07/11/2005 11:00PM

One-two finish a bittersweet moment


AUBURN, Wash. - Trainer Tim McCanna couldn't have asked for a better result in last Sunday's $60,000 Kent Handicap for 3-year-old fillies, as his entry of Gins Majesty and Queenledo ran first and second at Emerald Downs.

All the same, McCanna had mixed emotions about seeing Queenledo lose for the first time in four starts this year.

"It was a weird feeling watching them come down the lane," he said. "I was yelling for Queenledo because she was behind. I guess I was hoping for a dead heat. I'm glad Gins Majesty won it, but I hated to see Queenledo get beat."

McCanna said he has had enough of running his two fillies against each other. He said they will go their separate ways for their next start, with Gins Majesty contesting the $100,000 Washington Breeders' Cup Oaks here on Aug. 20 and Queenledo going two weeks later in the $150,000-added B.C. Oaks at Hastings.

"I'm thinking Queenledo is the one to take to Canada," he said. "She has that quick move, so the bullring should suit her, and she is such a smart horse that I'm sure the new surroundings won't bother her. The other one is more nervous."

McCanna said Gins Majesty, a daughter of Go for Gin who races for Quadrun Farm, got hot in the paddock on Sunday. She calmed down enough to run her best race yet under a perfectly judged ride by Kevin Krigger, beating Queenledo to the wire by a length in 1:42.80 for 1 1/16 miles. It was the first stakes win for Gins Majesty, who ran second to Queenledo in the one-mile Irish Day Handicap on June 12.

"She's an improving horse and she has the potential to be even better with more distance," said McCanna. "She is from a good family. She has the pedigree, and Queenledo has the heart. Queenledo is just a freak, and she might have won under equal weights."

Queenledo carried 124 pounds, five more than her entrymate. If she had won, Queenledo would have been the first horse to win a handicap at Emerald Downs carrying that much weight. Only four horses - Sky Jack, Housa Dancer, Makors Mark, and Demon Warlock - have ever won handicaps here under 123 pounds.

"If I would have known that, I probably would have scratched her," said McCanna. "I think she carried more weight than any handicap horse in the country this weekend, and she's just a 3-year-old filly. It's asking an awful lot."

Queenledo's weight assignment didn't keep fans from pounding the McCanna-trained entry down to 1-2, and it didn't prevent show bettors from wagering more than $52,000 on the entry. There was only about $58,000 in the entire show pool, so the track suffered a $6,680 hit when it paid out the minimum $2.10 to show.

Queenledo and Gins Majesty had to be coupled in the wagering because McCanna and his wife, Jan, belong to the ownership groups that campaign both horses.

Apprentice starts career with a win

Apprentice Jessica Gilbert wasted no time in getting her career kick-started, winning with her very first mount here last Friday night. Gilbert rode the Bill Smith-trained Sanzibar to a 1 1/2-length victory in the third race, a 1 1/16-mile race for $4,000 claimers.

"This is a dream come true," said Gilbert. "I was nervous, but I just tried to breathe, relax, and let the horse do his job. I tried not to get in his way."

Sanzibar, who came from third position to score, was sent off as the 4-5 favorite.

Gilbert, a 25-year-old native of Salem, Ore., has been galloping horses here for the past three or four years, according to presiding steward Doug Moore.

"She came to us a couple of months ago and said she would like to ride, so we started sending her to the starting gate and the film reviews," said Moore. "To tell you the truth, I didn't envision her riding her first race at 1 1/16 miles, but she seemed to handle it just fine. Considering it was her first mount, she looked pretty good."

Acupuncture revitalizes Count Orange

Count Orange snapped back to form with a smart victory over allowance rivals last Saturday, and trainer Aubrey Villyard credited acupuncture treatments for his resurgence.

"I was watching him earlier in the week and he just didn't seem to be traveling quite right," Villyard said. "I had some acupuncture done on his back, and two days later he was his old self."

The 4-year-old Count Orange registered 3 wins and 4 seconds from 10 starts here last season, but he was unplaced in two prior starts at this meet. He won last weekend's allowance feature by 1 1/2 lengths over Go Devil Go in 1:16.20 for 6 1/2 furlongs.

Alfurune retired at 7

Trainer Diane Garrison reported that Alfurune, winner of the 2003 Independence Day Handicap, has been retired. Alfurune, a 7-year-old son of Alfaari and Mille Et Une, was bred and raised by Garrison and her husband, Terry, at their Savario Farm in Enumclaw. He ended his career with 5 wins from 33 starts for $210,247 in earnings.

Garrison said that Alfurune, who is a gelding, is destined to become a dressage horse for her granddaughter, but not for a while.

"She's only a year old," Garrison said. "By the time she's ready, he will be just the right age."