05/22/2016 9:37PM

O B Harbor survives early duel to win Governor's Stakes


Despite dueling with Kaabraaj through extremely fast fractions, O B Harbor was a convincing winner of the $50,000 Governor’s Stakes at Emerald Downs on Sunday. He paid $8.60 for his 4 1/4-length win over Absolutely Cool in the 6 1/2- furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up.

With Jose Zunino aboard, O B Harbor hopped and was bumped at the break. He recovered quickly, though, and then dueled with Kaabraaj through a first quarter-mile in 21.58 seconds. O B Harbor held a half-length lead over his rival after a half-mile in 42.67. After disposing of Kaabraaj at the eighth pole, he took complete control of the race and never looked threatened by Absolutely Cool, who rallied late. Kaabraaj held on to finish third.

 “All I know is he go fast,” said Zunino. “He’s a nice horse and he really likes to win.”

Trainer Chris Stenslie was a little concerned when she saw the lightning-fast fractions.

“I thought they were going a little rapid,” she said.

The final time of 1:13.59 over a track rated fast is a stakes record.

A 4-year-old gelding by Harbor the Gold, O B Harbor is owned by One Horse Will Do Corporation.

In the $50,000 Hastings, Estellara came from a stalking position to edge Ethan’s Baby by a head in the six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares She paid $6.60.

With Erick Lopez aboard, Estellara sat just off Ethan’s Baby and Queen’s Rush during the early stages of the race. She engaged Ethan’s Baby at the eighth pole and they battled gamely the rest of the way with Estellara getting up in the last couple of strides. Citizen Kitty finished five lengths back in third. Even-money favorite Kikisoblu didn’t break that sharply and never got involved while finishing sixth.

The final time was 1:08.30.

It was the first stakes win at Emerald for jockey Erick Lopez.

“I had a good trip,” he said. “She broke sharply, settled nicely, and when I angled her out she finished well.”

Estellara is trained by Len Kasmerski and is owned by Roz Barclay.