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Demon Warlock wins Portland Meadows Mile

April 22, 2005     E-mail this page to a friend!

Demon Warlock
(photo by Reed Palmer Photo)
By Patrick Kerrison

2004 Washington Horse of the Year and Older Handicap Horse – Demon Warlock - made his 2005 Northwest debut a winning one, capturing the Portland Meadows Mile Saturday afternoon, April 9, in 1:37 4/5.

The signature event of the season at Portland Meadows drew nearly 2,000 spectators and a field of eight in which Knightsbridge Road and Grafton Square were the early pacesetters, rattling off fractions of :23 3/5 for the quarter and a half in :47 1/5. Just off the pace sat the Emerald Downs invaders, favorite Demon Warlock and Crimson Design ($5.70-1), plus the local horse and public’s second choice in the wagering, My Friend Dave ($5.00-1).

With a quarter of a mile to the finish, the trio provided all the excitement you would expect in the race of the season. Crimson Design fought hard between horses only to ultimately give way with an eighth of a mile to go, leaving Demon Warlock and rider Gary Baze and My Friend Dave with Jose Zunino to slug it out between themselves.

“When we broke from the gate, he broke very sharply,” said Baze. “In fact, he broke a little too sharp. But when you break like that you can’t take it back, so you just go with it.”

“We had a nice easy trip,” Baze continued. “I was clocking the two horses ahead of me and when he [Demon Warlock] saw another horse on the outside of him, he started to pick up his pace.”

In a grueling duel to the wire, the pair seemed virtually inseparable when they hit the wire and a photograph had to determine the winner. At fifty cents on the dollar, chalk players prevailed when Demon Warlock narrowly bested My Friend Dave.

“We could barely hold him off,” Baze said. “I thought you got it,” Baze said to Zunino in the jocks' room after the race. “I thought at that last jump you got up.”

He nearly had. However Baze, who is a five time Longacres Mile winner and the Northwest’s all-time leading rider, earned his second Portland Meadows Mile victory. His first came 26 years ago aboard Sporting Event in the 1979 edition. They won that race in 1:37 4/5 as well but returned a hefty $19.40 for the win. Demon Warlock paid $3.00 to win Saturday.

Marking his 10th win in 25 starts, Demon Warlock improved his career earnings to $278,335. The son of Demons Begone out of Witchery by Zamboni was bred in Washington by the Paulson Brothers and Roy Dane. Owned by Tim and Allen Floyd and Mike Nist, Demon Warlock is trained by Terry Gillihan.

“I wanted to get him in here for a race before heading up to Emerald,” said Gillihan. “I will bring him north and we’ll probably follow the same schedule this summer as we did last year.”

Demon Warlock earned his 2004 honors in Washington in capturing the Budweiser Emerald Handicap, a tremendous second place effort in the Grade III Longacres Mile, and a win in the Muckleshoot Tribal Classic.