07/31/2012 8:41AM

Emerald Downs: Mike Man’s Gold pulls upset in Premio Esmerelda

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AUBURN, Wash. - Mike Man’s Gold remained unbeaten in two Emerald Downs starts with an upset victory Sunday in the $45,000 Premio Esmeralda Stakes for 2-year-old colts and geldings.

Confidently ridden by Javier Matias, Mike Man’s Gold moved readily to collar front-runner Cariboo Road midway around the turn and then held off fast-closing Finallygotabentley, with Gallyn Mitchell riding, to prevail by a half length. Mike Man’s Gold ran six furlongs in 1:10.04 and paid $20.20.

Owned and bred by Keith and Jan Swagerty of Auburn, Wash., Mike Man’s Gold is by Liberty Gold from the Slewdledo mare Chedoodle, making him a half-brother to four-time Emerald Downs Stakes winner No Flies On Doodle. The $24,750 winner’s share pushed his career earnings to $34,568.

It was the first Emerald Downs stakes victory for trainer David Martinez, who became a full-time trainer this year after serving as Vann Belvoir’s chief assistant in recent seasons. Martinez was 2 for 30 at the meeting before Sunday, with Mike Man’s Gold accounting for one of those two victories when he won a maiden race at 20-1 in his career bow.

Cariboo Road faded to finish third, 2 3/4 lengths behind Finallygotabentley. They were followed by Music of My Soul, Gilmore, Master’s Bluff, even-money favorite Scat Daddybaby, and Luna Tick in a field of eight.

Matias recorded his fourth stakes victory at the meeting.

“In the gate, he surprised me a little bit,” Matias said of Mike Man’s Gold. “Last time he broke last, but this time he broke really sharp. I didn’t want to take him back, so I just let him settle. I waited until the quarter pole to ask him because I didn’t want him to move too early. At the quarter pole, I said ‘Let’s go.’ I never heard anyone coming until Gallyn passed me after the wire.”

Mike Man’s Gold could be seen next in the $50,000 WTBOA Lads Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs on Aug. 18.