Jockey Anne Sanguinetti couldn’t believe her horse was 28-1.
She had a lot more faith in Why Not Be Perfect, a 7-year-old gelding, than the betting public did at Emerald Downs in the $50,000 Governor’s Handicap on Sunday.
Score this one for the jockey as she guided Why Not Be Perfect around horses entering the stretch, then held off Jebrica to win by 1¼ lengths in the 6½-furlong race.
It was quite a performance from a horse who had not raced since October and who had just one win in 21 races on real dirt (seven of his eight wins had been on turf).
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“He’s been training amazing, that’s why we went straight into the stakes instead of waiting for an easier race,” Sanguinetti said. “We were astounded that he went off at 28-to-1. I felt like I was sitting on a 4-to-5 shot. I had the perfect spot on the outside and I was able to watch everyone else and do what I want.
“This race played out how I hoped it would. Everybody saw there wasn’t a lot of speed, so they sent their horses.”
A grueling battle for the early lead set it up for the closers. Absolutely Cool, who finished third, was the only horse near the early lead who did not fade badly.
Why Not Be Perfect, who was third in this race last year, paid $59.80 to win and his time was a stakes record 1 minute, 13.72 seconds,
Mr. Bowling, the 6-5 favorite, finished fourth.
“We didn’t have the trip we expected,” said jockey Isais Enriquez. “We wanted a better start. … Going a mile, he’s going to be a better horse.”