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El Alto Hombre scores in Medford Stakes

GRANTS PASS — El Alto Hombre held off a surging Fantastic Day and scored a nose victory Tuesday in the $14,700 Medford Stakes for 3-year-olds and up at Grants Pass Downs.

Under regular rider Jose Figueroa, El Alto Hombre ran six furlongs in 1 minute, 10.12 seconds and paid $21.80, $7.60 and $4.40. Liz Kowalski is the trainer for winning owner Anthony Hoover.

El Alto Hombre now has six stakes victories this year including four at Grants Pass Downs and is 7-0-0 in eight overall starts in 2021 with earnings of $37,737.

And unlike the Applegate Stakes four weeks ago, in which El Alto Hombre encountered traffic problems and finished fifth for his only loss of the year, El Alto Hombre had clear sailing from the No. 1 post-position.

El Alto Hombre led through fractions of 21.75, 44.32 and 56.77 seconds, shook off early challenges from Cody’s Choice and Foreign Protocol, straightened for home with a one-length lead, and was fully extended to thwart an onrushing Fantastic Day for the victory.

“The plan was to send (El Alto Hombre) out of the gate and stay out of trouble,” Figueroa said. “He’s a nice horse, a lot of people here like to follow him.”

A 6-year-old Kentucky-bred by Archarcharch, El Alto Hombre has a lifetime record of 16-11-4 in 37 starts with earnings of $82,285. He has a sterling mark at Grants Pass Downs, compiling a 9-7-1 record in 20 starts with earnings of $56,810 including $8,085 for Tuesday’s victory.

At Grants Pass Downs in 2021, El Alto Hombre has won the Caveman Stakes, Oregon Caves Handicap, Dan Shepard Stakes, Medford Stakes and an $8,213 allowance race. His other victories this year are the Art Smith Memorial at Prineville and Oregon HBPA Stakes at Tillamook.

Fantastic Day, the 6-to-5 betting favorite ridden by Alex Anaya, rallied from last, splitting horses into the stretch and came flying late to just miss the victory. Fantastic Day paid $3 and $2.60.

Foreign Protocol, ridden by Leonel Camacho-Flores, was 2 1/2 lengths back in third and paid $4.20 to show. Sunrise Journey, Strike It Lucky, Pistol Power, Take Charge Deputy and Cody’s Choice rounded out the order of finish.

Also Tuesday, Hey Sequoia defended his title in the $13,200 Chuck Potter Memorial Claiming Stakes, holding off Perfect Come Back for a half-length victory in a track record 2:54.97 for 1 11/16 miles.

Ridden by Mckenzie King, Hey Sequoia paid $5, $2.80 and $2.40. Quinn Howey is the winning owner and trainer.

A 6-year-old British Columbia-bred gelding by Cause to Believe is 4-0-0 in five career starts at Grants Pass Downs, and 8-8-7 in 45 starts overall with earnings of $137,827.

Perfect Come Back, ridden by Alex Anaya, raced head and head with Hey Sequoia virtually the entire race, but came up just short in the stretch run. Perfect Come Back paid $3 and $2.80.

Wings of the Wind, ridden by Leonel Camacho-Flores, was 6 ½ lengths back in third and paid $4 to show, while Poppy’s C Note, Dyf, and Pulpits Power rounded out the order of finish.

On-track attendance was 370 with the total mutuel handle $359,173.

NOTES: Starboard List ($3.40) and Street Moxie ($11) each won divisions of Leg No. 2 of the OHBPA Open Sprint Series for 3-year-olds and up. The $15,000 added final leg of the series is Nov. 2. . .Hey Sequoia’s victory in the Chuck Potter Memorial Marathon moved Quinn Howey into a tie for first with Jorge Rosales in the overall trainers’ standings at 10 wins apiece. . .Taylor Smith rode two winners on the nine-race card. . .The $0.50 Jackpot Pick 5 carryover is $28,845. . .Live racing resumes Monday at 5:15 p.m.

El Alto Hombre held off a surging Fantastic Day and scored a nose victory Tuesday in the $14,700 Medford Stakes for 3-year-olds and up at Grants Pass Downs. Photo courtesy of Grants Pass Downs