Fastest in Firecracker

    Jockey Gonzalez rides quarter horse Eagle B Gone to victory at Firecracker Futurity, the horse's third straight triumph
  • GRANTS PASS — Make it 3-for-3 for jockey Luis Gonzalez and Eagle B Gone.
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      WHAT: 350-yard sprint for eight 2-year-old quarter horses.
      • RECAP: Eagle B Gone rallies late to provide trainer Hector Magallanes with his first Firecracker victory.
      • TIME: 17.52 s...
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      WHAT: 350-yard sprint for eight 2-year-old quarter horses.

      • RECAP: Eagle B Gone rallies late to provide trainer Hector Magallanes with his first Firecracker victory.
      • TIME: 17.52 seconds, ties for the fourth fastest in the 22-year history (record 17.43 by Bradens Bustlinbooty in 2011).
      • PURSE: $31,000, with $12,400 to the winner.
  • GRANTS PASS — Make it 3-for-3 for jockey Luis Gonzalez and Eagle B Gone.
    Betting-favorite and fastest qualifier, Eagle B Gone, broke from the gate awkward, veered a little to the side and was third from last in the eight-horse field of the $31,000 Firecracker Futurity at Grants Pass Downs Thursday.
    Then Gonzalez gathered the big, brown colt and Eagle B Gone found another gear to catch Thinkin of Girls with about 25-yards to go and post a half-length victory in the 22nd annual Fourth of July quarter horse futurity.
    Undefeated Eagle B Gone, who returned $5.40 to win on a $2 bet, finished with a time of 17.52 seconds in the 350-yard dash for 2-year-olds and picked up the $12,400 first-place purse.
    Gonzalez has made the most of his opportunity since original jockey Nikeela Black got injured after qualifying Eagle B Gone for the Sun Downs Futurity.
    Winning trainer Hector Magallanes, of Boardman, decided to stay with Gonzalez since the 26-year-old Mexican native guided the horse to a victory in the Sun Downs final back in May.
    "Luis picked up the mount and it's worked out pretty good," said Magallanes, who registered his first Firecracker victory. "Luis rode the horse the last three times, all wins, He's got used to the horse and figured it out."
    Gonzalez didn't panic when Eagle B Gone failed to leave the gate smoothly.
    "He just broke slow," said the third-year jockey. "I just relaxed and said 'Let's go' and used the whip a little."
    Jockey Troy Stillwell on Angel Eyez, also trained by Magallanes, broke first from the gate in the No. 2 post position and held the lead in the early going. Thinkin of Girls, with Jose Guerrero in the saddle, surged in front down the middle of the track until Eagle B Gone rallied fast just outside of the leader to post his fourth victory in four outings.
    "We had the lead until we got to the main track," said Stillwell. "Then those other two came running. I saw the horses on the outside but I couldn't do anything about it."
    For Magallanes, the victory was satisfying in his fourth attempt at the Firecracker.
    "It's long overdue," said the 31-year-old Magallanes. "We put a lot of time and effort into this. That colt showed he can run. He definitely had enough to catch those other ones."
    Scott Raley, a three-time winning trainer in the rich Fourth of July futurity, wasn't too disappointed with the runner-up finish because it was just the second race for Thinkin of Girls, who's out of former Firecracker winner One Fast Trick.
    "She had a great shot," said Raley. "Hector's horse just flat outran us. All in all, I was pretty happy."
    This year's firecracker ran true to form with the four fastest horses from the June 16 trials all finishing in the order they qualified. Also My Wynema, trained by Jeanette Garrison, had the sixth best qualifying time and finished sixth.
    Gonzalez also won three other races on Thursday's card, including the $3,500 Firecracker Consolation on Sneakin Tr. Gonzalez now has 16 victories during this season's meet to lead all jockeys with two racing days remaining at GP Downs.
    The attendance and handle Thursday were the best of the season. A crowd of 3,530 wagered $41,528. And the $8,194 bet on the Firecracker is the most for any single race.
    Thursday's Results
    QH Mdn, 300 yd. 1, Curley Cartel (L. Gonzalez), 3.00, 2.40, 2.10; 2, Awesome Corona (B. Smith), 3.00, 2.10; 3, Royal Crowning Glory (T. Stillwell), 2.10. Q — 3-5 $6.00; EX — 3-5 $5.90; TRI — 3-5-1 $8.70. Time — :15.58.
    TB Mdn, 51/2 F. 1, Bracero (E. Gutierrez-Sosa), 5.20, 3.20, 2.20; 2, Focus Now (B. Smith), 3.00, 2.20; 3, Always Untouchable (L. Gonzalez). Q — 2-4 $4.40; EX — 4-2 $3.40; TRI — 4-2-2 $18.2; DD — 3-4 $6.00. Time — 1:07.17.
    QH Fut Con, 350 yd. 1, Sneakin Tr (L. Gonzalez), 6.20, 2.60; 2, Lookithatcavemango 3.00. Q — 2-3 $11.00; EX — 2-3 $10.40. Time — :17.87.
    TB Clm, 51/2 F. 1, Lady Frangelica (E. Gutierrez-Sosa), 6.60, 4.00, 2.20; 2, Spool Girl (J. Guerrero), 3.40, 2.40; 3, Low Expectations (L. Gonzalez), 2.40. Q — 2-3 $7.20; EX — 3-2 $7.30; TRI — 3-2-1 $15.40. Time — 1:04.81.
    QH Alw, 350 yd. 1, Earthquakesnlightnin (J. Guerrero), 4.40, 3.20, 2.40; 2, L Bar D Brooksandrun (E. Gutierrez-Sosa), 3.60, 2.80; 3, Im Perry Special (B. Smith), 2.60. Q — 4-5 $21.00; EX — 5-4 $9.60; TRI — 5-4-2 $28.00; Pick 3 — 2-3-5 $20.20. Time — :17.75.
    TB Clm, 51/2 F. 1, Twobit' n Billie (L. Gonzalez), 6.60, 3.20, 2.20; 2, Socks On Socks Off (T. Stillwell), 3.60, 2.20; 3, Bold Officer (R. Camacho), 2.40. Q — 1-2 $19.40; EX — 1-2 $22.80; TRI — 1-2-4 $59.60. Time — 1:05.69.
    QH Firecracker Fut, 350 yd. 1, Eagle B Gone (L. Gonzalez), 5.40, 4.00, 3.60; 2, Thinkin of Girls (J. Guerrero), 3.80, 3.20; 3, Angel Eyez (T. Stillwell), 4.80. Q — 5-6 $8.80; EX — 6-5 $9.10; TRI — 6-5-2 $25.40. Time — :17.52.
    TB Clm, 51/2 F. 1, Stormello Fello (E. Gutierrez-Sosa), 12.60, 3.20; 2, Postess (L. Gonzalez), 3.20. Q — 3-4 $18.60; EX — 3-4 $24.80; TRI — 3-4-2 $40.60; DD — 6-3 $49.20; Pick 3 — 1-6-3 $290.10. Time — 1:05.54.
    Attendance — 3,530; Handle — $41,528.
    Reach reporter Frank Silow at 541-776-4480, or email fsilow@mailtribune.com
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