09/08/2009 12:00AM

Winning Machine captures Emerald Derby


AUBURN, Wash. - Winning Machine raced to a hard-fought victory Monday in the $75,000 Emerald Derby, all but clinching honors as the top 3-year-old at Emerald Downs. Rooster City finished a head behind in second, with 6-5 wagering favorite Peaceful Reign another length back in third.

Winning Machine ($6.40) ran nine furlongs on a wet-fast track in 1:48.60 and earned $41,250 for owners Raymond Kwik of Spokane, Wash., and Paul Goldberg of Westport, Conn. The Kentucky-bred son of Toccet won for the third time in five starts in 2009; he previously captured an allowance race on the second day of the meeting, and the one-mile Tacoma Handicap on June 28.

He also was second, a head behind Noosa Beach, in the 6 1/2-furlong Pepsi-Cola Handicap on May 31, and third, seven lengths behind Peaceful Reign, in the 1 1/16-mile Seattle Slew Handicap on Aug. 2 in his last start before the Derby.

Ricky Frazier rode Winning Machine for trainer Doris Harwood, who leads all trainers with 10 stakes victories at the 2009 Emerald meeting. Harwood has won four of the five stakes for 3-year-olds - two with Winning Machine and two with Noosa Beach, who is scheduled to run Sunday in the restricted $50,000 Trooper Seven Stakes.

Winning Machine vied with Devil Cat M D through the first five furlongs, gradually drew clear around the second turn, and held off Rooster City in the final strides. Peaceful Reign made a looming bid near the eighth pole but flattened out to finish third. Connor's Buddy, Red Dancer, Devil Cat M D, and Messy Marvin completed the order of finish.