08/13/2016 9:17PM

My Friend Emma sets course record in Jess Jackson Owners’ Handicap

Shane Micheli/Vassar Photography
My Friend Emma and jockey Juan Hernandez win the Jess Jackson Owners' Handicap on Saturday.

My Friend Emma ($6) made amends for a disappointing effort in last month’s Oak Tree Sprint with a record-setting performance in the $63,550 Jess Jackson Owners’ Handicap, finishing in 55.75 seconds at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, Calif.

His time in the five-furlong turf sprint shattered Ain’t No Other’s course record of 56.47 seconds set in winning the 2013 Jess Jackson. Juan Hernandez, who rode Ain’t No Other, was also aboard My Friend Emma.

The 4-year-old Tannersmyman gelding broke sharply, opening an immediate lead. Although he ran so well that it is hard to imagine anyone beating him, his cause was helped when speedy 9-10 favorite Cartoonist did not break, spotting his rival several lengths early.

My Friend Emma, who won a five-furlong turf race here after being eased following a poor break in the Oak Tree Sprint at Pleasanton, was unchallenged throughout, with fractions of 22.62 seconds and 44.97 before running the final furlong in 10.78 seconds. His stakes-winning time was nearly three seconds faster than his 58.69 winning time on July 30.

Arrom Bear was second the whole trip, finishing one length in front of Cartoonist, who raced wide after his poor start.

“In the race at Pleasanton, he had a couple issues, but we don’t know what really happened,” said winning trainer Monty Meier. “Maybe he just likes to go for a ride in a trailer before he races.

“He rode up here nice and quiet with another filly who was running that day last time, so we put the pony in the trailer today. If it takes baby-sitters, we’ll do it.”

Meier expected Cartoonist, who carried only 103 pounds since owners could name their own weights, to take the lead.

"My only instructions to Juan were, ‘You know how to ride him,’ but I said he might have to go around Cartoonist. When I looked up and saw 22 and change [for the opening quarter], I was very happy.”

The Jess Jackson was the first stakes win for My Friend Emma, who is owned by Rosa Camacho or Geraldo Robles. The $1,000 yearling purchase at the 2013 Northern California sale at Pleasanton earned $40,850 for his fifth win in 12 starts. His career bankroll is now $153,421.