11/16/2011 11:59AM

D Devil is representing the home team in the McFadden Memorial Sprint Claiming Series


Portland, OR—The big story out of Leg 1 of the McFadden Memorial Sprint Claiming Series at Portland Meadows was the big performances from the two classy runners from Canada, Rallying Cry and Colonel Courtney.  Flying under their shadow, was the winner of the second division, a humble claiming runner named D Devil who swept up from far behind to get up and win on November 2nd.  D Devil is a 9 year old Oregon bred who has competed at the races 99 times in his career that as of Wednesday November 16th, Leg 2 of the Sprint Claiming Series, will have spanned seven years and 1 day.  Back on November 15, 2004 D Devil started his career with a lackluster sixth place finish at odds of 18 to 1.  He finally broke his maiden in career start number seven, ironically under jockey Jose Zunino, who was aboard for his win in Leg 1 of the Sprint Claiming Series.  It was Zunino’s first time aboard D Devil and the magic seemed to be there.

D Devil has never really been a stakes horse, although he’s competed in a couple of small added money events, never finishing better than second.  He’s earned his marks in the claiming races, running for $2,500, $3,500, $5,000, whatever the price might be.  He’s started at Portland Meadows 41 times and scored six victories here on his home track.  He’s hit the board in 27 of his 41 tries here.  Maybe it’s his salt demeanor that helps him run so well?

“He’s pretty feisty,” said trainer Rigoberto Velazquez.  “He’s not very nice or friendly, and he’ll bite at you if you come too close.”

Velazquez purchased D Devil privately this past summer at Emerald Downs and didn’t seem to reluctant about losing his horse via the claim in the first leg of the Sprint Claiming Series, a $2,500 event. 

“He’s been in for $2,500 many times before,” said Velazquez.  “I told the owner (Marsha Honda) that we might lose him, but we weren’t to worried about it.”

D Devil got a great setup in the five furlong race, a distance that Velazquez said he was somewhat worried about because of the horse’s lack of early speed.

“We got lucky they went so fast up front in Leg 1,” said Velazquez.  “He got a good trip, but he came out of the race well and we’ll be back for Leg 2.”

Leg 2 of the McFadden Memorial Sprint Claiming Series will be run on Wednesday November 16th with the top 12 point earners for the first two legs earning a spot in the finals on December 7th, which features a purse of $26,900.