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Snip N Dale continues to roll at GP Downs

Snip N Dale continued his winning streak in capturing the co-feature $3,000 Mail Tribune Stakes during Saturday's season-opener at Grants Pass Downs.

The 4-year-old quarter horse, ridden by Ruben Camacho, out-dueled track record holder Hannibal Lector in the 350-yard sprint. Snip N Dale posted his fifth straight victory as a 1-2 betting favorite and picked up his 12th win in 16 starts for owner Gary Chumbley of Battleground, Wash.

Snip N Dale won the Firecracker Futurity consolation in 2007 at GP Downs. Catlow Gulch, the Firecracker winner two years ago, placed fourth.

Saturday's 10-race card was cut short by a severe rain storm after the seventh race. The $3,000 Daily Courier Inaugural Handicap for thoroughbreds, the other co-feature set for the eighth race, was washed out.

"It rained so hard in a short period of time we didn't have a choice but to cancel the last three races because of unsafe track conditions," said Tag Wotherspoon, GP Downs director of communications and marketing. "We tried to do everything we could."

The opening day was off to a successful start with a crowd of 2,385 wagering almost $38,000 before the storm moved in about 4 p.m.

"We were well on our way to having a handle that would have been between $55-60,000," said Wotherspoon. "It would have been a great start to the meet."

Last year's opening day handle was $47,794.

Jockey Ty Dangerfield registered three wins on the abbreviated card.

Dangerfield rode Always A Player to a wire-to-wire victory in a 5-furlong claimer in what proved to be the final race of the day.

The Jim Haverty-trained 10-year-old thoroughbred picked up his 19th win in 70 career starts.

Five quarter horse trials for the $34,000 Firecracker Futurity will be featured on today's 11-race card that begins at 12:30 p.m. The eight fastest horses out of 26 entered will make it into the Firecracker finals on the Fourth of July.

"We're very optimistic that we'll have horse racing tomorrow (Sunday) at Grants Pass Downs," said Wotherspoon. "With a little cooperation from Mother Nature the track conditions should be fine."

Track Tidbits

  • A horse to watch in the Firecracker Futurity trials is the Scott Raley-trained Two Times Adasher running the today's fifth race, the fourth of five trial heats. Two Times Adasher won its trial and finished second the Pot Of Gold Futurity at Sun Downs in Kennewick, Wash., this spring.
  • Black Magic broke his maiden for Grants Pass trainer Nancy Klapatch in Saturday's second race. The 5-year-old thoroughbred last ran in October of 2008 at Santa Anita race track in southern California.
  • Apprentice jockey Tony Alberto registered his first win at a recognized race track aboard Eyez On Brimmer in a quarter horse maiden race Saturday.
  • Former GP Downs leading jockey Tad Skaggs has been galloping horses during morning workouts. The 49-year-old is back in the saddle for the first time since shattering his left leg in riding accident in the spring of 2008 at Sun Downs in Kennewick, Wash. Skaggs is hoping to be riding races next weekend.
  • GP Downs is holding a Flag Day promotion today. The track will give away 1,000 miniature American flags.

Saturday's Results

FIRST RACE

TB Mdn, 51/2 F. 1, Cassie Slew (D. Braden), 8.20, 3.60, 2,80; 2, Pearly Gates (R. Camacho), 3.80, 2.40; 3, Indian Mary (B. Brown), 2.60. Q — 3-7 $15.20; TRI — 3-7-4 $57.60. Time — 1:06.5.

SECOND RACE

TB Mdn Clm, 51/2 F. 1, Black Magic (T. Dangerfield), 6.80, 3.80, 2.40; 2, Soft Defense (B. Endres), 4.40, 3.00; 3, Rapid Pat (D. Braden), 2.80. Q — 1-5 $16.80; TRI — 1-5-7 $101.40. Time — 1:08.9.

THIRD RACE

QH Mdn, 300 yd. 1, Eyez On Brimmer (T. Alberto), 2.80, 4.00, 2.60; 2, Ithot Id Be Gray (T. Dangerfield), 6.40, 4.80; 3, Cc Copster Go (D. Braden), 3.60. Q — 7-8 $12.40; TRI — 7-8-4 $44.40; DD — 1-7 $7.40. Time — 15.82.

FOURTH RACE

QH Clm, 350 yd. 1, McSteamy (T. Dangerfield), 12.20, 6.40, 3.20; 2, Vanetta Doll (J. Torres), 8.60, 4.60; 3, Yanki Doodle Dandy (R. Camacho), 2.40. Q — 5-6 $28.20; TRI — 5-6-4 $49.80. Time — :17.92.

FIFTH RACE

QH Stks, 350 yd. 1, Snip and Dale (R. Camacho), 3.00, 2.60, 2.40; 2, Hannibal Lector (D. Braden), 4.40, 2.60; 3, Royal Star Max (J. Torres), 2.60. Q — 3-4 $8.80; TRI — 3-4-6 $45.00. Time — :17.61.

SIXTH RACE

TB Clm, 41/2 F. 1, Hanna Go (F. Williams), 31.80, 8.40, 4.40; 2, Shea Ex Cop (J. Torres), 4.40, 3.00; 3, Chase Neil (B. Endres), 3.40. Q — 1-3 $82.40; TRI — 1-3-8 $428.40. Time — :56.40.

SEVENTH RACE

TB Clm, 5 F. 1, Always A Player (T. Dangerfield), 2.60, 2.80, 3.00; 2, Classic Liberty (J. Martinez), 4.80, 2.60; 3, A Little Frogy (J. Torres), 3.00. Q — 2-6 $14.40; TRI — 2-6-3 $42.00. Time — 1:00.4.

Attendance — 2,385; Handle — $37,941.

Reach reporter Frank Silow at 776-4480, or e-mail fsilow@mailtribune.com