Grasshopper Stable's Flamethrowintexan overpowered the field in Sunday's $98,750 Mt. Rainier Breeder's Cup Handicap, going gate to wire for a 2 1/4-length victory at Emerald Downs.
With Gallyn Mitchell aboard substituting for the injured Ricky Frazier, the 6-5 favorite turned the tables on Poker Brad, who had beaten Flamethrowintexan in their last start by a neck in the July 3 Independence Day Handicap.
The 4-year-old Way West gelding, trained by Jim Penney, broke on the lead and opened a firm lead while racing slightly off the rail and clipping off fractions of :23 2/5, :46 2/5 and 1:10. After repelling the challenge of Poker Brad coming off the final turn. Flamethrowintexan finished up the 1 1/8-mile event in 1:47 2/5.
"These kind of horses are easy to ride," said Mitchell, who has won a record 46 stakes at the Auburn Oval.
Poker Brad, with Kevin Krigger riding, gamely held off R. Associate and Mick Ruis by a half-length for second. Grafton Square was a nose behind in fourth in the field of six.
"I could never get close to that horse (Flamethrowintexan)," Krigger said. "Everytime I tried to inch a bit closer he kept stepping away."
Flamethrowintexan carried high weight of 122 pounds, two more than Poker Brad.
The graded stakes-winning Flamethrowintexan won for the 10th time in a 16-race career and picked up $55,000 for his owners, increasing his earnings to $456,368. The Florida bred was claimed at Hollywood Park for $62,500 in June 2004.
Sent off the heavy favorite in his last three starts, all at Emerald Downs, Flamethrowintexan paid $4.40, $2.60, and $2.10. Poker Brad, who won the Mt. Rainier last year, returned $3 and $2.20. R. Associate's show was $2.20.