Barkley Gives Howard Belvoir Third Longacres Mile Victory

Barkley and his big white face out finished millionaire Alert Bay and scored a 1 1/2-length victory Sunday in the 83rd running of the $200,000 Longacres Mile (G3) at Emerald Downs in Auburn, Wash.

With Javier Matias riding at 120 pounds, Barkley charged between Alert Bay and Oh Marvelous Me to gain command past mid-stretch, and drew clear late for the victory. The winner ran the mile in 1:34.93.

A 5-year-old Kentucky-bred by Munnings–Numero d’Oro, Barkley earned $108,900 for his first graded win and sixth stakes victory overall. His career record improved to 9-4-1 in 17 starts with earnings of $351,800.

Howard Belvoir trains Barkley for owner Rising Star Stable III, a syndicate headed by Vicki Potter of Auburn, Wash.

For Belvoir, it’s his third win in the Northwest’s premier race, tying him with Jim Penney for most Mile wins at Emerald Downs. Penney, who died last year, is No. 1 all-time with five Mile wins, including two at the old Longacres.

Belvoir said Barkley’s Mile victory ranks among his biggest accomplishments in racing.

“This is way up there, and I might need a parachute to get down,” he said. “This is a good little horse. He was real slow about switching leads today, but once he did the race was over.”

Barkley represents the first Mile win for Matias, a 46-year-old Mexico City native who ranks among the Top 10 in virtually every major riding category at Emerald Downs, including 31 stakes wins. His previous best Mile finish was a second aboard Winning Machine in 2012.

“Whenever you have a short field things can happen,” Matias said in a jubilant winner’s circle. “This time I think I rode a pretty smart race, and the horse proved himself today. He won the race.”

Alert Bay, the 9-5 favorite ridden by Juan Hernandez at 121 lbs, ran a strong race off the bench for trainer Blaine Wright, and paid $3.40 and $2.80 for place and show.

A 7-year-old California-bred, Alert Bay earned $39,600 for owner Peter Redekop of Vancouver, B.C., and the City Zip gelding is 14-8-4 in 34 lifetime starts with earnings of $1,292,155.

Oh Marvelous Me, ridden by Julien Couton at 117 lbs, held third and paid $3 to show. Owned by Todd and Shawn Hansen of Tenino, Wash., Oh Marvelous Me is now 6-3-3 in 13 starts at Emerald Downs.

Wright, who also trains Oh Marvelous Me, wound up finishing second and third in the Mile despite his current top gun, Riser, missing the race with injury.

Mach One Rules, Kaabraaj and Midwest shipper Conquest Windycity finished fourth, fifth and sixth.

Kaabraaj led early, as expected, setting moderate fractions of :23.47, :46.08 and 1:09.98, but was overtaken by Oh Marvelous Me into the stretch. Straightening into the lane, Oh Marvelous Me, Alert Bay and Barkley were three heads apart, and the stage was set for Barkley’s winning move. While Alert Bay drifted out a tad past mid-stretch, Barkley found his best stride and surged to victory.

Barkley joined Washington Hall of Famer Noosa Beach as the only horses in Emerald Downs’ history to win stakes at ages 2, 3, 4 and 5.

The Longacres Mile was the final leg of Sunday’s stakes quadruple-header, also featuring the $50,000 Emerald Distaff,

The post Barkley Gives Howard Belvoir Third Longacres Mile Victory appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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