07/03/2001 11:00PM

Emerald tops Can-Am contest

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Despite three wins by Hastings Park jockey Brian Johnson, the Emerald Downs team took home first prize in the Can-Am jockey challenge, which concluded at Hastings Park on Monday.

The Emerald team had built up a 22 1/2-point lead from the first day of the two-day competition, held at Emerald Downs on Friday, but after Johnson won the first two races Monday, the teams were tied going into the final race.

Johnson sent Bently T right to the front and managed to hold on for his third win of the day, but the Emerald riders finished second, third, and fourth to earn enough points to take the title. Hastings was represented by Johnson, Frank Fuentes, Dave Wilson, and Fernando Serna, while the Emerald team was made up of Ben Russell, Frank Gonsalves, Javier Matias, Gallyn Mitchell, Gary Baze, and Miguel Perez. Matias and Mitchell couldn't make the trip across the border and were replaced Monday by Baze and Perez.

Final point totals were 127 1/2 for the Emerald team and 119 for Hastings. Johnson had the individual title wrapped up after the second race of the series and finished with 56 points.