El Alto Hombre wins Caveman Stakes
GRANTS PASS — El Alto Hombre swept past Pure Pursuit into the stretch and rolled to a 2¼-length victory Monday in the inaugural running of the $12,000 Caveman Stakes for 3-year-olds and up on opening night at Grants Pass Downs.
Ridden by Jose Figueroa at 126 lbs, El Alto Hombre ran five furlongs in 58.45 seconds and paid $9.20 as the second choice in the wagering.
Trained by Liz Kowalski and owned by Anthony Hoover, El Alto Hombre delivered an emotional victory for his connections Monday. David Hoover, trainer of El Alto Hombre and brother of the owner, died last week following a training accident and the horse was transferred to Kowalski’s care.
“I spoke to David the day before he passed away and I entered the horse on his wishes,” Kowalski said. “It’s not the way you wish to gain a horse, but I am immensely proud to have this horse.”
A 6-year-old Kentucky-bred by Archarcharch, El Alto Hombre earned $6,600 for the victory and is 10-11-4 in 30 career starts with earnings of $51,148. His Grants Pass record is 5-7-1 from 15 starts, including a second in the Oregon Caves Stakes last June.
In the Caveman, El Alto Hombre settled in third behind dueling leaders Pure Pursuit and Desalut, as those two blazed through an opening quarter mile in 21.63 seconds. Pure Pursuit won the pace battle, shaking off Desalut after a half-mile in 45.42, but El Alto Hombre would not be denied. The winner gathered momentum on the last turn, collared Pure Pursuit into the lane and drew off to win with authority.
Pure Pursuit, ridden by Patrick Henry Jr., held second, and Golden Cowboy, ridden by Taylor Smith, finished third. Count Alexei, the 5 to 2 favorite, finished fourth and was followed by Molaf, Pulpits Power, Chill, Dusalut, Keyson and Capes Hot Rocket.
On-track attendance was 735 and the total handle of $461,959 established a record for an eight-race program at Grants Pass Downs.
NOTES: Heavily favored Hey Sequoia ($2.80) rallied under Mckenzie King to capture the 2021 spring/summer meet opener for owner Leon Scott and trainer Quinn Howey, running the 1 1/16 miles in 1:50 flat. The 6-year-old British Columbia-bred is now three for four lifetime at Grants Pass Downs and was claimed Monday for $4,000 by owner Al Peterson and trainer Jorge Rosales.
Fiesty Town Lady ($43.60) scored off a 30-month layoff in race five, leading gate to wire under Jose Guerrero in 1:00.35 for five furlongs. A 7-year-old Washington-bred mare owned by Brenda Ibarra and trained by Diego Guerrero, Fiesty Town Lady’s previous start was November 6, 2018 at Portland Meadows.
Fiesty Town Lady and sixth race winner Wishful One ($23) helped produce a mammoth $15,981.20 payout to one winning ticket in the $0.50 Pick 4. ... Guerrero and Eduardo Gutierrez-Sosa rode two winners each on the eight-race card. ... 10-year-old Aotearoa ($7), winner of Monday’s eighth race, won the 2013 Zuma Beach Stakes at Santa Anita and finished seventh in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. ... Oregon-breds won both quarter horse races — Chumbley ($6.20) clicking under Gutierrez-Sosa in race two and No Juans Fool ($4.20) scoring his maiden victory under Joree Scriver in race three.
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