Danner and EZ Gamer renew their rivalry in Portland Meadows Fall Derby
It’s a scenario we’ve seen play out here at Portland Meadows a number of times. Danner and EZ Gamer lined up against one another in a Quarter Horse race. The two have faced each other six times over the past two seasons at Portland Meadows. A look down EZ Gamer’s past performance sheet reads like a look at a Quarter Horse star. Twelve starts, nine wins, three second place finishes. Coincidentally enough, all three of the times she failed to win, the name Danner appeared in front of her. Danner has also amassed a very impressive record in his twelve career starts, with six wins and three seconds. Since July 4, 2010, Danner has only tasted defeat on three separate occasions, and the winner of all three of those starts? EZ Gamer of course. It is a rivalry that has grown over the past few seasons, and Tuesday’s $8,000 guaranteed Portland Meadows Fall Derby will showcase these two.
They have both drawn to the far outside, with Danner and regular jockey Luis Torres in post position 10 and EZ Gamer and Joe Crispin in post position 11 on the far outside.
“I wasn’t thrilled with the post position,” said trainer Scott Raley. “I don’t mind being outside of him though.”
Raley speaks highly of his three year old filly that he trains for owner/breeder Gary Chumbley.
“She tries so hard,” said Raley. “She’s just a very classy filly, does everything the right way. We knew she was pretty special pretty early on.”
Special indeed. EZ Gamer won her first six career starts as a two year old and has been in top form throughout her career, never finishing worse than second. Her jockey Joe Crispin also speaks highly of her, and of his chances in Tuesday’s Fall Derby.
“If we can just break with Danner, then I think we’ve got a really good shot,” said Crispin. “The only thing is, it’s not just Danner we have to beat, there are a couple of good runners to our inside as well.”
Danner is 2 months younger by birth date than EZ Gamer even though they both are listed as three year olds, and he was a bit slower to get going. He broke his maiden early on and ran well in his two year old summer, but it wasn’t until he arrived at Portland Meadows in the fall of 2010 when he really turned it on. He won the Baxter Andruss Futurity but was disqualified and placed third, for interfering with, you guessed it, EZ Gamer. He came back to avenge that loss with a win in the $20,000 Far West Futurity. After losing to EZ Gamer in the Portland Meadows Derby, trainer Hector Magallanes elected to give his runner the summer off and turned him out. He brought Danner back to the races on November 8th and he showed no signs of rust as he and EZ Gamer battled again, with Danner prevailing by a head.
The Portland Meadows Fall Derby will take place on Tuesday November 22nd in the second race of the day. One thing we know for sure, Danner and EZ Gamer will both be there.