I needed to do was lie off the pace and make one big run.
“As long as this horse has something to run at, he’s going to give you 150 percent. Hopefully, we have a lot more wins by the end of the season.”
From track reports