GRANTS PASS — The 26th running of the rich Fourth of July Futurity at Grants Pass Downs was momentous in several ways.

For trainer Hector Magallanes, it was his fourth victory in the last five Firecracker Futurities. For race horse owner Chris Philbrook, it was her third Futurity win here but first since 2002. For jockey Eduardo Gutierrez-Sosa, it was two straight victories. And for legendary trainer Baxter Andruss, it was a belated birthday present.

The Magallanes-trained, Gutierrez-Sosa-ridden I Deliver delivered just that on Tuesday. 

In a head-to-head battle the entire 350 yards, betting favorite I Deliver outdueled stablemate L Bar D Classic Trip and Freddy Ibarra’s Warhock to win by the narrowest margin in the $28,400 sprint.

“It was a clean trip,” said the 25-year-old Gutierrez-Sosa, who won the 2016 Firecracker aboard Henry Craig. “(I Deliver) broke better than last time. He felt fast and strong. He ran like you want.”

I Deliver broke sharp from the No. 3 post position and got a clear lane up the track when No. 2 horse Sweet Dream Demon veered in and L Bar D Classic Trip, in the four hole, moved to the outside.

I Deliver, L Bar D Classic Trip and Warhock all cleared the field and came down the dirt track in tight company. I Deliver’s last head bob broke the wire in a time of 17.66 seconds with the other two colts in close pursuit. It was the same time posted by I Deliver to qualify as the fastest in the Firecracker trails on June 18.

“I broke awesome,” said 21-year-old jockey Osvaldo Gonzalez aboard L Bar D Classic Trip. “I thought I was ahead. He caught me right at the wire.”

The same three horses hooked up in the Pot of Gold Futurity consolation at Sun Downs in Kennewick, Washington, on May 7. In that encounter, L Bar D Classic Trip edged I Deliver with Warhock again placing third.

Andruss, a former trainer who turned 92 on Saturday, is tied with Jim Glenn Jr. for the record of five Fourth of July Futurity wins at GP Downs. It was a thrill for Andruss, the only trainer to win three consecutive Futurities here, and his wife Chris Philbrook.

“I still like to see ‘em run,” said Andruss. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Not only does Andruss have a proud history at GP Downs, but the Philbrook family now has four Futurity victories as owners. Chris Philbrook’s deceased father was the winning owner in the 1995 race — the last of three straight for Andruss.

The Fourth of July Futurity began as the Far West in 1991. In 2002, the name was changed to the Firecracker. The 1992 race was rained out.

Andruss retired from training his wife’s horses in 2016 and the successful 35-year-old Magallanes of Boardman was asked to assume the role.

“It was hard for Andy to back off,” said Philbrook about her husband. “We chose Hector because he seems to be really consciousness. He never slacks off.”

Philbrook said it’s comforting that I Deliver, purchased as a yearling for $8,000, has paid for himself with the $11,360 winner’s share of the purse.

Philbrook, 60, describes being a racehorse owner as: “It’s like having a career like a hobby because you enjoy it so much.”

Magallanes, trainer of five of the seven horses in the field, said it’s hard to put into words the achievement of winning the race.

“We work hard to just compete in it,” said Magallanes, “but to win — you can’t get any better than that.”

Magallanes said he jumped at the chance to train for the Philbrook-Andruss combo when he returned a voicemail and “Chris said, ‘I’ve got this horse, are you interested?’”

“I know who Baxter is,” added Magallanes. “I know all about Baxter. For them to want to send me horses puts a smile on my face.”

So does, winning his fourth Firecracker Futurity.

Tuesday’s Results

FIRST RACE

TB, 3-year-old & up, 5 ½ F, $2,700. 1, Proud Fighter (K. Guglielmino), 2.40, 2.40, 2.10; 2, Good At Gettin’ By (R. Burney), 2.80, 2.10; 3, Competitive Sport (C. Doll), 2.10. Q — 1-4 $3.80; EX — 1-4 $2.30; TRI — 1-4-5 $4.20. Time — 1:08.37

SECOND RACE

TB, Clm 2,500, 3-year-old & up, fillies & mares, 5 ½ F, $2,800. 1, Lucky Point (R. Burney), 4.60, 2.40, 2.20; 2, Deeatatood (K. Guglielmino), 4.60, 2.40, 2.20; 3, Tulipia (J. Figueroa), 2.20. Q — 3-4 $7.80; EX — 4-3 $5.40; TRI — 4-3-1 $16.30. Time — 1:08.9.

THIRD RACE

TB, Clm 3,500, 3-year-old & up, 5 ½ F, $2,800. 1, My Pal Sully (K. Guglielmino), 12.60, 6.20, 2.10; 2, Crazy Al (J. Guerrero), 3.40, 2.10; 3, I B Tanner (R. Burney), 2.10. Q — 2-3 $12.40; EX — 3-2 $27.60; TRI — 3-2-1 $59.10; DD — 4-3 $16.60. Time — 1:06.98.

FOURTH RACE

QH Fut Con, 2-year-old, 350 yd, $4,000. 1, Dont Hezitate (R. Burney), 6.00, 3.00, 2.60; 2, Sharps (J. Figueroa), 5.60, 3.00; 3, Rare Shaker (E. Gutierrez-Sosa), 2.80. Q — 1-6 $4.00; EX — 6-7 $8.30; TRI —6-7-4 $15.60. Time — 18.273.

FIFTH RACE

TB, Clm 3,500, 3-year-old & up, 5 ½ F, $2,700. 1, Our Lucky Day (J. Samuels), 5.20, 2.60, 2.40; 2, Squash (J. Guerrero), 2.40, 2.40; 3, Ghost of Navigator (R. Burney), 2.80. Q — 1-4 $5.80; EX — 6-1 $4.40; TRI — 6-1-4 $10.20; Pick 3 3-6-6 $62.40. Time — 1:06.83.

SIXTH RACE

TB, Clm 3,500, 3-year-old & up, 5 ½ F, $2,800. 1, In Absolute Awe (J. Figueroa), 5.40, 2.60, 2.20; 2, C Me Roar (J. Guerrero), 3.40, 2.60; 3, Studhammer (K. Guglielmino), 2.60. Q — 1-4 $5.80; EX — 4-1 $9.40; TRI — 4-1-5 $11.70. Time — 1:07.32.

SEVENTH RACE

QH Fut, 2-year-old, 350 yd, $28.400. 1, I Deliver (E. Gutierrez-Sosa), 5.40, 3.20, 3.00; 2, L Bar D Classic Trip (O. Gonzalez), 7.40, 4.20; 3, Warhock (J. Figueroa), 3.40. Q — 3-4 $12.00; EX — 3-4 $8.10; TRI — 3-4-5 $15.30. Time — 17.66.

EIGHTH RACE

TB, Clm 3,200, 3-year-old & up, fillies & mares, 5 ½ F, $2,700. 1, Tilltheluvrunsout (R. Burney), 11.80, 3.60, 3.20; 2, Penporium (K. Guglielmino), 2.40, 2.40; 3, Parkers Gibsongirl (C. Doll) 5.60. Q — 1-6 $3.20; EX — 1-6 $10.80; TRI — 1-6-3 $50.30; Pick 3 4/8-1 $34.30; DD — 3-1 $17.60. Time — 1:08.36.

Attendance — 3,465 est.; Handle — $60,498, on track $50,633, off track $9,865.

Reach reporter Frank Silow at 541-776-4480 or email fsilow@mailtribune.com