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Firecracker Upset

GRANTS PASS — It's been a long time coming for Bob and Teri Beckner.

The popular couple was besieged by well wishers — jockeys, trainers, owners and horse racing fans — under the main grandstand after L Bar D Dixon Delite posted an upset victory in the rich Fourth of July futurity at Grants Pass Downs Saturday.

The Bob Beckner-trained L Bar D Dixon Delite broke sharp from the gate under the tutelage of jockey Louis Zacherle and ran down front-running Shimmie Horn with Kassie Guglielmino in the saddle to win the 24th running of the $25,100 Firecracker Futurity by a head.

The 12-1 shot paid $26.40 to win on a $2 bet in the 350-yard sprint for 2-year old quarter horses.

Fastest qualifier and 3-2 race favorite Ez Feisty Patriot finished third but was never a factor in the outcome.

Guglielmino had Shimmie Horn on the lead out the No. 4 post position, and about 80 yards down the straightaway L Bar D Dixon Delite trailed by about 3/4 length. But Zacherle rallied the small, dark brown filly.

"I just went for it," said a smiling Zacherle in the jockey's room following the race. "She broke fast, I gave her a couple of licks. Once I whipped her a couple of times, then I hand rode her and kept going. In quarter horses you don't get a second chance."

Zacherle, a 28-year old native American, drove through the night from Omak, Wash., and arrived in Grants Pass about 3:30 a.m. Saturday. It was Zacherle's first time riding at GP Downs and in Oregon since recently getting his jockey license in the state. He had never seen the horse before visiting her at the stable area Saturday morning.

"Everybody was calling me to come down to ride," said Zacherle. "It was a big drive and a long process. I'm glad I got in on the race. It was worthwhile."

Jockey Jake Samuels and agent Billy Christian were responsible for getting the mount for Zacherle.

"Jake got the ball rolling with him," said Christian. "We were just looking for a rider, actually a couple of riders. We didn't know until yesterday if (Zacherle) was going to come."

Zacherle made an early morning visit to L Bar D Dixon Delite's barn to get acquainted.

"I went to see her and bonded before the race," continued Zacherle. "They said she is fast.”

The Beckner's have been fixtures at GP Downs for four decades. And the couple has entered horses into the rich futurity just about every year since it began as the Far West in 1991. The 1992 race was rained out. The name was changed to the Firecracker in 2002.

The 77-year old Bob Beckner has been leading trainer at GP Downs multiple times but this is the first time the retired machinist from Albany has been the victorious trainer in the biggest race of the season at GP Downs.

Long-time Roseburg horse owners Linda and Darrell Sanders took home the $10,040 winner's share of the purse.

"This a big-time highlight," said Bob Beckner. "We're all in shock.

"We had the best rider and the best horse," added Beckner. "That jockey can ride. He has a lot of talent."

L Bar D Dixon Delite is out of the Sanders' mare Eyes A Flyer. The Beckner's son Ben and Guglielmino broke the filly on the family’s Albany horse ranch. Bob Beckner characterized the horse as "easygoing" and "quick".

Guglielmino qualified both L Bar D Dixon Delite and Shimmie Horn in the trials but had a commitment to stay on Shimmie Horn in the finals.

"I really liked the way she (L Bar D. Dixon Delite) ran in the trials," said Guglielmino. "They're both really tough fillies. It was pretty much head-to-head the whole way."

L Bar D Dixon Delite broke her maiden with the futurity victory. It was her first win in four starts. She finished second in her trial on June 21 and posted the fifth fastest time out of 16 entrants for the eight-horse finals.

"She's been improving every race," said the veteran trainer. "In the trials she showed a lot of run."

Teri Beckner was celebrating with a beer in each hand following the race.

"We were due," said Teri Beckner, who is closely involved in the couple’s racing ventures. "She's the tiniest horse we have every run. There's nothing like winning a horse race to feel great."

And after all these years, the Beckners deserve that feeling.

Saturday's Results

FIRST RACE

TB Mdn, 3-years old & up, 5 1/2 F, $2,000. 1, Rockinatthebar (L. Zacherle), 6.00, 3.20, 2.10; 2, Uncork It (R. Camacho), 3.60, 2.10; 3, Blues Zensation (J. Guerrero), 2.10. Q — 2-5 $6.80; EX — 5-2 $4.80; TRI — 5-2-3 $16.80. Time — 1:09.86.

SECOND RACE

TB, Clm 3,500, 3-years old & up, fillies & mares, 5 1/2 F, $2,300. 1, Top Lady (J. Samuels), 12.00, 6.20, 2.60; 2, Boundary Lane (A. Wolf), 4.60, 2.40; 3, Cascadian's Storey (K. Guglielmino), 2.40. Q — 2-4 $37.40; EX — 4-2 $19.10; TRI — 4-2-5 $52.20. Time — 1:07.82.

THIRD RACE

TB, Clm 2,500, 3-years old & up, 6 1/2 F, $2,300. 1, Steel Blue (R. Camacho), 11.80, 4.00, 2.20; 2, Tribal Sky (J. Samuels), 2.80, 2.10; 3, Vezuvly (K. Guglielmino), 2.20. Q — 2-5 $14.20; EX — 5-2 $10.90; TRI — 5-2-3 $14.70; DD — 4-5 $156.00. Time — 1:23.79.

FOURTH RACE

TB, Clm 3,500, 3-years old & up, 6 1/2 F, $2,300. 1, The Motion Man (J. Samuels), 6.00, 3.60, 2.20; 2, Atlantra's Tantrum (L. Zacherle), 3.00, 2.10; 3, Bart the Barrister (K. Guglielmino), 2.20. Q — 3-4 $6.00; EX — 4-3 $13.50; TRI — 4-3-1 $39.60. Time — 1:24.43.

FIFTH RACE

QH Alw, 2-year old, 350 yd, $3,000. 1, For Sweet Jess (J. Samuels), 3.20, 2.20, 2.10; 2, Jazzing Nibbler (J. Guerrero), 2.20, 2.10; 3, Kr Jess My Luck (T. Neal), 2.10. Q — 5-6 $4.20; EX — 5-6 $4.10; TRI — 5-6-3 $7.40; Pick 3 (5-4-2/4/5 $17.30. Time — :18.02.

SIXTH RACE

TB Mdn, Clm 3,500, 3-years old & up, fillies & mares, 5 F, $2,000. 1, Herecomesemmy (K. Guglielmino), 5.60, 5.00, 4.60; 2, Over Souled (A. Wolf), 10.60, 5.20; 3, Bibi Gail (L. Zacherle), 6.40. Q — 1-6 $19.80; EX — 1-6 $27.50; TRI 1-6-3 $119.10. Time —1:01.54.

SEVENTH RACE

QH Fut, 2-year old, 350 yd, $25,100. 1, L Bar D Dixon Delite (L. Zacherle), 26.40, 26.00, 4.80; 2, Shimmie Horn (K. Guglielmino), 7.00, 4.00; 3, Ez Feisty Patriot (T. Stillwell), 2.60. Q — 4-6 $124.00; EX — 6-4 $162.20; TRI — 6-4-7 $109.40. Time — :17.98.

EIGHTH RACE

TB, Clm 3,500, 3-years old & up, 5 F, $2,300. 1, Prince Novetti (J. Guerrero), 11.60, 6.00, 2.80; 2, Rainier Ice (P. Fernandez), 9.20, 2.80; 3, I;lbeamonkeysuncle (J. Samuels), 2.60. Q — 5-6 $35.60; EX — 5-6 $9.30; TRI — 5-6-2 $100.70; DD — 6-5 $322.00; Pick 3 — 1-6-5 $111.90. Time — 1:00.37.

Attendance — 3,680 (estimated); Handle — $44,818.

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Jockey Louis Zacherle reacts after winning the Firecracker Futurity at Grants Pass Downs.
L Bar D Dixon Delite and jockey Louis Zacherle (center) nose out Shimmie Horn and rider Kassie Guglielmino (right) as fourth-place finisher Shez Sneakin Fast trails during the Firecracker Futurity at Grants Pass Downs on Saturday. PHOTOS BY LARRY STAUTH JR.