AUBURN — Jeff Metz entered eight horses on Emerald Down’s opening-day card of 10 races, a serious statement that he is out to repeat as the track’s top trainer.
Even more serious: Five of them won on Saturday, the first day of Emerald Downs’ 19th season. That tied an Emerald Down record for wins in one day by a trainer. Jim Penney, Tim McCanna and Doris Harwood had been the only trainers to have five wins in a day.
Thatsthewayweroll started Metz rolling in the second race Saturday with a wire-to-wire win in a $7,500 claiming race for 3-year-old fillies.
In the third, a $25,000 claiming race for 3-year-olds, Redsolocup waited until the stretch before running off for a 4½ -length win.
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It was more of the same in the sixth race with Always the Same pulling away for a 1¼-length win in a $3,500 claiming race for 3-year-olds and up.
Bettors were slow to pick up on the Metz juggernaut with Redsolocup returning $14 on a $2 win ticket and Always the Same paying $12.20.
The payoff wasn’t quite as good ($5.40) when San Sebastian took the seventh race, a $2,500 claiming race for older horses. Thatsthewayweroll paid $4.20 in the second race.
In the 10th race, Attempt overcame a poor start, and closed from sixth to win by 5¾ lengths in a $5,000 maiden claiming race. Attempt paid $3.60.
“I learned a lot last year about what horses to bring here,” Metz said, adding that he was careful in picking which horses to run in the opening day races. “I got lucky at the entry box and lucky that the horses performed.”