Yulong Warrior invaded Emerald Downs and rolled from behind for a 1 ¼-length victory over Weekend Wizard in the $100,000 Getaway Day Stakes for 3-year-olds on Sunday, closing day of the 2018 season.
Boundary Bay finished third while Sippin Fire, bidding for a fifth consecutive stakes victory, finished fourth as the 6-to-5 favorite.
With Evin Roman riding at 124 lbs, Yulong Warrior ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:40.61 and paid $14.80, $5.60 and $5.20. Doug O'Neill is the winning trainer for owner Zhang Yueshang of Shuozhou, China.
A Florida-bred by Street Cry, Yulong Warrior earned $53,350 to boost his life total to $247,931. His overall record is 3-3-1 in 10 starts.
A stakes winner in Dubai, Yulong Warrior had raced only once previously in North America, finishing fourth in the $100,000 Shared Belief last month at Del Mar. O'Neill said via text that Niall Daulton and Michael Donohoe, representatives of the owner, made the decision to run at Emerald Downs.
Assistant trainer Leandro Mora, who handled saddling duties Sunday, said the connections hold the winner in high regard.
“I was in Dubai when this horse raced, we've always liked him,” Mora said.
Yulong Warrior saved ground while racing off a fairly fast pace, as Boundary Bay led through six furlongs in 1:10.50. Angled out into the stretch, Yulong Warrior swept past Boundary Bay and Weekend Wizard and won going away. The winning time was second fastest of the meet for 1 1/16 miles; Riser won the Mt. Rainier Stakes in 1:40.08.
“We broke a little slow, but he's a smart horse and was very relaxed,” said Roman, the Eclipse Award-winning Apprentice of 2017. “When I asked him, he really ran a big one today.”
Weekend Wizard overtook Boundary Bay into the lane but was unable to withstand the winner and finished second. Ridden by Rico Walcott at 124 lbs, the runner-up paid $3.60 and $2.80.
Weekend Wizard earned $19,400 for finishing second and an additional $10,000 for finishing in the top three in all three legs of the Northwest Triple (Muckleshoot Derby, B.C. Derby, Getaway Day Stakes). Weekend Wizard finished second to Sippin Fire in the Muckleshoot Derby, second to Sky promise in the B.C. Derby, and second to Yulong Warrior in the Getaway Day.
Boundary Bay, ridden by Javier Matias at 122 lbs, held third and paid $8.20. Younger brother of 2016 Emerald Downs Horse of the Meeting O B Harbor, Boundary Bay placed in five stakes this season at Emerald Downs.
Sippin Fire raced in striking position to the head of the lane but lacked his customary punch under Rocco Bowen and finished fourth. Nevertheless, the Harbor the Gold gelding was voted 2018 Horse of the Meeting, Top 3-Year-Old and Top Washington-bred.
Hey Sequoia, Canadian Game, Elliott Bay and Not Yet completed the order of finish.
O'Neill now has two wins at Emerald Downs—Sky Jack in the 2003 Longacres Mile and Yulong Warrior in the Getaway Stakes. And Roman also has two wins at Emerald Downs—Gold Rush Dancer in the 2017 Longacres Mile and Yulong Warrior in the Getaway Stakes.
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