July 2, 2007 — Kentucky Kris has once again claimed the title of V.I. champ with an emphatic three-length victory in the 1 1/8-mile Emancipation Day Handicap.
The $7,000 eighth and feature race at the Randall Doc James Racetrack was supposed to be a battle between Kentucky Kris and Zirito, but it never developed that way, as Zirito failed to hold up his end of the pre-race hype.
At the break, as expected, Valid Respect charged fast out of the gate and led the four-horse field as it passed the grandstand for the first time. As they moved around the clubhouse turn, it was Valid Respect with jockey Junior Inirio still out front, followed closely a neck back by Zirito and jocky Miguel Sanchez. In third, another length back, was Kentucky Kris and jockey Jose Rohena, with the late-running Silver Horn about two lengths back with Angel Stanley in the irons.
As they entered the back stretch, Valid Respect still led the tightly bunched field, with the others still in the same running order.
Midway down the backstretch, Valid Respect opened up a one-length lead on Zirito and the rest of the field and looked game enough to lead the field all the way to the wire.
As they approached the three-eight pole, Valid Respect opened two lengths on the field. But Kentucky Kris and Silver Horn also kicked it into high gear, while Zirito faltered and soon trailed the field. Midway around the far turn, Kentucky Kris collared Valid Respect and went by in a blur. As they turned for home, Kentucky Kris drew clear by two lengths, followed by Valid Respect and a fast-closing Silver Horn.
Silver Horn charged down the middle of the track as they raced for the wire. He got by Valid Respect, but there was no catching the class of the field, Kentucky Kris, as he continued to motor, crossing the finish line three lengths in front. Valid Respect finished third, with Zirito a distant fourth. Kentucky Kris covered the 1 1/8 miles in a time of 1:53.4.
Asked how he was able to bring Kentucky Kris back to the big island with such an outstanding performance after a beaten third in his last race here, owner Leroy Gotlieb said you win some, you lose some.
Well his last race was Carnival, and we did what we had to do to, he said. We swam, we put him on the track, and he had a little more work this time. We know it was 1 1/8 miles, and he satisfied us today. The thing with horses — you know you cant win every race. Somebody else has got to win, otherwise there is no need in having horse races.
As good a performance as Kentucky Kris turned in, the best race of the day had to have been the 2007 Budhoe Classic seventh race for native thoroughbreds. Seven horses entered the 7 1/2-furlong classic, but after one furlong it was a two-horse race the rest of the way between Quelbe Queen, with Angel Stanley aboard, and Queen Mary, with local jockey great Elmo Mahal Barnes in the irons.
By the time the horses reached the clubhouse turn, the two had already begun to leave the rest of the field behind. Up the backstretch, the two front runners were separated by more than a neck. First one would get a slight advantage, then the other. They were still together around the far turn, and when the made the turn for home at the top of the stretch, everyone in the stands came to their feet, cheering these two native fillies to the wire.
Barnes got Queen Mary ahead in front midway down the stretch, and, try as he might, Stanley could get Quelbe Queen no closer. They crossed the wire with Queen Mary holding that same margin for the victory. Queen Mary negotiated the 7 1/2-furlong distance in a time of 1:40.4 to take home the lions share of the $4,500 purse.
The rest of the days results:
Race1 5F Class G
1. Juelz, Alphonso Claudio
2. Another Dancer, Alphonso Claudio
3. Precious Gold, Jesus Guadelupe
Race2 1 M Class F (1)
1. Fantastic Four, Junior Inirio
2. Top Ranking, Elmo Barnes
3. Another Wanda, Jose Rohena
Race3 1 M Class E
1. Personal Hearing, Angel Stanley
2. Sarazen Blade, Elmo Barnes
3. Marfin Express, Jesus Guadelupe
Race4 1 M open M&F
1. Caribbean Colony, Junior Inirio
2. Trick Hunter, Jesus Guadelupe
3. Shes Got the Helm, Angel Stanley
Race5 7/1-2 F Classes C&D
1. Cat Hunter, Elmo Barnes
2. Man the Torpedoes
3. My Dream Team, Miguel Sanchez
Race16 F Open, Jockey
1. Emilin, Juan Almidina
2. Carson Secrets, Jose Rohena
3. Zerocs, Junior Inirio
Race7 1 M Classes B&C
1. Over Payment, Juan Almidina
2. Vivid Cat, Junior Inirio
3. Slew Alex, Miguel Sanchez
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