(Auburn, WA) The 79th running of the $75,000 Emerald Derby features the 4th showdown in a row between the undefeated Barkley and the always tough Mach One Rules. These two have faced off 3 times this season in the Auburn, Coca-Cola and Seattle Slew all with the same result, Mach One Rules with the lead into deep stretch and Barkely just getting up in time to win all 3 races at the wire.
To some this brings back the rivalry of the famous 1978 Triple Crown where Affirmed took all 3 races by narrow margins over the hard trying Alydar. The difference in the Barkley vs Mach One Rules rivalry is Barkely has never lost to Mach One Rules while Alydar beat Affirmed twice prior to the 78 Triple Crown and then was awarded the win in the Travers Stakes in 1978 after Affirmed took the Triple Crown. Affirmed was DQ’d in the Travers for cutting Alydar off but Affirmed won the war winning 7 of the 10 races vs Alydar while Alydar won 3 incuding the DQ win. Affirmed finished 2nd in the other 3 races while Alydar finished 2nd 6 times in the 7 losses and once out of the money in 5th place.
Barkely continues to surprise trainer Howard Belvoir who equates Barkley to an athlete that is a gamer and not a practice player. Belvoir says Barkley isn’t going to set any records in training but when the gates opened in his 6 career races Barkley has refused to settle for anything but a trip to the Winner’s Circle. Belvoir has high praise for Barkley’s rider Javier Matias who seems to know exactly when to let Barkley go. Belvoir says the mile and 1/8th Derby will be the toughest challenge yet.
Leading contender Mach One Rules with Leslie Mawing are back for another shot at knocking off the top dog but there will be others taking their 1st crack at the 6-0 Barkley including 2 Canadian invaders. Opportunistic and Silvertown will make the trip south this week after finishing first and third, respectively in the Chris Loseth Handicap on July 1 at Hastings Racecourse.
The Derby will run on Sunday as the 8th race at about 5:15. The full field with riders are Wando Cat, Rocco Bowen; Mach One Rules, Leslie Mawing; Opportunistic, David G. Lopez; Barkley, Javier Matias; Huya, Juan Gutierrez; Silvertown, Eswan Flores.