Winning Machine will try to defend his title in Sunday's $50,000 Governor's Handicap at Emerald Downs, heading a strong field in the first...

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AUBURN — Winning Machine will try to defend his title in Sunday’s $50,000 Governor’s Handicap at Emerald Downs, heading a strong field in the first stakes race of the season for older males.

A field of eight horses 3 years old and up is scheduled to compete in the 6 ½-furlong race.

Trainer Frank Lucarelli has won 724 races and 29 stakes in 18 seasons at Emerald Downs, but he says Winning Machine is unique.

“(Winning Machine) is an amazing horse,” Lucarelli said. “He can run short, long, you name it — he even ran a mile and three-eighths in Canada. The thing is, he always runs a big race.”

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The 7-year-old gelding, second in last year’s Longacres Mile, is the 9-5 favorite. Why Not Be Perfect is 5-2.

Sis’s Sis wins

Sis’s Sis returned to the races in style Saturday afternoon.

Competing in her first race in seven months, the 6-year-old led all the way and drew off for a 3 ¾-length victory over Carrabelle Harbor in the $19,000 Rising Star Stables Purse for older fillies and mares.

With Rocco Bowen riding, Sis’s Sis ran 5 ½ furlongs in 1 minute, 2.91 seconds and paid $4.60 to win, her ninth victory in 23 career starts.

From track reports