Elliott Bay took command into the lane and held off Trump Itz for a 1½-length victory Sunday in the $95,000 Gottstein Futurity on closing day of the 2017 live racing season at Emerald Downs.
Ridden by Jennifer Whitaker at 120 pounds, Elliott Bay ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.08 and paid $6.40, $3.20 and $2.80. Howard Belvoir is the winning trainer for owner Rising Star Stable II.
Belvoir now has 43 stakes wins at Emerald Downs and 16 with 2-year-olds, but Elliott Bay represents his first in the Gottstein.
“The Gottstein’s a special race and a big race, kind of like the Longacres Mile, so this is a very special win,” Belvoir said.
Perfectly ridden by Whitaker, Elliott Bay stalked the filly Diamonds R through six furlongs in 1:11.41, pounced to a 3½-length advantage past mid-stretch, and held off a strong rally by Trump Itz for the victory.
“He’s a push-button horse, just so much fun to ride,” Whitaker said. “We had a perfect trip.”
For Elliott Bay, a Washington-bred by Harbor the Gold-Melba Jewel, the Gottstein winner’s share is a hefty $52,250. His overall record is 2-2-0 in five starts – including two stakes wins – and $90,687 in purses. The Gottstein also clinched honors as the track’s Top 2-Year-Old Colt or Gelding.
Trump Itz, with Julien Couton riding, produced a solid stretch run to finish second and paid $3.80 and $3.20. It was six lengths back to Hey Sequoia, ridden by Leonel Camacho-Flores, and a $5.40 show payoff.
Diamonds R and Frisky Bear, the two fillies in the lineup, checked in fourth and fifth, and My Heart Awakens, Winning Bluff and Aceinthehole, completed the order of finish.
My Heart Awakens – favored by a scant $256 over Elliott Bay in the wagering – was slammed at the break, dropped back to last early and was never seriously involved in the race.
Rising Star Stable, headed by Vicki Potter, has enjoyed enormous success in recent seasons. In addition to Elliott Bay, Rising Star owns Barkley and So Lucky, both multiple stakes winners at Emerald Downs.