12/11/2010 8:56PM

Positive Response runs away with Gold Rush

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Marcel Langevin/Vassar Photography
Jockey Julien Couton collects his first career stakes victory aboard Positive Response in the Gold Rush.

ALBANY, Calif. – Positive Response, coming off an easy wire-to-wire victory in a starter allowance race, used the same tactics to score an even easier victory in the $75,900 Gold Rush Stakes at Golden Gate Fields on Saturday.

Under jockey Julien Couton, Positive Response ($7.60) took command immediately and was never pressured in scoring his first stakes victory. It was also Couton’s first stakes victory, which he said felt “awesome.”

Positive Response opened a 2½-length lead in the 24.71-second opening quarter and maintained that margin through a 49.65 half-mile. He ran his third quarter in 24.24 seconds, coming home in 23.86 seconds, running the second half of the race 1.55 seconds faster than the opening half.

Rule He Must crept within two lengths at the quarter pole, but Couton stepped on the gas got a very positive response.

Positive Response won the one-mile race by six lengths over Grand Maneuver with King Cola third, a neck behind the runner-up.
Positive Response won the starter allowance by 3½ lengths while running two seconds slower after setting similar fractions.

“Plan A was to go to the lead today, but I told Julien if there was a lot of pressure just to tuck in second or third,” said winning owner-trainer Billy Morey.

There was no need for a Plan B.

“He won last time on the lead last time,” said Couton, who rode Positive Response for the first time. “He broke good today and made the pace nice and easy. He was nice and relaxed all the way around the track. In the stretch, he started looking at things so I had to stay busy on him.”

Positive Response, a private purchase by Morey, Saul Gevertz, Roger Newman, and Ray Pagano after winning a $50,000 maiden claimer at Woodbine in his second start, earned $45,000 for his third career victory in five starts to lift his lifetime earnings to $79,681.