06/25/2012 9:11AM

Emerald Downs: Wenzel sweeps stakes with Makors Finale and Exclusive Diva


AUBURN, Wash. - Trainer Tom Wenzel won both halves of a stakes double-header for 3-year-olds Sunday at Emerald Downs. Makors Finale took the $50,000 Coca-Cola Handicap for colts and geldings, and Exclusive Diva captured the $50,000 Irish Day Handicap for fillies.

Wenzel, 46, saddled two other winners on the 10-race card – his first four-win day – and both of his stakes horses won impressively as the betting favorite. Makors Finale, who finished in a dead heat for the win with D’honorable One in the Auburn Handicap in his previous start, led all the way in the one-mile Coca-Cola, turning back a spirited bid by D’honorable One at the top of the stretch to prevail by three-quarters of a length. Exclusive Diva overcame an eventful trip in the Irish Day to defeat fast-closing Royal Moses by the same margin.

Makors Finale ($5.40) set quick fractions with jockey Gallyn Mitchell, covering the first six furlongs in 1:09.93, and had plenty in reserve when D’honorable One ranged up to join him past the quarter pole. They reached the finish in 1:35.13.

“When he saw [D’honorable One], my horse gave me another half-length,” said Mitchell, Emerald Downs’s all-time leader in riding victories. “When he runs with company, he’s such a different horse. I was just trying to use my head and let him do the work. He’s one of the top five horses I’ve ever been on.”

D’honorable One was four lengths clear of third-place finisher Brady’s Kat, and they were followed by Edge Forward, Havanna Red, Don’t Be Coy Roy, First Last Chance, and City Twister.

The $27,500 first prize increased Makors Finale’s earnings to $90,852 for owner Karl Krieg, who bred the colt at his farm in Oak Harbor, Wash.

Exclusive Diva, a homebred for Jerre Paxton’s Northwest Farms of Yakima, Wash., raced to her fourth victory in five career starts and increased her earnings to $98,105.

After a romping front-running victory in the 6 1/2-furlong Seattle Handicap in her previous start, Exclusive Diva ($3) was forced to navigate choppy waters Sunday, getting pushed wide into the first turn, and then encountering challengers from both sides as the leaders moved toward the second turn. Exclusive Diva asserted herself around the bend, darting away to lead by four lengths, and then held on resolutely to stave off Royal Moses. She ran the mile in 1:35.88.

It was 9 3/4 lengths back to third-place finisher Champagneandcaviar. Lady Hokulea, Sweet Saga, Muchas Coronas, and Talk to My Lawyer completed the order of finish