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L Bar D Classic Trip rallies for victory at GPD

GRANTS PASS — A resilient L Bar D Classic Trip came back in the final yards and scored a thrilling neck victory over defending champion Cm Once Ina Bluemoon in the $18,250 Redwood Handicap for older quarter horses Monday evening at Grants Pass Downs.

Ridden by Bryson Butterfly at 126 pounds, L Bar D Classic Trip ran 600 yards in a track record 29.82 seconds and paid $4.60 as the second choice in the wagering. Amy Nelson is the winning owner and trainer — and mother of the winning rider.

It is the first stakes victory for Butterfly, who began riding professionally earlier this month, and for L Bar D Classic Trip, the runner-up in the 2017 Grants Pass Downs Firecracker Futurity.

The Redwood Handicap turned into a virtual match race between L Bar D Classic Trip, sent off at 6-5, and Cm Once Ina Bluemoon, the 4-5 favorite bidding for his seventh career stakes win.

L Bar D Classic Trip from the inside and Cm Once Ina Bluemoon from the outside battled head and head through most of the race, with the defending champion holding a slight edge around the turn and into the stretch. L Bar D Classic Trip was not to be denied, however, and surged back inside to prevail.

“Cloud nine, it’s crazy,” Butterfly said when asked to describe the feeling. “This horse is awesome. I’ve been riding him three years on the shed row and the small fairs.”

A 6-year-old Oregon-bred gelding by Mr. Nightlinger, L Bar D Classic Trip earned $9,125 and improved to 10-4-2 in 31 starts with career earnings of $55,769.

Nelson said she vanned L Bar D Classic Trip from Arizona for the express purpose of having her son ride the gelding and said watching Monday’s race was an “Oh my God” moment.

“The whole point of coming here was to have a family affair,” Nelson said.

Cm Once Ina Bluemoon, ridden by Luis Gonzalez at 130 pounds, had a four-race Northwest winning streak halted. The 6-year-old Oregon-bred gelding is 13-6-4 in 35 starts with earnings of $106,365 for trainer Nick Lowe and owner Chris Sutton.

Big Bad Brad finished third, 1¼ lengths behind Cm Once Ina Bluemoon, and Chicks Fast Farley, El Moro Prieto and Js Royal 613 completed the order of finish. Hes a Bugin was a late scratch.

On-track attendance was 615 and mutuel handle totaled $395,913.

NOTES: Hold That Smile improved to 14-for-34 lifetime and 8-for-14 at Grants Pass Downs with a gate to wire victory in the $7,500 allowance co-feature for older fillies and mares, running 5½ furlongs in 1:04.00 under Taylor Smith for trainer Jorge Rosales and owners Lynn Hebdon, Trevor Sall and Ryan Cooper. A 6-year-old California-bred by Smiling Tiger, Hold That Smile is one of 11 winning foals produced by Chasseur Dame, a stakes winning daughter of French Legionaire whose progeny includes stakes winners Salty Le Mousse, Melba Jewel and Marva Jean.

Jockey Mckenzie King and trainer Quinn Howey combined for three victories Monday — Miss Important ($3.60), Vibrainum ($3.60) and Cal’s Girl ($3) — and already have teamed for seven wins overall this season. A 4-year-old Graydar filly, Miss Important was claimed Monday for $10,000 by owner Bern Kent and trainer Billy Christian.

King and Joree Scriver are tied for first in the thoroughbred standings with seven wins each. Scriver also has a quarter horse win and is first overall with eight wins. ... Smith rode two winners Monday. ... Women riders won six of the eight races on the card.