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Emerald Downs: Herbie D wins Mt. Rainier Handicap
By Nick Rousso
AUBURN, Wash. – The fastest horse in British Columbia spread a wider web Sunday, as Herbie D dominated the $50,000 Mt. Rainier Handicap at Emerald Downs.
Herbie D, a speedy but lightly raced 5-year-old trained by Robert Gilker, led from gate to wire and pulled away late to win by 2 3/4 lengths. He ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:40.52 and paid $6.20 as the lukewarm favorite in a field of six.
In taking the Mt. Rainier with relative ease, Herbie D stamped himself as the horse to beat in the Grade 3 Longacres Mile on Aug. 18. Four of the past seven Mt. Rainier winners have gone on to capture the Longacres Mile, the Pacific Northwest’s only graded race.
Herbie D’s brilliance was in stark contrast to the effort turned in by Tres Borrachos, a multiple graded stakes winner in California with more than $1 million in career earnings. Making his first start at Emerald Downs, with David Flores in from Del Mar for the ride, Tres Borrachos tracked the pace from between horses before retreating nearing the second turn. He finished fifth, 14 1/2 lengths behind Herbie D.
A homebred for George Robbins of Cobble Hill, British Columbia, Herbie D won for the ninth time in 12 starts and added $27,500 to an earnings ledger that now totals $227,928. He’s by the Forty Niner stallion Orchid’s Devil and from a Katowice mare.
Herbie D broke a step slowly from the inside post, but jockey Amadeo Perez soon had him in a commanding position, and Herbie D coasted through the first half-mile in a relatively slow 47.39 seconds before quickening through the latter part of the race to win with something left. Stryker Phd rallied from last to finish second, and Jebrica, the winner of the one-mile Budweiser Handicap in his last start, was third. He was followed by Winning Machine, Tres Borrachos, and Hoist.
“It was pretty nice to see,” Gilker said of the modest pace. “This guy can really rattle, so it was nice to see him running easily.”
Gilker confirmed that Herbie D would make his next start in the Longacres Mile.
“I wanted an excuse to leave our silks here,” he said, “and I think we got one.”
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