Riser provided trainer Blaine Wright with one of his three stakes victories Sunday, tying the record he set last year.
The message is clear after another dominating performance by Riser at Emerald Downs.
It is this: To all the prospective invaders who might be shipped to Auburn for next month’s Longacres Mile, they better be prepared to face a very talented horse.
Riser proved he is the top local horse heading into the $200,000, Grade III Longacres Mile on Aug. 12, defeating Barkley by 2 1/4 lengths to win Sunday’s $50,000 Mt. Rainier Stakes for 3-year-olds and up, winning in a rapid time of 1 minute, 40.o8 seconds for 1 1/16 miles.
The Mt. Rainier Stakes was one of four stakes races on the card Sunday. Trainer Blaine Wright tied the Emerald Downs record of three stakes victories in a day, matching the mark he set last year on Washington Cup Day.
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“It’s hard not to smile on a day like today,” said Wright, who won with Riser, Top Quality in the $50,000 Boeing Stakes for fillies and mares, and Baja Sur in the $45,000 King County Express Stakes for 2-year-old colts and geldings.
Northwest Factor won the $54,000 Angie C. Stakes for 2-year-old fillies.
Riser, a 4-year-old colt, was the 3-10 favorite after winning the Governor’s Stakes in May and finishing first in last month’s Budweiser Stakes before being disqualified for an infraction at the start. Those races were at 6 and 6 1/2 furlongs, and the question was could he hold off a tough field at a distance of 8 1/2 furlongs.
The answer was an emphatic yes. He set some blazing early fractions, with Mach One Rules, last year’s Horse of the Meeting at Emerald Downs, putting on only limited pressure. Riser put away that rival in the stretch, then had plenty left to hold off Barkley. Mach One Rules was third.
“Everything went according to plan, and we didn’t muck up the start today,” Wright said. “Our opening goal has been the next race (the Longacres Mile).”
Frank Lucarelli, trainer of Mach One Rules, gave the winner credit.
“He’s going to be tough to beat unless someone softens him up early,” Lucarelli said of Riser.
Lucarelli said he expects Mach One Rules to run in the Longacres Mile after finishing second last year to invader Gold Rush Dancer.
In the Boeing Stakes, a prep for the Emerald Downs Distaff on Longacres Mile day, Top Quality devoured the field with a devastating move approaching the stretch, and won by 3 3/4 lengths over Reginella, also trained by Wright.
Top Quality paid $4 to win and ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.39.
“She moved up on her own, and she let me know when it was time to go,” said Top Quality jockey Kevin Orozco.
In the Angie C. Stakes at 5 1/2 furlongs, Northwest Factor fought back after being overtaken by favored Aikman Juliet, and beat that rival by three-quarters of a length. Northwest Factor, trained by Steve Bullock, paid $13.80 to win and ran a time of 1:04.41.
“She broke sharp, and I got a good hold of her,” said Northwest Factor jockey Julien Couton. “Then we made the big move, and she really dug in.”
Baja Sur, who was the 2-5 favorite after winning his only previous start easily, romped by 10 1/2 lengths in a field of six in the King County Express Stakes. His time for the 5 1/2 furlongs was 1:03.13, markedly faster than the 2-year-old fillies ran in the race before.
“He’s the real deal,” said Baja Sur jockey Erick Lopez.
As is Riser, who looks like he will be tough to beat in the Northwest’s most prestigious horse race next month.