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El Alto Hombre wins Shepard Stakes for fifth straight

El Alto Hombre, with Jose Figueroa aboard. Grants Pass Downs photo

GRANTS PASS — El Alto Hombre added another chapter to his remarkable 2021 season Tuesday evening at Grants Pass Downs.

Ridden by Jose Figueroa, the 6-year-old gelding drew off for a 3½-length victory in the $11,600 Dan Shepard Stakes for 3-year-olds and up, running 6½ furlongs in 1:18.88 and returning $3.20 as the betting favorite. Liz Kowalski is the winning trainer for owner Anthony Hoover.

With the victory, El Alto Hombre improved to 4-for-4 at the meet, including triumphs in the May 10 Caveman Stakes, June 8 Oregon Caves Handicap and the Dan Shepard Stakes. The other victory was May 25 versus allowance company.

Saving ground throughout, El Alto Hombre shook off Jersey Red on the backstretch, opened a commanding advantage into the last turn, and was never threatened.

Stretching his overall winning streak to five, El Alto Hombre improved to 13-for-33 lifetime, including an 8-7-1 mark in 18 races at Grants Pass Downs. The winner’s share of the purse, $6,380, pushed his career bankroll to $68,308.

Figueroa, who rode three winners Tuesday, has been aboard throughout the gelding’s winning streak.

“This horse is special and makes it look easy,” Figueroa said. “When you ask him, he gives it to you.”

Tune to Win, ridden by Jose Guerrero, finished second while Golden Cowboy, ridden by Taylor Smith, finished third. Keyson, Megatron Ruler and Jersey Red completed the order of finish.

CAPES HOT ROCKET SHINES: In the $8,000 O B Harbor Sprint Series sponsored by Jody Peetz and presented by the Oregon HBPA, Capes Hot Rocket ($4.40) romped by 9¾ lengths in 1:04.22 for 5½ furlongs, and the 7-year-old gelding has now swept the first two legs of the claiming series for 3-year-olds and up.

Capes Hot Rocket, claimed for $3,200 by trainer John Harris and owner Gerald Robinson from the first leg of the series on June 8, was claimed for $4,500 Tuesday by trainer Dennis Hurley and owner Sue Hurley, who won a four-way drawing, or “shake,” for the gelding.

Also claimed were second-place finisher Working by trainer Quin Howey and owner Sir Vronski LLC in a four-way shake, and seventh place finisher Sequoyah Sunset by trainer Scott Raley and owner Nicole Williams in a two-way shake.

The $15,000 added third and final leg of the O B Harbor Sprint Series is scheduled for July 6. Horses must have run in each of the first two legs to participate in the final.

On-track attendance was 555 and total mutuel handle was $389,315.

NOTES: Okey Dokey Road ($12) set a track record for 220 yards — 11.017 seconds — in Tuesday’s $8,000 Bob Beckner Memorial Purse for older quarter horses. Bryson Butterfly rode the winner for trainer John Harris and owner Sig Aumueller.

Jaded Tiger ($6.60) and Joree Scriver combined for their third win of the meeting, rallying from far in a $6,700 starter allowance for older fillies and mares. Owned and trained by Jackie Smith, Jaded Tiger has five wins overall in 2021. ... Scriver rode two winners, upping her meet-leading total to 18. ... The $0.50 Jackpot Pick 5 carryover is up to $63,016. ... The meet resumes Monday at 5:15 p.m.