05/12/2013 9:17PM

Emerald Downs: E Z Kitty takes Hastings Handicap

Erin Palmer/Emerald Downs Photo
E Z Kitty gives jockey Anne Sanguinetti her first Emerald Downs stakes win Sunday in the Hastings Handicap.

AUBURN, Wash. – E Z Kitty raced to a two-length victory Sunday in the $50,000 Hastings Handicap at Emerald Downs, running six furlongs in a stakes-record-tying 1:08.26 to stamp herself as the early leader in a filly-and-mare division that promises to be topsy-turvy for the balance of the summer meeting.

E Z Kitty tuned up for the Hastings in an April 21 allowance race, finishing a neck behind presumptive division leader Exclusive Diva, after which trainer Jeff Metz said E Z Kitty was a workout short of being in peak condition. But with that prep race under her belt, E Z Kitty was able to turn the tables on Exclusive Diva with relative ease Sunday, kicking away through the final furlong after helping to set fractions of 22.12 seconds, 44.55, and 56.12. She paid $5.60.

The defeat for 4-5 favorite Exclusive Diva was her first in six sprint attempts, and a difficult draw in the outside post position may have taken a toll. Inside speed was dominant Sunday at Emerald Downs, and Exclusive Diva was forced to take the overland route after getting away behind both E Z Kitty and early pacesetter Plus One.

The victory was worth $27,500 to E Z Kitty’s owner, Bruce Maller, of Incline Village, Nev. Maller purchased E Z Kitty privately in March after a strong campaign at Turf Paradise. E Z Kitty, a 5-year-old by He’s Tops, improved her career record to 10-2-2 from 18 starts and pushed her earnings to $182,873.

It was the first Emerald Downs stakes victory for both Metz and jockey Anne Sanguinetti.

Runner-up Exclusive Diva came home four lengths in front of Plus One, who was followed by Gosailgo, Royal Moses, Maggie’s Special, and Smokin’ Grey.