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Starbird Road equals Turbulatorís time in Governorís Handicap

July 31, 2006     E-mail this page to a friend!

By Michael Costanzo
Auburn, WA (July 30, 2006) - Starbird Road ran down former stakes champion Salt Grinder to take the 2006 edition of the $40,000 Governor's Handicap on Mile Preview Day at Emerald Downs Sunday, July 30, stopping the clock in 1:14 for 6 1/2 furlongs to tie Turbulator (1970) for the second fastest Governor's Handicap held at the distance.

The 5-year-old son of Count the Time, trained by Sharon Ross and owned by Rick Beal, broke from post three with Debbie Hoonan in the saddle.

"Sharon led over a fresh, sharp horse ready to rock and roll," Hoonan said. "It made my job easy."

Salt Grinder, ridden by Gallyn Mitchell, broke sharply and ran directly to the lead out of the gate to set fractions of 22 seconds for the quarter mile and 43 3/5 for the half mile.

"They gave us an easy lead and he ran his heart out like always," Mitchell said.

Starbird Road pulled even with Salt Grinder a quarter-mile into the race before settling back about two lengths.

"He (Starbird Road) went to the front so easy, then he came back to me," Hoonan said. "It's good to remember to be patient in these type of races."

Coming out of the turn, Starbird Road moved to the rail and came on again to run down Salt Grinder in the final furlong to win by two lengths.

Starbird Road paid $6, $3.80 and $2.80 for the win. Salt Grinder held on for second and returned $5.80 and $4.20 while Norm's Nephew paid $3.40 for third.

The victory is the second stakes win for Starbird Road at the 2006 Emerald Downs meet. The gelding also captured the $40,000 Seattle Handicap April 30. Starbird Road earned $22,000 for the win and improved his record to 7-4-1 from 15 starts with $117,769 in earnings.