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Trainer Penney picks up first stakes win of season in Tacoma Handicap

July 3, 2006     E-mail this page to a friend!

By Michael Costanzo
Auburn, WA (July 2) - Livinonlovanadime won the 70th running of the Tacoma Handicap on Sunday to give state Hall of Fame trainer Jim Penney his first stakes win of the season, while jockey Ben Russell scored his second.

The 3-year-old colt, owned by Mike and Amy Feuerborn and John and Janene Maryanski, was ridden out of post six with Ben Russell in the irons. The son of Devil's Bag broke sharply in the mile event and sprinted towards the front before settling three lengths off the lead on the clubhouse turn.

"He ran away from me out of the gate," Russell said. "I reached down and got him and slowed him down to where he was running comfortably."

Courting Seattle, with Jennifer Whitaker in the irons, lead from the seven-eighths pole while setting fractions of 23.60 seconds and 47.40 as Livinonlovanadime and Castle Pines stalked the pace. Russell held his mount to the outside around the far turn, before shifting to high gear in the stretch.

"He stayed free and clear," Russell said. "Once we got around the turn I had a ton of horse left."

In the final yards Livinonlovanadime passed Courting Seattle and held off Ragin Nonno, who was closing on the rail, to win by a half-length at the wire in 1:35.60.

"He showed he wanted to route," Penney said. "In his first start he got his leg tangled up, but since then, he's been able to get his feet on the ground and finish the race. He was a little closer today than I thought he would be, but Benny was on him."

"He was dead fit," Whitaker said of Courting Seattle, who finished second. "Right toward the end he got a little tired. This was his first route and he had every right to stop a little early."

Ragin Nonno, ridden by Ricky Frazier, finished in third place after making a charge in the final sixteenth of a mile.

"He ran his heart out," Frazier said. "He got beat a length, but it wasn't because he didn't give 100 percent."

Livinonlovanadime paid $13.60, $8.40 and $5 for the win. Courting Seattle returned $5.20 and $2.80 for second, while Ragin Nonno brought back $5.60 for third.

Completing the order of finish was Castle Pines, Plain James, Raise the Bluff, Outrageous Limit, Tusko T., Keagan and High Lode.

Livinonlovanadime's victory marked the fourth time that Penney has won the Tacoma Handicap in his 52 years of training. He first won the race in 1969 with Summer Cottage, and has since returned to the Tacoma winner's circle with Big Daddy's Dream in 1979 and Jade Green in 2001.

* Russell's first stakes victory of the season came aboard R. Associate in the Budweiser Emerald Handicap June 18. Russell has won 16 stake races at Emerald Downs in his career.

* The Tacoma Handicap triumph was trainer Jim Penney's 26th stakes victory at Emerald Downs.