For The Reporter
Sippin Fire passed his first route test with flying colors Sunday at Emerald Downs.
The chestnut gelding overtook Boundary Bay and long shot Smoothee Lee in the final furlong, rolling home to a 2¾-length victory in the $50,000 Seattle Slew Stakes for 3-year-old colts and geldings.
With regular rider Rocco Bowen aboard at 124 pounds, Sippin Fire covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.78 and paid $4.60, $3.20 and $2.80. Steve Bullock is the winning trainer for How We Roll #4, an ownership syndicate composed of David Israel, Joe Withee, Al Adams, Charlie Clark, Angela Wilson and Steve Pilgrim.
With the victory, Sippin Fire became the first double stakes winner at the 2018 meeting and has three stakes wins overall (2017 Washington Cup Juvenile, 2018 Coca-Cola, 2018 Seattle Slew).
A Washington-bred by Harbor the Gold-Bahati, Sippin Fire is 4-1-0 in seven career starts with earnings of $102,688 including $26,675 for Sunday’s victory.
Sippin Fire settled in fourth place early, as Freiburg set fractions of :23.38, :46.56 and 1:10.25, then rallied four wide into the lane and swept past Boundary Bay and Smoothee Lee for a convincing victory.
Bowen, who rode five winners Sunday, praised Bullock and exercise riders Lance Bullock and Abbie Johnson for having Sippin Fire ready for the two-turn assignment.
“I lost a lot of sleep the last few nights worrying about the mile and a sixteenth,” Bowen said. “I have to give credit to everyone at the barn for an amazing job. This horse is special.”
After a fifth in his season debut in the six-furlong Auburn Stakes, Sippin Fire has won the Coca-Cola at (6½ furlongs) and Seattle Slew by a combined 6¼ lengths. And he has a chance for three more stakes this season: $50,000 Muckleshoot Derby, 1 1/8 miles, July 29; $50,000 Washington Cup Sophomore, one mile, Aug. 26; $100,000 Getaway Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Sept. 23.
Smoothee Lee, longest shot on the board at 44-1, gained a brief lead into the stretch, but was unable to fend off Sippin Fire in the lane. Ridden by Austin Solis at 118 pounds, Smoothee Lee paid $21.80 and $7.80.
Boundary Bay, ridden by Aaron Gryder at 118 pounds, edged Elliott Bay for third and paid $4.60 to show. The full brother to 2016 Emerald Downs Horse of the Meeting O B Harbor has finished third in all three stakes this season for 3-year-old colts and geldings.
Golden Cowboy, Trump Itz, Schoenhardt and Frieburg completed the order of finish. Whatwasithinking was scratched.
Henry takes nasty fall in fifth race
Jockey Patrick Henry Jr. escaped serious injury Sunday after taking a nasty fall in the final yards of the fifth race.
Henry, riding 15-1 long shot Shopping Tizzy, was headed to victory when the 3-year-old filly veered in suddenly in the final 16th of a mile, unseating the jockey. Henry hit the ground hard, and appeared to be grazed either by the rear leg of Shopping Tizzy or oncoming Dakota’s Tango.
After laying virtually motionless for several minutes, Henry was carried off the track on stretcher and taken to Valley Medical Center in Renton, where the jockey was said to have a mild concussion and a back contusion.
A native of Jamaica, Henry is in his first season at Emerald Downs and has ridden seven winners in 73 mounts.
Shopping Tizzy was uninjured in the incident.