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Five Bars Blazin captures Firecracker Futurity

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GRANTS PASS — Five Bars Blazin exploded to the lead and drew off for a stunning neck victory over L Bar D Mistr Cartel in Sunday’s $90,000 Firecracker Futurity for 2-year-olds Sunday at Grants Pass Downs.

With Luis Gonzalez riding at 125 lbs, Five Bars Blazin ran 350 yards in 17.381 seconds and paid $34.80, $14.80 and $5.40. Benito Curiel is the winning trainer for owner/breeder Malon Cowgill of Junction City, Ore.

The 2021 Firecracker Futurity—richest race in the history of Grants Pass Downs—matched the 10 fastest qualifiers from seven trials held June 15, in which Five Bars Blazin was the 10th and final qualifier with a time of 17.975.

Five Bars Blazin, however, put it all together with a gigantic performance in the Firecracker Futurity. Breaking alertly from the No. 5 post, the chestnut gelding accelerated powerfully to open a daylight lead past mid-stretch and held a safe margin to the wire.

The victory earned Cowgill a first-place prize worth $36,000.

“This is a big deal,” the veteran owner/breeder said after the race. “It’s great to be a winner, and we’re grateful and thankful for this opportunity. It’s especially fun to win a big race in front of a big crowd.”

Curiel said Five Bars Blazin gained valuable experience while finishing a close second to Five Bar Cali in the trials.

“I didn’t know if he’d win the race, but I thought he’d run well today,” Curiel said. “He was a little green in the trial, but he had been training very well and was improving. I think this is my biggest win as a trainer. I’d never raced for $90,000.”

A Washington-bred by Five Bar Cartel, Five Bars Blazin is 1-1-0 in two starts with total earnings of $37,000.

L Bar D Mistr Cartel nosed out Apolinaria Prize for second place, earning owners Linda and Darrell Sanders a runner-up check worth $18,000. Ridden by Joree Scriver at 125 lbs, L Bar D Mistr Cartel paid $10 and $5.80.

Apolinara Prize, the fastest qualifier into the race, held third place, earning owner Juan Manuel Marquez a tidy $9,900. Ridden by Cesar Moreno at 125 pounds, Apolinara Prize paid $5 to show. It was one length back to Bv Mary Rose in fourth place while Like Da Boss, Five Bar Cali, Hell On Horseshoes, Jm Who Knew, Playin the Game and El Alazan Gunner completed the order of finish.

In the $15,000 Firecracker Futurity Consolation, Leaving Angelz rocketed to a one-length victory over stable mate Sonoras Death Row. Jaime Lopez rode the winner at 125 pounds for owner/breeder Ruben Magallanes and trainer Hector Magallanes.

An Oregon-bred 2-year-old gelding by Coronas Leaving You, Leaving Angelz earned $8,250 and paid $6.60 as the public betting choice. Leaving Angelz has an overall record of 2-0-0 from three starts with earnings of $10,500.

Sonoras Death Row, ridden by J.C. Guerrero, finished second at odds of 11-1 while Cm Blue by You, ridden by Cesar Ortega, finished third, while Cm Rosie At Ta Bar, Diamond Edition, Intenses Suspenses, One Dashing Rabbit, No Whoa Jess Go, Madison County Line and Pretty Farm Girl rounded out the complete order of finish.

Magallanes, far and away the meet’s leading Quarter Horse trainer with nine wins, also finished second with L Bar D Mistr Cartel in the Firecracker Futurity.

On-track attendance was a season-high 3,130 and total mutuel handle was $287,937.

NOTES: Great Curves ($2.80) scored an easy victory in the nightcap, giving trainer Quinn Howey his 12th victory of the meet. . .Billy Christian and Hector Magallanes are tied for second with nine wins apiece. . .Joree Scriver leads the jockeys’ standings with 22 wins, including a victory aboard 10-year-old gelding Megatron Ruler ($5.20) in the second race. . .Jockey Bryson Butterfly and trainer Bill Hof teamed for a $37.80 upset with 6-year-old gelding Duh Its Dave in race five. . .The $0.50 Jackpot Pick 5 was hit Sunday, returning a mammoth $77,846 to the one winning ticket. . .The winning ticket was sold off-track. . .The 2021 spring/summer meet continues Monday at 5:15 p.m.

Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneJockey Luis Gonzalez rides Five Bar Blazin to victory in the Firecraker Futurity final at Grants Pass Downs Sunday.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneDuh Its Dave (8), ridin by jockey Bryson Butterfly, comes from behind to win race five a 6 furlong event Sunday at Grants Pass Downs.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneJockey Luis Gonzalez rides Five Bar Blazin to victory in the Firecraker Futurity final at Grants Pass Downs Sunday.