The Great Face made Emerald Downs' opening night of racing for 2007 one to remember when he tied the world record for 5 1/2 furlongs in the feature race on April 20.
The Great Face broke into the lead from the ninth post position in the $20,000 allowance/optional claiming event (race 7) and never looked back, clocking a time of 1:01.20. That matched the North American and world dirt mark of 1:01 1/5 set by Silvey's Image at Turf Paradise in 1992 and matched by Plenty Zloty at the Arizona track in 1995 and by Willie the Cat at Emerald Downs in 2004.
Ridden by Juan Gutierrez, the 5-year-old Cahill Road gelding is owned by track president Ron Crockett and conditioned by Tom Wenzel.
"I had a lot of confidence in my horse," Gutierrez said. "He's a nice horse." Coming out of the turn, The Great Face led by about three lengths extended his advantage to the wire for a 5 1/4-length victory.
"I thought it looked like speed was hanging around tonight," Wenzel said. "This horse looked good from day one."
The bay thrilled a large opening day crowd, estimated to be over 10,000, with the impressive victory and paid $12.60, $6.40, and $3.60.
Courting Seattle ran second and paid $7.60 and $4.40. Coastal King paid $8.80 for third.
The track experienced its second largest opening day handle of $1,608,896, a 13% increase over 2006. Wagering on-track jumped more than 23%.
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