08/29/2011 2:12PM

Emerald Downs: Chu and I proves uncatchable in WTBOA Lads

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AUBURN, Wash. – The speedy Chu and I, making his first start at a route distance, went directly to the front and led past every pole to win the $39,600 WTBOA Lads Stakes on Saturday at Emerald Downs.

With his third victory in four starts, Chu and I inched closer to honors as Emerald’s top 2-year-old, with the season-ending Gottstein Futurity on Sept. 25 the only remaining stakes event on the calendar. The You and I gelding, a homebred for Mike and Amy Feuerborn of Maple Valley, Wash., earned $21,780, increasing his bankroll to $50,539.

Favored narrowly over Silver Boxcar, who defeated him by a neck in the six-furlong Premio Esmeralda Stakes on Aug. 7, Chu and I had to deal with a new rival Saturday as Havanna Red, a maiden after two starts, rallied strongly in the final furlong to threaten Chu and I in the closing yards. Chu and I and jockey Juan Gutierrez held on to win by a head over Havanna Red, with the rest of the field far behind. Leadership, a 26-1 outsider, was third, seven lengths behind the top two, followed by Del Siete Leguas, Silver Boxcar, who pressed the pace before fading badly in the stretch, Gold Surge, Bluegrass Chapp, and Wild Wings.

Chu and I covered one mile in 1:38.43 and paid $6.

“I thought Silver Boxcar would go with me on the lead,” Gutierrez said. “I expected him to pressure us, but that never happened. I was very happy with my spot, because he was galloping on the front end. He started to wait for other horses a little bit in the lane. I felt the other horse coming, but my horse dug back in. He’s a little horse, but he has a big heart.”