Halo Passer, a photo-finish stakes winner last season, picked up his second major Spokane win Sunday when he rallied to a narrow decision over last year’s winner, Che Meza, in the 47th Inland Empire Speed Handicap at Playfair Race Course.
Ridden by Robert Skelly, Halo Passer slipped inside the leaders on the stretch turn and defeated Che Meza by a head. The 4-year-old gelding, successful in last year’s City of Spokane Handicap, completed six furlongs in 1:11, the best time during the first week of the current season.
Barzana Dana finished third, 4 lengths behind the first two. Last year’s Spokane Derby runner-up, No Small Buzz, went postward as the 5-2 favorite. After breaking alertly, he was squeezed back to last and wound up eighth, beaten by more than 10 lengths.
Halo Passer paid $11.60 to win. The race grossed $7,200 and Halo Passer earned $3,960 for owners Don Strate and Rusty Warwick of Davenport.
For the third straight day, there were no winners in the twin trifecta. As a result, there will be carryover of $24,617 to Wednesday night.