GUTIERREZ TO MISS FINAL WEEK, LEADS ENRIQUEZ 96-95,
HEAD-AND-HEAD TRAINERS RACE DESTINED FOR PHOTO
Defending riding champion Juan Gutierrez will remain sidelined with concussion symptoms, meaning newcomer Isaias Enriquez has an excellent chance to capture the 2013 Emerald Downs riding title.
Gutierrez enters the final three days of racing with a 96-95 lead, but Enriquez has 27 scheduled mounts Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and needs just two wins for the crown.
“Especially nowadays, doctors are very cautious with concussions,” said Keith Drebin, longtime agent for Gutierrez. “The main thing is Juan’s long-term health.”
Gutierrez, No. 2 all-time with 1,091 wins at Emerald Downs, hasn’t ridden since going down in a two-horse spill on Sunday, September 15, a mishap in which jockey Anne Sanguinetti also sustained a season-ending injury.
Gutierrez, 44, captured his first EmD title last year with 117 wins and ranks No. 2 all-time here with 1,091 wins. Although another title appears unlikely, the 44-year-old Jalisco, Mexico, native will finish in the top five for an 11th consecutive season, as Rocco Bowen with 51 wins and Eliska Kubinova and David G. Lopez with 49 apiece round out the top five.
Gallyn Mitchell, the track’s all-time leading rider with 1,347 wins, rides 7-to-5 morning line favorite Chaching Pete in Friday’s fifth race, and also has two mounts Sunday. The 51-year-old Mitchell is the only jockey to ride a winner all 17 seasons at Emerald Downs, but is 8-0-0-1 at the meet, having suffered a major heart attack on Monday, April 22. Mitchell has been working horses regularly and said he feels “great” and plans to ride this fall/winter at Turf Paradise.
In the battle for leading trainer, two-time defending champion Frank Lucarelli and newcomer Jeff Metz are tied 39-all, with Doris Harwood, 34 wins, Chris Stenslie, 32, and Jim Penney, 30, rounding out the top five. Metz has 14 horses entered closing weekend—three Friday, five Saturday and six Sunday—while Lucarelli has eight—two Friday, four Saturday and two Sunday. Harwood, with three horses entered Saturday and three Sunday, also is mathematically alive.
In the owners’ standings, Saratoga West—nom de course for horses owned by Metz—leads Howard Belvoir 18-12, with Randall & Rossi (11 wins), Ron Crockett Inc. (10), and Mr. & Mrs. Don Munger (9) and Mike & Amy Feuerborn (9) rounding out the top five.
DEL RIO HARBOR, NOOSITO RESUME RIVALRY
IN SUNDAY’S $75,000 GOTTSTEIN FUTURITY
Well-bred 2-year-olds Del Rio Harbor and Noosito—both trained by Doris Harwood— look to defend their family’s legacy on Sunday with a win in the $75,000 Gottstein Futurity at 1 1/16 miles, the final of 29 stakes this season at Emerald Downs.
With Del Rio Harbor and Noosito, the pedigree rings true, considering they both have full-brothers that won the Gottstein Futurity. Del Rio Harbor, by Harbor the Gold-Bahati, is the younger brother of Couldabenthewhisky, winner of the 2010 Gottstein. Noosito, by Harbor the Gold-Julia Rose, is the younger brother of Noosa Beach and Music of My Soul; the latter took down last year’s Gottstein while Noosa Beach was second to Gallant Son in 2008.
A Gottstein victory by either Del Rio Harbor or Noosito would likely secure honors as the track’s Top 2-Year-Old Male, as they’ve swept the 2-year-old stakes division with Del Rio Harbor leading two wins to one. Harwood, who has admired her stable mates’ rivalry, said it didn’t take long before she knew they had a bright future.
“From the very beginning, I knew both of these guys could run,” Harwood said. “There really was no question to what kind of races they’d be running in this year.”
Starting his career one month before Noosito, Del Rio Harbor was able to get the jump on his adversary, winning the July 28 Emerald Express at odds of 16-to-1. On August 17, however, their rivalry officially commenced with Del Rio Harbor prevailing over Mebossman by 1-½ lengths in the WTBOA Lads Stakes. Noosito broke slow, rushed up, and finished third.
Incidentally, despite Del Rio Harbor’s back-to-back stakes wins, Noosito still was favored in the Daily Racing Form Dennis Dodge Stakes on September 8. In that one, the pair paced themselves on the front end, and then locked horns in a stirring stretch drive with Noosito prevailing in 1:09.34 for six furlongs.
“I was screaming my head off for both of them,” Harwood said. “I kept yelling ‘c’mon Rio! c’mon Sito!’”
The 10-horse Gottstein field features six new faces headed by Morning Line Wiz. A Kentucky-bred gelding by Henny Hughes, Morning Line Wiz leads the field with a 71 Beyer earned in a runner-up effort to Patches Pal in a September 15 allowance race. The Jim Fergason trainee also scored a stakes-romp in the Ex Mountain Cop Stakes at Portland Meadows.
The field includes four fillies, the largest female contingent to run in the Gottstein at Emerald Downs. Interestingly, Rocco Bowen, the regular rider aboard Del Rio Harbor, switches his mount to the Tom Wenzel-trained filly Decatur Princess.
Northern California rider Julien Couton takes over on Del Rio Harbor. Couton rode Worldventurer to a seven-length win in the August 11 Emerald Derby.
The field, from the rail out, in the 76th Running of the Gottstein Futurity: Decatur Princess(f), Rocco Bowen, 117; Reigning (f), Javier Matias, 117; Strawberry Dawn (f), Debbie Hoonan, 117; Seattle Harbor (f), Leonel Camacho-Flores, 117; Mebossman, David Lopez, 120; Twentyten, Ronald Richard, 120; Morning Line Wiz, Eliska Kubinova, 120; Del Rio Harbor, Julien Couton, 120; Noosito, Isaias Enriquez, 120; Grindster, Nate Chaves, 120.
FILLY CHU AND YOU TOWERS OVER FIELD IN
SUNDAY’S INAUGURAL NWSS CAHILL ROAD STAKES
For the first time in track history, Emerald Downs has scheduled a stakes doubleheader for 2-year-olds on closing day, with the $50,000 NWSS Cahill Road Stakes at six furlongs complementing the $75,000 Gottstein Futurity.
And with a victory, Chu and You would become the first 2-year-old to win five races during a single meeting including four stakes.
In four career starts, Chu and You has never even trailed a horse while winning by an aggregate 20 lengths—most recently a seven-length victory in the Northwest Farms Stakes. Her winning time of 1:09.42 was only .08 slower than Noosito’s winning time in the Daily Racing Form Dennis Dodge Stakes on the same card.
The biggest question for trainer Robbie Baze and owner/breeder Mike and Amy Feuerborn was which race they would enter—the 1 1/16 mile Gottstein or the six-furlong Cahill Road.
“Mike and I talked back and forth about which stakes race to go in, and we went with the sprint,” Baze said. “We both think that she could route just fine, but we decided to do what she's been doing well already, and that's sprint.”
Although Sunday’s distance projects as an advantage for Chu and You, the pace scenario might not. Drawn directly to her outside is the speedy gelding Dallon’s Gold, who like Chu and You, has never trailed a horse in his brief two-race career. The filly Belladiva and the gelding Stikine Slough—an 18 ¾-length maiden winner—also could contest the lead, but Baze is confident in his filly’s abilities.
“There figures to be a lot of other speed in the race, but we're not going to change a thing,” Baze said. “We'll just let her run her race.”
With regular rider Juan Gutierrez sidelined, Julien Couton takes over the mount on Chu and You.
The field, from the rail out, in the Inaugural Running of the NWSS Cahill Road Stakes: Classic Harbor, Javier Matias, 118; Belladiva (f), Leonel Camacho-Flores, 117; Moony Moony, Isaias Enriquez, 120; Stikine Slough, Rocco Bowen, 120; Chu and You (f), Julien Couton, 117; Dallon’s Gold, Ronald Richard, 120.
BIG FIELDS SUNDAY ON FAN APPRECIATION DAY
The 75-day meet concludes Sunday with a flourish. In addition to Fan Appreciation Day—including $1 parking, $1 admission, $1 program and $1 concession specials—Director of Racing Bret Anderson produced an outstanding 11-race program that averages 8.7 horses per race.
The $75,000 Gottstein Futurity and $50,000 Cahill Road Stakes—both for 2-year-olds—highlight a program that also features six Ashbaugh Beal Claiming Challenge events, with purses of $16,000, $10,000, $10,000, $12,000, $12,000 and $16,000. In fact, the Ashbaugh Beal races drew 55 horses—or 9.2 horses per event.
STOPSHOPPINGDEBBIE TO RETURN TO EmD IN 2014,
PAXTON FILLY WAS ONE OF MEET’S BRIGHTEST STARS
Voting is underway for the traditional year-end honors, to be presented throughout Saturday’s and Sunday’s races in the Winner’s Circle. Honors for Top 3-Year-old Filly undoubtedly will be a unanimous vote for Stopshoppingdebbie, the undefeated Northwest Farms filly who ran the table in the sophomore filly ranks, winning all four stakes capped by a three-length win in the 1 1/8-mile Washington Oaks. The daughter of Curlin-Taste the Passion figures to receive Horse of the Meet consideration, too.
While many racing fans would enjoy seeing how she fares against Breeders’ Cup type horses, trainer Tom Wenzel said Stopshoppingdebbie (5-5-0-0-$128,773) has been turned out at owner Jerre Paxton’s farm near Yakima, and will return to Emerald Downs and compete in the older filly and mare ranks in 2014.
“She’s 100 percent healthy, but she’s turned out for the winter,” Wenzel said. “Jerre said, “Let’s give her a break and see where she’s at next year, and if she’s still kicking after the meet, then we would take her to California.”
Meanwhile, Wenzel and Northwest Farms have two runners entered in Saturday’s $22,575 allowance race at six furlongs: multiple stakes winning 4-year-old Exclusive Diva and 3-year-old Blueberry Smoothie, who racked up three thirds and a second in four starts this meet against Stopshoppingdebbie.
NOTES: Weekly honors 23: Trainer-Martin Pimentel (5-2-2-0); Jockey-Debbie Hoonan (16-5-4-2); Owner-One Horse Will Do Corp. (Jody Peetz); Groom-Jose Israel Aguirre (Howard Belvoir); Washington-bred: City Shadows (Breeder Mr. & Mrs. William T. Griffin)…Longacres Mile runner-up Stryker Phd worked an easy half-mile in :50 2/5 last weekend and trainer Margo Lloyd said the 4-year-old gelding is being pointed toward a November 1 turf allowance race at Golden Gate Fields…Wenzel said 2012 Washington Horse of the Year Makors Finale will miss the rest of this year and perhaps all of 2014 with a tendon injury, sustained while finishing fifth in the June 16 Budweiser Handicap. The 4-year-old colt is currently rehabbing at owner/breeder Karl Krieg’s farm on Whidbey Island…Longacres Mile fifth-place finisher Gladding is entered in a $51,000 optional claiming race at 6 ½ furlongs Sunday at Santa Anita. The Rodney Orr-owned Raised a Secret, third in the 2012 Gottstein Futurity, runs in the same race… …She’s a Tiger, bred by Orr and owned by Dr. Mark Dedomenico, goes for her second straight Grade I victory in Saturday’s $250,000 Chandelier for 2-year-old fillies at Santa Anita…Also Saturday at Santa Anita, Longacres Mile nominee Summer Hit runs in the $250,000 Awesome Again (G1) for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles…The meets 24th and final Quarter Horse race kicks off the Saturday card, a $4,400 allowance tilt at 350 yards featuring 5-year-old gelding Rf Pistol Pete attempting to win his sixth race of the meet…Juan Sanguino with a record nine wins andHoonan with a record five wins already have clinched the Quarter Horse training and riding titles…In the race for honors as the meet’s Top Claimer, Kind of Naughty became the first Thoroughbred five-time winner last week, and four-time winners Stephanie Plum, Southern Solution and Memphis Mobster are all in action this weekend.