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Jl Rebel nips Shakalaka for MT Handicap win

Granst Pass Downs

GRANTS PASS — Jl Rebel held off defending champion Cm Boom Shakalaka and scored a neck victory in the $19,500 Mail Tribune Handicap for older quarter horses Monday night at Grants Pass Downs.

Ridden by Jaime Lopez Jr. at 125 pounds, Jl Rebel covered 350 yards in 17.418 seconds and paid $11.60 as second choice in the wagering. Jaime Lopez Sr. — father of the winning rider — owns and trains the 7-year-old Oregon-bred.

Breaking sharply from the No. 3 post position, Jl Rebel gained command at once and held sway to the wire, holding off a determined challenge by Cm Boom Shakalaka for the victory. The win reversed the outcome of last year’s Mail Tribune Handicap in which Cm Boom Shakalaka prevailed by a half-length over Jl Rebel.

A sorel gelding, Jl Rebel improved to 7-2-1 in 15 career starts — including a 5-2-0 mark in eight starts at Grants Pass Downs. The winner’s check of $9,750 pushed his earnings to $30,219.

There was an anxious moment prior to the race, however, when Jl Rebel became unruly briefly in the starting gate.

“He settled back down and we got him squared away, and he got away great from the gate,” Lopez Jr. said. “He surprised me a little bit tonight. He ran great.”

Cm Boom Shakalaka, winner of six stakes including last year’s Emerald Downs Championship Challenge, just missed defending his title in the Mail Tribune Handicap. Ridden by Luis Gonzalez at 129 pounds, the 6-year-old Oregon-bred is now 12-4-3 from 31 career starts with earnings of $162,657 for owner Chris Sutton and trainer Nick Lowe.

But the night belonged to Jl Rebel, and Lopez Sr. was ecstatic with the outcome.

“I broke this horse and have had him a long time,” he said. “I have a lot of respect for (Cm Boom Shakalaka), but we got the best end of the stick tonight.”

L Bar D Genuine Red, ridden by Erick Garcia at 123 pounds, finished third and was followed by Heza Southern Cartel, Loosin My Lover, Jess Ozzy, Approval Given, Mighty Tony T and Warhock.

On-track attendance was 545 and total mutuel handle was $575,806.

NOTES: Jockey Mckenzie King and trainer Quinn Howey have already combined for four victories at the meet, including back to back scores with Winning Sound ($5.40) and Lounge Act ($3) in Monday’s third and fourth races. ... Boardshort Stables also enjoyed a big night, scoring with Nice Guys Finish ($7.40) in the opener and posting a one-two finish with Lounge Act and Kayla’s Cowgirl in a $7,000 allowance for older fillies and mares.

A 6-year-old Kentucky-bred by Creative Cause, Lounge Act ran five furlongs in 59.06 seconds while making her first start since finishing third in an $85,000 allowance last June at Churchill Downs. ... Lopez Jr. also scored a maiden quarter horse victory on Uncle Shine ($8.80) in race two. ... The 2021 spring/summer meet continues at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday and features a $17,154 carryover in the $0.50 Jackpot Pick 5 on races four through eight.