Crew Leader wins the Portland Mile
Crew Leader stalked the early pace and drew off down the lane to win the 49th running of the $38,700 Portland Mile on Monday at Portland Meadows. Sent off as the 5/2 second choice in the field of seven, Crew Leader ($7.40) set up shop in second early as jockey Debbie Hoonan yielded to Touch the Sun who wanted to set the pace.
“I didn’t really want to be on the rail and I thought we might be on the lead,” said Hoonan. “But he just did everything I asked of him and we were able to get a good spot early.”
Hoonan made her move going to the quarter pole as she took the advantage and was doing it easily, while even money favorite Why Not Be Perfect came under a ride. Crew Leader poured it on down the lane and stopped the clock in 1:37.91.
“When I talked to trainer Theodore Hunt before the race he said he thought we wanted to be on the lead,” said Hoonan. “I just wanted to be on the lead at the end.”
Crew Leader’s victory was his seventh career win from twenty seven starts and pushed his career earnings to $195,642. He is owned by Kirk Sutherland and was trained to the victory by Theodore Hunt. Why Not Be Perfect finished up in second with Memo To Mya rounding out the trifecta.
In the $16,000 Silver Patrona Handicap it was Lady Aragorn ($9.40) and Debbie Hoonan who had to wait out a Steward’s Inquiry before becoming the official winner. Lady Aragorn and Tweetie Pie were 6th and 7th early on and both came flying late to get up and run 1-2.
Our Little Hen ($5.00) and Jorge Rosales scored a five length win in the $16,100 Jimbos Fire Ant Stakes. It was the second straight stakes win for Rosales and trainer Jim Fergason, as they also won the $15,700 Ex Mountain Cop Stakes one race earlier with a brilliant debut run from first time starter Morning Line Wiz ($12.60).
Jack The Pirate ($3.60) won as the odds-on favorite in the $15,950 Tom Two Stakes under jockey David Lopez. Jack the Pirate was coming off a big win up at Emerald Downs and carried his form to Portland Meadows with the big win over Instinctively Bold who ran second.
Jet Set Kitten ($7.00) was a debut winner, taking home the $15,650 Catalina Harbor Stakes for two year old fillies. She drew off professionally down the lane and won by four and a half lengths, but spooked nearing the wire as the roar from the large on track crowd seemed to scare her. Cascade Dynamite ($11.60) and Debbie Hoonan went all the way to win the $10,100 Labor Day Handicap for trainer Juan Sanguino.
News and Notes….A huge on-track crowd bet $127,105, which was far and away the biggest on track handle reported in recent history. It was almost exactly double last year’s on track handle for Portland Mile Day, which was also run on Labor Day and produced $63,324 in on track wagers…….Total handle for the day was $548,345, an increase of 207.3% over last year’s same day number of $178,073.