Makors Finale edges D'honorable One in Coca-Cola Handicap | Emerald Downs
The win was part of a big day for trainer Tom Wenzel, who was 4 for 4 Sunday.
Seattle Times staff
AUBURN — Once again, the two horses were together coming out of the final turn.
This time, there was a clear winner.
Three weeks after Makors Finale and D'honorable One finished in a dead heat to win the Auburn Handicap, they went at it again in Sunday's $50,000 Coca-Cola Handicap for 3-year-old colts and geldings at Emerald Downs.
The mile race looked like a replay entering the stretch with D'honorable One looking like he might run right by Makors Finale, but once again the latter responded gamely. He retook the lead after the two were on even terms, then held off D'honorable One by three-quarters of a length in a prolonged duel.
It was a huge day for trainer Tom Wenzel, who trains Makors Finale. In the co-feature, the $50,000 Irish Day Handicap for 3-year-old fillies, the Wenzel-trained Exclusive Diva won by three-quarters of a length in the mile race as the heavy favorite. Wenzel was 4 for 4 for the day.
Makors Finale jockey Gallyn Mitchell said his horse was easy to ride and that he made a bold statement.
"I've ridden a lot of great horses in my career, but I would put him in the top five I have ridden," said Mitchell, who is the career leader in stakes victories at Emerald Downs.
Wenzel liked the way his front-runner responded to the challenge.
"He just had a little more push at the end," said Wenzel, who trains the colt for owner and breeder Karl Krieg.
Makors Finale paid $5.40 to win and ran the mile in 1 minute, 35.13 seconds.
Exclusive Diva was the 1-2 favorite after winning last month's Seattle Handicap. Unlike that race, when she was uncontested on the early lead, she pulled back from a hot early pace and raced wide. But she took charge entering the stretch and held off Royal Moses, who was rallying on the outside.
"I asked her at the quarter pole, and she responded," said jockey Juan Gutierrez, who won the Irish Day Handicap for the third straight year.
Exclusive Diva paid $3 to win and ran the mile in 1 minute, 35.88 seconds.
• Trainer Blaine Wright announced that Zayda, who won a pair of stakes races last year for 3-year-olds at Emerald Downs, has been retired. Zayda finished last in a $32,000 claiming race Saturday in his first race of the year.
• Capital Plan, co-owned by Redmond's Mark Dedomenico, won the Grade III $150,000 Beverly Hills Handicap for fillies and mares, She won the 1 ¼-mile race on turf by a nose and paid $3.80 to win.