The extremes in horse racing came into play Saturday at Sun Downs in Kennewick.
An estimated crowd of 1,800 came out on the first day of the 10-day meet to watch nine races, and it wagered a respectable $48,930 for the day.
That crowd also got to see an old-timer, 8-year-old Hannibal Lector, win the day's feature race, the $3,000 Boekenoogen Memorial.
Sadly, in that same race, it witnessed the final run for 4-year-old See the Feature, which broke its leg during the 400-yard sprint and had to be euthanized after the race.
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It was definitely an emotional rollercoaster finish to the day.
As for the victor, Hannibal Lector left no doubt about the race from the start.
With jockey Ruben Camacho aboard -- replacing Jorge Rosales, who was originally scheduled to be the rider but couldn't make it to the track Saturday -- the gelding broke cleanly from the starting gate, starting from the first position.
"Once they opened the gate, it was like 'Whew!' " said Camacho. "He ran a straight line."
No one ever really threatened, and Hannibal Lector crossed the finish line in 20.31 seconds -- well ahead of runnerup Mo Cash Billy Bob's 20.44 time and third-place finisher Awezoomin's time of 20.50.
It was the second consecutive Boekenoogen Memorial victory for Hannibal Lector.
Owned by Hermiston's Sergio Mendoza (who couldn't make the race because of work), Hannibal Lector continues to surprise with his speed.
"He loves to run," said trainer Gary Klinger of Boardman, Ore. "That's pretty much his whole mentality. We won a Challenge race last year in Prineville. We won one in Grants Pass. You know, he holds the track record for 350 yards at Portland Meadows, but it doesn't count because it was a mixed breed race."
And Klinger expects to run him a while longer.
"He's a fast (SOB)," said Klinger. "He's just getting older. Everybody thinks he's getting older and not as fast. But hopefully this horse has got a couple of years left and then he'll make a good saddle horse for some kid. He's just a nice horse."
See the Feature won't get that chance.
Something happened about mid-race, and rider David Brown could be seen trying to get the horse to hold up. But it wanted to race and tried to keep going. By then it was too late, and track officials had to put it down after the race was over.
Action continues today with an eight-race card, featuring 19 horses competing in the Pot O'Gold Futurity trials. The 10 fastest horses will qualify for the final, set for April 18.
First post is at 1:30 p.m. today.
A rough first day for Trey, as he netted a loss of $32.30. That means the original (and imaginary) bankroll of $500 is down to $467.70.
We can't pass up a 2-for-1, so we'll take the double entry of Miss Slewledo and Implausible for $5 across the board, and the first half of the daily double. Throw in Windy City Kitty with the double entry on a $3 quinella.
In the second, we'll take My Blue Heart for the second half of the daily double; and we'll box a trifecta of My Blue Heart, Zia Zoom Zoom and Perfect Cast.
In the third, we'll box an exacta of Running Charlie and Hey Nineteen; we'll take $2 across the board on Shez Prett Awesome in the fourth (the first of three Pot O'Gold Futurity trials).
In the fifth, we'll do a $5 quinella on Kipas Dash and Miss Royal Rumble.
For the sixth, Here Comes the Budder's gonna bring home the cheddar. We'll do $5 across the board.
In the seventh, we'll pick Whatsamillion for the first half of the late double, then box an exacta of Whatsamillion and Brakeman.
Finally for the eighth, we'll take Witchonachopper as the second half of the late double, and box Holystack and Secret Meeting with her for an enticing trifecta.
Total wagers for the day: $68.