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Mach One Rules, Barkley, face off in Auburn Stakes

May 13, 2016     E-mail this page to a friend!

Barring a dead-heat between Mach One Rules and Barkley, at least one horse will no longer be undefeated following the $50,000 Auburn Stakes for 3-year-olds at 6½ furlongs on Sunday, May 15.

Mach One Rules (4-4-0-0-$93,826) and Barkley (3-3-0-0-$49,775) both enter the race unbeaten and are likely to be the top two betting choices. However, five worthy opponents—William Crotty, Viewingthegold, Seeking A Mystery, Cliff’s Turn and Access This—also figure to have a say in the outcome.

Mach One Rules makes his 2016 debut for owner Roy Schaefer and trainer Frank Lucarelli, and as Invested Prospect demonstrated last week in the Seattle Stakes, it’s quite possible for a layoff horse to lead gate-to-wire in a 6½-furlong stakes race at Emerald Downs. Moreover, Mach One Rules—like Invested Prospect—figures to have the early lead in Sunday’s race.

Asked if Mach One Rules is fit enough for the assignment, Lucarelli said, “I think so.” Any lingering doubts were squelched Monday when the son of Harbor the Gold breezed six furlongs in 1:124, capping a series of 10 works that began in February at Golden Gate Fields.

Still, Barkley figures to have some sort of a fitness edge when the gate opens Sunday. A Kentucky-bred by Munnings, Barkley returned to action last month with a big effort off the bench, rolling to a two-length allowance victory in 1:08.81 for six furlongs.

“He can go with any running style,” trainer Howard Belvoir said of Barkley. “Javier (Matias) thought the other day that he could’ve gone to the front after the last win, but I don’t think you’ll see that this week. Mach One Rules is the only real speed in the race.

“The pace is going to dictate a lot of what happens in this race,” Belvoir added. “You know, there are more horses than Mach One Rules in there. We have to beat some other nice horses as well.”

Access This (4-2-1-0-$37,225) makes his Emerald Downs debut for trainer Blaine Wright, who tops the trainer standings with 11 wins, a whopping 57.8 win percentage, and a stakes victory with Invested Prospect.

Julien Couton makes his 2016 Emerald Downs debut aboard Access This for Wright and owner Peter Redekop. The 2015 EmD Champion with 100 wins, Couton currently ranks seventh with 42 wins at Golden Gate Fields.

The 3-year-old colt & gelding division culminates July 31 with the $75,000 Emerald Downs Derby at 1 1/8 miles. As announced in February, any horse sweeping the Emerald Downs Derby and September 10 BC Derby at Hastings Racecourse earns a $25,000 (CDN) bonus.

The Auburn Stakes goes as race #8 on a 10-race card. Post time is 5:39 p.m. local (Pacific) time.