Riding three winners on the nine-race card, Mawing got a head start on the three other jockeys who have been the top riders the past four years. But he may have a challenge from a jockey outside that elite group: Rocco Bowen also rode three winners.

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AUBURN — Jockey Leslie Mawing used opening day at Emerald Downs on Saturday to back up his boast that he would win the riding title this year.

Riding three winners on the nine-race card, Mawing got a head start on the three other jockeys who have been the top riders the past four years.

But he may have a challenge from a jockey outside that elite group: Rocco Bowen also rode three winners on Saturday, including Jerre to Carrie in the $20,000 feature race for 3-year-old fillies.

Bowen did exactly what trainer Tom Wenzel told him before the race: “Turn her loose.”

Which was nearly identical to trainer Jeff Metz’s advice to jockey Jose Zunino on B C Z Middleton: “Break good and go for it.”

The result was a neck-and-neck duel between the two for the full six furlongs, a race worthy of the track’s celebration of its 21st year. Jerre to Carrie got the win on a head bob at the wire.

The winner finished in 1:08.70 and paid $7.80 to win.

Metz’s horse returned $5.40 and $3.40. My Heart Goes On was worth $2.40.

Jerre to Carrie, by Congrats out of Kids Kooler, is owned by Ron Crockett.

Bowen was fourth in the jockey standings last year, winning 59 races compared to leader Julien Couton’s 100. Mawing won titles at the Auburn track in 2011 and 2014. Isias Enriquez won in 2013 and Juan Gutierrez in 2012.

“No ifs, ands or buts,” Mawing said March 31. “I’m going to win the title this year.”

He was just as confident after his three wins but was sharing the success.

“I was on good horses today, and I have good trainers backing me,” he said. “With that and working hard, I should have a good season.”

He had 77 wins last year but led in stakes wins. Over the past two years he has 21 stakes wins in 49 races at Emerald Downs. He also has a chance this year to make track history on Stryker Phd, the winner of the Longacres Mile for the last two years. A win on Aug. 14 would make Stryker PhD the first horse to win the premier race in the Pacific Northwest three times.

Mawing has eight rides on Sunday’s 10-race card, but so does Bowen. Gutierrez has nine mounts. Couton and Enriquez are still riding at other tracks and will have some catching up to do when they arrive at Emerald Downs later this year.

Notes

• The track is offering four new wagers: a $1 rolling daily double (it had been $2); a 50-cent Trifecta (formerly $1) and a 20-cent Pick 7, which challenges handicappers to select the winners of the last seven races each day. No one did Saturday, and the pool starts Sunday with a $3,042 carryover.

• Saturday’s sunny skies and temperatures in the 60s proved favorable to a shirt-sleeved crowd, but not to the betting favorites, who finished first in four of the nine races. Anyone betting longshots had a field day with Forbidden Kee in the first race ($18.40), Lizzy Lass in the fourth ($26.80), Thisdewarsforyou in the seventh ($43.60) and Original Avenue in the ninth ($92).