07/28/2013 10:35PM

Emerald Downs: Del Rio Harbor scores in Emerald Express

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Reed Palmer/Emerald Downs
Del Rio Harbor, under jockey Rocco Bowen, wins Sunday's Emerald Express by three-quarters of a length.

AUBURN, Wash. – Del Rio Harbor, a 15-1 outsider, raced to a narrow victory Sunday in the $50,000 Emerald Express at Emerald Downs. In winning the meeting’s first stakes race for 2-year-olds, Del Rio Harbor ran six furlongs in 1:10.75 and paid $32.80.

By leading Northwest stallion Harbor the Gold, from the Horse Chestnut mare Bahati, Del Rio Harbor is a full brother to Couldabenthewhisky, a multiple stakes winner at Emerald Downs. And like his big brother, Del Rio Harbor demonstrated lots of speed and determination in his first start against winners.

After breaking from the No. 10 post with jockey Rocco Bowen, Del Rio Harbor shot to the lead, angled in to save ground, and persevered through the final furlong to hold off Illumination Road, a first-time starter, by three-quarters of a length. Kenai King, Del Rio Harbor’s stablemate and the 2-1 second choice, was another three-quarters of a length back in third.

Mebossman rallied to finish fourth, followed by Kendini, Italian Warrior, Nicolas Cajun, Hanrahan, Mizzo’s Gold, and 9-5 favorite Stikine Slough, who steadied twice on the backstretch and never got involved.

Dallon’s Gold, a laughing maiden winner in his only start, got loose before the post parade and was withdrawn.

Del Rio Harbor, a homebred for Bar C Racing Stables of Hermiston, Ore., earned $27,500 to push his career ledger to $37,763 from three starts. He finished a distant fifth in his debut June 29, then turned things around dramatically with the addition of blinkers in his second start, winning a five-furlong maiden race in gate-to-wire fashion.

Del Rio Harbor and several others from the Express field could be seen next in the 6 1/2-furlong WTBOA Lads Stakes on Aug. 17.