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Welcome Home Ryan Wins Match Race With Sandor
Sandor and Welcome Home Ryan staged their own match race in the $24,000 feature at Golden Gate Fields Sunday and it was a thriller.
Welcome Home Ryan, ridden by Catalino Martinez, surged powerfully in the final strides to win the one-mile race for older horses by a neck over Sandor and jockey Russell Baze.
Candy for Debbie finished third, 1 1/2 lengths behind the top two and a nose in front of Duke of Doom. Rush In, the 9-5 favorite ridden by Juan Hernandez, finished last in the field of five.
Sandor, who broke from the inside post, and Welcome Home Ryan both left the starting gate alertly and went straight to the front. The two horses raced side by side through soft fractions (26.33, 51.10 and 1:15.51) and thus had plenty of left for the stretch drive.
Sandor led Welcome Home Ryan by a head down the lane but couldn’t hold off his rival in the final yards. Welcome Home Ryan hit the wire in 1:39.98 and paid $20.60 after being dismissed at 9-1 in the wagering.
Welcome Home Ryan is a 6-year-old horse trained by Doug Utley. Owned by John Battle, Welcome Home Ryan earned $14,400 for the hard-fought victory – his ninth triumph in 42 career starts.
Racing will resume at Golden Gate Fields Thursday. Post time is 12:45 p.m.