11/21/2015 5:23PM

Cougar Ridge turns back Departing in Delta Mile

Coady Photography
Cougar Ridge, under Robby Albarado, wins the Delta Mile by three-quarters of a length.

Cougar Ridge held off surging favorite Departing by three-quarters of a length to win his fourth straight race Saturday in the $250,000 Delta Downs Mile. It was another 7 1/4 lengths back in third to Rise Up. 

The Delta Mile was one of eight stakes supporting the Grade 3, $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot. Other races on the card included the Grade 3, $400,000 Delta Downs Princess won by Jet Black Magic ($21.40).

Cougar Ridge ($6.80) settled into fourth in the Delta Mile as Rise Up broke on top and set fractions of 22.71 seconds for the opening quarter and 46.71 for the half-mile over a muddy track. Cougar Ridge closed in on the leaders on the final turn and in the stretch kept a late-running Departing at bay. Cougar Ridge covered the distance in 1:39.59.

“He indicated the whole race he was there for me,” said winning rider Robby Albarado. “I just tried to be a patient passenger.”

Cougar Ridge began his streak in August, when he won the $75,000 DeBartolo Memorial on turf at Remington Park. He proceeded to take the track’s $100,000 Remington Green on grass in September before accounting for an off-the-turf Keeneland allowance in October.

“He’s really gotten good of late,” said trainer Randy Morse.

Rise Up surpassed the $1 million mark in earnings with his third-place finish Saturday. He was one of two horses on the afternoon that reached that milestone for trainer Tom Amoss. Heitai at Fair Grounds surpassed $1 million in earnings with his runner-up finish in an allowance in New Orleans.

In other undercard stakes:

Sea Vow ($8.80) moved to the front soon after the start of the $150,000 Louisiana Legacy and never relinquished his lead for a two-length win over Mick. The race for 2-year-olds bred in Louisiana was the first leg of an all-stakes pick four that had a guaranteed pool of $200,000. Sea Vow covered the mile on a muddy track in 1:43.16. Trainer Joey Foster said the horse could be considered for the Louisiana Champions Day program next month at Fair Grounds. Alexander Castillo rode Sea Vow for Ronald Webb.  

Giant Cruiser ($54.80) launched a powerful move on the final turn and rolled home by a length over 23-1 shot Blue Ribbon Gal to win the $150,000 Louisiana Jewel. It was another 11 1/4 lengths back in third to Zuzor. Giant Cruiser covered the mile on a sloppy track in 1:44.71. Gerard Melancon rode the winner for Whispering Oaks and trainer Steve Flint.

Mayla ($5.40) darted to a 4 3/4-length win over Lunar Gaze in the first stakes on the card, the $75,000 Orleans for fillies and mares. It was another 5 1/2 lengths back in third to favorite My Miss Venezuela. Mayla covered the seven furlongs run around two turns in the slop in 1:27.24. Colby Hernandez rode the winner for the partnership of Carl Moore and Brad Grady. Mayla is trained by Bret Calhoun.