05/22/2017 7:56AM

Barkley edges Mach One Rules once again in Governor's Stakes

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Reed & Erin Palmer Photography/Emerald Downs
Barkley (4) edges Mach One Rules to win the Governor's Stakes at Emerald Downs on Sunday.

Barkley defeated Mach One Rules in the $50,000 Governor’s at Emerald Downs Sunday in a continuation of their one-sided relationship.

In three straight stakes as 3-year-olds last year, Barkley edged Mach One Rules by a head, a neck, and a head. The margin of victory in the Governor’s was a neck, with Barkley paying $9.40.

And just like in all three last year, it looked like Mach One Rules was going to win, only to be denied in the closing yards.

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With Javier Matias aboard, Barkley settled early while Prime Engine under pressure from Distinctiv Passion posted interior splits of 21.96 and 43.86 seconds in the six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up. Barkley was stuck behind horses while saving ground around the turn, but when Matias got him off the rail turning for home he finished full of run to wear down Mach One Rules, who had taken the lead in midstretch. Togrammashosewego rallied to finish third.

The final time was 1:07.92.

“I had no place to go on the turn, but once he was clear he gave me everything he had,” said Matias. “He’s a special horse and he certainly knows where the wire is.”

The expected shape of the race changed dramatically when the favorite, Distinctiv Passion, bobbled at the start. Instead of Distinctiv Passion being the one to run down, he ended up chasing Prime Engine. Prime Engine disposed of Distinctiv Passion and opened up a clear lead just past the quarter pole before tiring late to finish fourth.

It was Barkley’s seventh win in nine starts. He was the runner-up in the Emerald Derby last year and also when he got wiped out at the break his first start this year in a $50,000 optional-claiming race won by Prime Engine.

A Kentucky-bred son of Munnings, Barkley is trained by Howard Belvoir, who praised the ride by Matias.

“You could not have asked for a better ride by any jockey in the world,” said Belvoir, who has won the Governor’s a record five times.

The win brought Barkley’s earnings to $181,075. He is owned by Rising Star Stables lll.