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Canadian invader a sparkler in Indepence Day Handicap

July 7, 2006     E-mail this page to a friend!

By Michael Costanzo
Auburn, WA (July 3, 2006) - Canadian star Roscoe Pito made the trip to Emerald Downs on Monday and found his championship form by going wire-to-wire to win the $40,000 Independence Handicap.

The 6-year-old gelding broke from the inside post with Kevin Radke in the irons. The multiple-stakes winner employed his classic front-running style and made the lead a few jumps out of the gate.

"My objective was to just get out of the gate and off the fence," Radke said. "It seemed like we were going quickly, but he was doing it awfully easy."

Roscoe Pito set speedy fractions of 23 seconds at the quarter mile and 46 2/5 for the half mile while getting pressure from race-favorite Norm's Nephew.

Coming out of the turn Confidential Call, the second choice in the race, began moving from the back of the pack under jockey Ben Russell.

"At the three-eighths pole I knew I had to start catching up," Russell said. " I had nowhere to go but around the horses in front of me. That cost me a couple of lengths and that's what cost us the win."

Down the lane the race became a sprint through the final sixteenth of a mile, with Roscoe Pito edging out Confidential Call by a half-length.

"He's had nothing but bad breaks this year," co-owner Gus Gomes said. "But today he ran like a champ."

Roscoe Pito won the Emerald Breeders' Cup Derby in 2003. "He still has some left," owner Raj Mutti said, who owns the horse with Gomes and trainer John Snow. "He watched those horses eye him down the lane and fought back."

Roscoe Pit finished the race in 1:41.40 paying $10.40, $5.40 and $6.40. Confidential Call returned $3.38 and $4.40 for second while Random Memo brought in $7.80 for show.

Nineleventurbo, Wasserman, Norm's Nephew and Castillonis completed the order of finish.