07/18/2011 7:45AM

Emerald Downs: Carrabelle Harbor back on top after Kent victory


AUBURN, Wash. – Carrabelle Harbor, the leading 2-year-old filly at Emerald Downs in 2010, pushed her way to the top of the 3-year-old filly division with a hard-fought victory Sunday in the $50,000 Kent Handicap. Carrabelle Harbor ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.73 on a track labeled wet-fast to defeat 4-5 favorite Class Included by a length. She paid $15.

Carrabelle Harbor captured two stakes last summer, both sprints, before suffering a shocking loss in a restricted event at Portland Meadows in December. She took the rest of the winter off and got off to a slow start this year, finishing fourth in an allowance race May 1 and second behind Class Included in the 6 1/2-furlong Seattle Handicap on May 29, before winning an allowance sprint in her last start before the Kent Handicap.

Carrabelle Harbor was all business Sunday for trainer Doris Harwood and jockey Gallyn Mitchell, breaking sharply to set a pressured pace, and then digging in gamely when collared by Class Included at the top of the stretch. After trading punches down the lane, Carrabelle Harbor inched clear in the final 100 yards to best Class Included, who was 5 3/4 lengths clear of third-place finisher Playful Argument. Judging Mimi was fourth, followed by Elusive Noise, and For You My Heart.

“Being on the inside of the other speed, the plan was to get the lead,” Mitchell said. “I wanted to get a length on the field and then get my horse to relax.

“I thought she would be able to get the distance because Doris and I have been working her for this distance in the mornings. I can’t believe the opening fraction was 22 and change because she was going so easily.”

An Oregon-bred by Harbor the Gold, from the Tiffany Ice mare Silver City Lilly, Carrabelle Harbor improved her record to 4-2-0 from 8 starts and pushed her earnings to $98,391 for a partnership that includes Harwood, and breeders Bar C Racing Stables of Hermiston, Ore. She could be seen next in the $65,000 Washington Oaks at nine furlongs Aug. 13.