(from Portland Meadows)
Team Portland Meadows dominated its fellow riders from Golden Gate Fields in winning the first "XpressBet Jockey Challenge" at its home track Jan. 7.
Debbie Hoonan-Trujillo led the charge for Portland Meadows with a win aboard Mystacallie in the second leg of the challenge series. Hoonan-Trujillo also had a pair of second place finishes to take the individual title and an additional $2,500. Javier Matias finished second in the individual point standings and picked up $1,500, and David Lopez was third and received a $1,000 bonus.
Overall, Team Portland Meadows, with 65 points, bettered Team Golden Gate with 78. For its win, Team Portland Meadows consisting of Hoonan-Trujillo, Matias, Lopez and Mark Anderson, will split $10,000. Team Golden Gate which featured Russell Baze, Kyle Kaenel, Francisco Duran and Leslie Mawing, was awarded $5,000.
The event kicked off with a thrilling stretch duel between Hail Mister True and Shakalaka. a race which was named in honor of Jerry Taketa. Hail Mister True and Javier Matias prevailed by a nose. Benson Road and Kyle Kaenel finished up third.
The second race of the series featured "The People’s Horse" Mystacallie closing past favored Maxie’s Night Cap to get up in the final sixteenth of a mile. The second leg was named in honor of former Portland Meadows rider Dan Castle, and this time it was Hoonan-Trujillo turning the tables on Matias, who was aboard the runner-up. Wild But Free and Leslie Mawing finished third.
The next race, which was named in honor of longtime Northwest jockey and trainer Richard Wright, saw Dennybuck sit a nice trip for jockey David Lopez who guided him to a 1 1/4-length victory. The Royals Court stayed just behind Dennybuck the entire way, but could never push on by. The early pacesetter Shining Day and Kyle Kaenel finished third.
The fourth and final leg featured Russell Baze and heavily favored Timely Brush powering home to win by five open lengths. Brainstorm closed from last for Mark Anderson to get up for the place position with R Lumber holding on for third. The last event was named in honor of three-time Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Gary Stevens, who was present as part of the XpressBet broadcasting team.
Following the XpressBet Jockey Challenge, long shot Sittingonarainbow scored for jockey Leslie Mawing and trainer G. Dharma Khalsa in the first running of the $18,000 Willamette River Stakes. Sittingonarainbow was making just his second career start after a last-place finish up at Emerald Downs for a $20,000 maiden claiming tag.
Portland Meadows all-source handle for the program was $1,102,719, just under $12,000 short of their all-time record for a day of live racing. That record of 1,114,671 was set in December of 2007 on an 11-race card.
As a footnote, the popular Mystacallie earned $3,410 for her win and pushed her season earnings to $17,587. Portland Meadows is matching her earnings for the season and donating the sum to the Oregon National Guard Emergency Relief Fund.