06/29/2009 11:00PM

Winning Machine sets Emerald stakes mark

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AUBURN, Wash. - Winning Machine rallied for a head victory in the $50,000 Tacoma Handicap for 3-year-olds Sunday at Emerald Downs. The favorite in the field of nine, the Kentucky-bred son of Toccet paid $6.40 and ran one mile in a stakes-record 1:34.80.

Winning Machine most recently was a close second behind Doris Harwood-trained stablemate Noosa Beach in the 6 1/2-furlong Pepsi-Cola Handicap on May 31. Noosa Beach, a two-time stakes winner at the meeting, finished a non-threatening fourth Sunday. Harwood's third starter, Proud Nicholas, finished fifth after pressing the pace.

Winning Machine raced close to the pace throughout and prevailed after a prolonged duel with Peaceful Reign, who finished third, a nose behind the fast-closing Rooster City in a furious three-horse finish. The $27,500 winner's share boosted Winning Machine's lifetime earnings to $74,228 for owners Fleur De Lis Stables. It was his first stakes victory.

Rooster City rallied strongly to get the place, his third runner-up finish in four stakes appearances. He finished second behind Gallant Son in the 2008 WTBA Lads Stakes, and just missed against Noosa Beach in the season-opening Auburn Stakes on April 26.

Peaceful Reign set a pressured pace and gave way grudgingly. Claimed for $30,000 in early May, he has finished third in stakes company in his two subsequent starts.