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Access This hopes to turn tables in Sunday’s $50K Coca-Cola Stakes


June 2, 2016     E-mail this page to a friend!

If voting were held today for Race of the Meeting, last month’s Auburn Stakes—in which undefeated Barkley edged previously unbeaten Mach One Rules—would be a handy winner.

The rematch is Sunday, June 5, as Barkley (4-4-0-$77,275) and Mach One Rules (5-4-1-0-$103,826) meet in the 21st renewal of the $50,000 Coca-Cola Stakes at one mile.

The mile-long Coca-Cola is the first career route for both Barkley and Mach One Rules, while Access This—a close third in the Auburn—broke his maiden in a one-mile race this winter at Golden Gate Fields. Perhaps that gives the City Zip gelding an edge heading into Sunday’s race.

“Our horse certainly ran his race (in the Auburn),” trainer Blaine Wright said of Access This. “We don’t have any excuses other than we got beat by two pretty darn good horses. My horse had an outside trip and was in the garden spot the whole entire way. He engaged Mach One Rules for a fight and they held us at bay.”

Barkley had a little bit of trouble in the Auburn, but rallied inside to nail Mach One Rules in a stakes record 1:14.21 for 6 ˝ furlongs. Access This, meanwhile, was a length back in third place.

“We’re hoping with our route experience maybe we’ll have an upper edge on them this time around,” said Wright, the meet’s leading trainer with 15 wins. “He worked well last week, but I saw Barkley and Mach One Rules work last week and they looked great.

“I don’t think those two horses will worry too much about us since they beat us already. Hopefully we’ll come in under the radar.”

William Crotty, fourth in the Auburn, also could improve going long, while Party for One and Super Hawk round out the six-horse field.

Betting favorites are 0-for-5 in stakes this season at Emerald Downs; second choices have dominated, winning 4-of-5 including Barkley’s head decision over Mach One Rules in the Auburn Stakes.

Under allowance stakes conditions, Barkley carries 124 lbs and spots Mach One Rules four lbs and his other four rivals six lbs. Four horses hold the Coca-Cola record for most weight carried by a winner, 121 lbs: Del Rio Harbor (2014), Makors Finale (2012), Bold Ranger (2002) and Name for Norm (1997).

The Coca-Cola Stakes goes as race #8 on a 10-race card. Post time is 5:39 p.m.

The field for the 21st running of the Coca-Cola Stakes for 3-year-old colts & geldings at one mile: William Crotty, Joe Steiner, 118 lbs; Access This, Julien Couton, 118; Party for One, Isaias Enriquez, 118; Mach One Rules, Leslie Mawing, 120; Super Hawk, Rocco Bowen, 118; Barkley, Javier Matias, 124.