The first match race at Los Alamitos in more than 10 years lived up to the hype, as mules Black Ruby and Taz put on another competitive and charismatic show before the world famous Black Ruby defeated her archrival once again.Trained by Ron White for Mary and Sonny McPherson, Black Ruby as now defeated Taz in all but two of their 25 encounters according to statistics available as of Friday night. Black Ruby sealed the deal in the $10,000 Battle of the Titans shortly after the start, leading the 300 yards every step of the way before crossing the wire a half-length ahead of Taz in a time of :18.07. Black Ruby did have her rough patch during the evening. Just after entering the gate, the 11-year-old mule acted up slightly. However, she quickly settled down before exploding out of the gate."That's one of the best races she's ever had," said Jim Burns, who piloted Black Ruby to her 51 win in 58 outings. "She reared up in the gate but that's normal for her. She got her feet together right away and popped super."The McPhersons, who traveled to Los Alamitos from Healdsburg, a town in wine country, 70 miles away from San Francisco, loved every second of Black Ruby's performance. "She's one heck of an animal," Sonny McPherson said. "This was her first race of the year and first outing under the lights but she did everything right. They had a chance to gallop under the lights on Thursday night and that made a big difference. I would like to congratulate the track for allowing us to do that. This has been a fantastic experience and we hope to come back later this year."Black Ruby earned $6,000 for the win to take her lifetime earnings to $192,435. The daughter of Two Bals has won her last four outings. Black Ruby paid $2.40 for the win. There was no place or show wagering. Saddled by Ed Burdick for owner Don Jacklin, Taz pocketed $4,000 for his game effort in the match race. The horse by Coalee McGee was unable to repeat the great effort that helped him defeat Black Ruby back on August 24. "Taz came to her three different times but she just tough to beat," said "Cowboy" Jack Kaenel, who rode Taz. "We broke head and head. Taz tried hard, did everything right and just got beat. I wanted to win this race but you can't complain if you legitimately get outrun. The game goes that way. Black Ruby is just one of them types that when you pressure her, she just finds another gear."
She's just a great mule," Jacklin added. "I thought we had a chance at 300 yards. Maybe I should have asked for 350."