08/08/2011 7:17AM

Emerald Downs: Exclusive Diva, Silver Boxcar take juvenile stakes

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AUBURN, Wash. - Exclusive Diva and Silver Boxcar raced to front-running victories Sunday at Emerald Downs in the meeting’s first open stakes races for 2-year-olds. Exclusive Diva bounded away in the stretch to win the $49,500 Angie C Stakes for fillies by a length, while Silver Boxcar held off a previously undefeated challenger to capture the $45,000 Premio Esmeralda for colts and geldings by a neck.

Of the two, Exclusive Diva ($4.40) was more impressive, running six furlongs in 1:09.81 after turning back a strong challenge from runner-up Royal Moses in the final furlong. Two races later, Exclusive Diva’s male counterparts ran six furlongs in 1:10.96 – more than a full second slower than the undefeated filly, who had rolled to an easy maiden victory in her only previous start.

Exclusive Diva, a homebred for Jerre Paxton’s Northwest Farms, is by Bernardini from the stakes-winning mare Puxa Saco. Trained by Tom Wenzel, she earned $27,225 Sunday, running her career mark to $36,355. Juan Gutierrez rode.

“When we reached the quarter pole, she took off,” Gutierrez said. “I have a lot of confidence in her. She ran very well in her maiden race, but you never know what to expect coming into a stakes race. She’s a really nice filly.”

Royal Moses was four lengths clear of the third-place finisher Talk to My Lawyer, with Muchas Coronas, Miss Top Nite, and Lady Dakota completing the order of finish.

Silver Boxcar ($15.20) hooked up with Chu and I, winner of the restricted Strong Ruler Stakes in his previous start, in a spirited speed duel, and those two were never more than heads apart before Silver Boxcar inched away in the final yards. D’honorable One, the 3-5 favorite, finished a non-threatening third, three lengths behind Chu and I. He was followed by Gold Surge, Wild Wings, and Ferociously.

Gallyn Mitchell rode Silver Boxcar for trainer Doris Harwood and owners Ivan and Delores Christianson. Now 2 for 4 lifetime, Silver Boxcar increased his earnings to $37,300 with the $24,750 winner’s share of the Premio Esmeralda purse.

Next up for 2-year-olds at Emerald Downs: the one-mile WTBOA Lads Stakes for colts and geldings on Aug. 27, and the one-mile Barbara Shinpoch Stakes for fillies on Aug. 28.