Exclusive Diva winning the Seattle Handicap by 8-1/2 lengths
SUNDAY STAKES TWINBILL LURES PAIR OF ACES
FROM THE HIGH-FLYING TOM WENZEL STABLE
When the big money’s down, trainer Tom Wenzel is usually around. Already this season the 46-year-old Tacoma native has compiled a 2-2-0 record from five stakes starts, including victories by Makors Finale in the Auburn Handicap and Exclusive Diva in the Seattle Handicap.
So it might be wise to note that Wenzel will have double-barrel stakes action again Sunday when he saddles Makors Finale in the $50,000 Coca-Cola Handicap for 3-year-olds at one mile and Exclusive Diva in the $50,000 Irish Day Handicap for 3-year-old fillies at one mile. The stakes doubleheader anchors a 10-race card that begins at 2 p.m.
For Wenzel, his stakes wins were polar opposites. Makors Finale needed every inch to win the June 3 Auburn Handicap in a dead heat with D’honorable One in a stakes record 1:14.53 for 6-½ furlongs. Exclusive Diva, on the other hand, proved much the best in her 2012 debut, leading the May 27 Seattle Handicap from start-to-finish to win by 8-½ lengths in a stakes record-tying 1:14.58 for 6-½ furlongs.
The latter might have more to prove this weekend, however, considering Exclusive Diva has yet to win around two turns. Her lone route try came last August in the Barbara Shinpoch Stakes, when she held third after setting a contested pace in the race won by Sweet Saga over Talk to My Lawyer. Wenzel said he’s a little concerned that Exclusive Diva, who’s barely taller than 15-hands, could have an issue carrying the high-weight of 120 pounds Sunday.
“Having to carry the high weight, it could hamper (her ability to win going two turns),” Wenzel said. “If she’s just that much better than those other fillies, it might not make that much of a difference. That’s what we’re going to find out.”
As for Makors Finale, the Coca-Cola’s mile distance appears to be right in his wheelhouse. In three previous routes, the Makors Mark colt has one win and two seconds—both stakes races at Turf Paradise. In addition, his recent nemesis D’honorable One has never raced around two turns, but with a record of 4-0-2 in six starts the D’wildcat colt obviously merits respect.
The field for the 17th running of the Coca-Cola Handicap (race six, 4:38 p.m.): 1, Makors Finale, Gallyn Mitchell, 121 lbs.; 2, First Last Chance, Jose Zunino, 115; 3, Brady’s Kat, Javier Matias, 117; 4, Havanna Red, Leonel Camacho-Flores, 114; 5, D’honorable One, Leslie Mawing, 122; 6, Edge Forward, William Antongeorgi, 115; City Twister, Debbie Hoonan, 117; Don’t Be Coy Roy, Eliska Kubinova, 114.
The field for the 17th running of the Irish Day Handicap (race nine, 6:09 p.m.): 1, Royal Moses, Mitchell, 117 lbs.; 2, Talk to My Lawyer, Mawing, 118; 3, Muchas Coronas, Antongeorgi, 115; 4, Lady Hokulea, Camacho-Flores, 117; 5, Champagneandcaviar, Matias, 113; 6, Sweet Saga, Hoonan, 116; Exclusive Diva, Juan Gutierrez, 120.
Atta Boy Roy observing the action last week at Canterbury Park (Photo: Valorie Lund)
WASHINGTON CHAMP ATTA BOY ROY BACK IN TRAINING
Roy and Ellie Schafer’s (R.E.V. Racing) Atta Boy Roy, the richest active Washington-bred earner with $580,980, resumed training last month at Canterbury Park in Minnesota, his first activity since finishing fifth in the Hank Mills Sr. Handicap last December at Turf Paradise.
Trainer Valorie Lund said the 7-year-old ridgling is scheduled to breeze a half-mile Sunday, and has been recovering nicely from abdominal surgery in January to reset a displaced colon.
“I’m trying to keep him slow right now, until I get some solid five-eighths drills in him,” Lund said from Minnesota. “The break was really nice for him, but it’s been a long time. I’d say he’s probably still six weeks from running in a race.”
Named Washington’s Champion Sprinter in 2009 and 2010, Atta Boy Roy has compiled an illustrious career that has produced five stakes wins including a half-length triumph in the Churchill Downs Handicap (G2) on May 1, 2010. Lund, who currently has 17 horses stabled at Canterbury Park said she expects the Atta Boy Roy of old to return in 2012.
“He’s been training very well so far,” she said. “I expect him to have another good season. Our goal is still for him to become the richest Washington-bred of all-time.”
Saratoga Passage ranks No.1 all-time in Washington with $800,212.
EMERALD DOWNS JOCKEYS JAMMIN’ TO VICTORIES
One of the perks for winning jockeys at Emerald Downs is being able to groove to a favorite tune.
For the past 14 seasons, Emerald Downs has provided a one-of-a kind service to race fans, playing a victory song selected by each winning jockey as the rider exits the winner’s circle and the stretch drive is replayed on TV monitors.
Started in 1998 by Casey Malone, then-Director of Television, the unique programming gives fans an inside look into their favorite jockey’s style and musical preference after each race won. Some jockeys, like Gallyn Mitchell, have had the same song for several years. While other jockeys, such as Debbie Hoonan, have already changed their song at least once this season.
Here is the list of 2012 jockeys and their victory songs:
Mark Anderson: Alice in Chains—Alive
William Antongeorgi: Motley Crue—Kickstart My Heart
Rocco Bowen: Sizzla—Thank You Mama
Leonel Camacho-Flores: Band Unknown—El Mariachi Loco
Joe Crispin: Nickelback—Rockstar
A.L. “Tony” Gutierrez: Chris Brown—Look at Me Now
Juan Gutierrez: Aerosmith—Back in the Saddle
Debbie Hoonan: Chumbawamba—Tubthumping
Eliska Kubinova: Foster The People—Pumped Up Kicks
Javier Matias: Depeche Mode—Policy of Truth
Leslie Mawing: Rockstar SuperNova—Be Yourself (And 5 Other Cliches)
Gallyn Mitchell: Montgomery Gentry—Lucky Man
J. Luis Torres: Ritchie Valens—La Bamba
Jennifer Whitaker: The Commodores—Brick House
Jose Zunino: Aaron Tippin—Working Man’s Ph.D
NOTES: Week 10 honors: Jockey-Gallyn Mitchell (12-3-3-3); Trainer-Greg Moore (3-1-1-0); Owner-Michael & Amy Feuerborn (2-2-0-0); Groom-Cesar Guillen-Sanchez (Vince Gibson); Washington Bred-Cat On Base (breeder Jennifer Webber & Ken Jochimsen)…The Saturday feature race at Emerald Downs is a $32,000/$25,000 claimer at one mile, featuring Go With Gusto shooting for a fourth straight victory and Candy for Debbie returning home from a three-win campaign this winter/spring at Golden Gate Fields. The eight-horse field also includes two stakes-winning 3-year-olds of 2011—Auburn Handicap winner Showme Yourfriends and Seattle Slew Handicap winner Zayda…Saturday’s card also features the first maiden special weight of the season for 2-year-old fillies. The seven-horse field includes a $50,000 filly—Agoodlawyer Willdo— by Lawyer Ron-La Belle Marquet…2011 Knights Choice Stakes winner Youtheprizeandi runs Saturday in the $50,000 California Wine for 3-year-old fillies at Pleasanton. Since her stakes win at Emerald Downs last July, the Tim McCanna-trained filly has finished third beaten a head and second beaten a nose in first-level allowance races at Golden Gate Fields. McCanna also entered Munnings Sister in the California Wine, and Friday he sends out Hayjax in a $32,000 allowance/optional claiming race at Pleasanton. Hayjax comes off a 4-¼-length victory May 20 at Emerald Downs, in which the 4-year-old gelding ran six furlongs in 1:08.70 and earned an 89 Beyer. Cat On Base and Aaron the Baron have already emerged from the May 20 race to win subsequent starts at EmD, and Slim Pickins returned to finish third in the Budweiser Handicap…Speaking of McCanna, Emerald Downs’ all-time leading trainer begins the week tied with Frank Lucarelli for second place in the trainers’ standings at 18 wins apiece, one behind Howard Belvoir…Lucarelli’s training triple Sunday was his first this season and the fourth by an EmD trainer in 2012. The highlight, of course, was Winning Machine’s half-length triumph in the $50,000 Budweiser Handicap. Winning Machine ran one mile in 1:34.44 and was given an 89 Beyer, down slightly from a 94 in the Governor’s Handicap…Budweiser runner-up Rainier Ice was given a career-high 88 Beyer, up three points from his 85 earned in a June 3 allowance victory…Noosa Beach was scratched after flipping in the starting gate before the Budweiser, but the 6-year-old gelding appears to be doing fine. Assistant trainer Marshall Allen said Noosa Beach galloped Wednesday and Thursday, and that trainer Doris Harwood and owner Jeff Harwood will explore options before committing on a next race. The next local stakes for older horses is the $50,000 Mt. Rainier Handicap at 1-1/16 miles on Sunday, July 22, which serves as the final local prep for the $200,000 Longacres Mile on Aug. 19. Hastings Racecourse, where Noosa Beach is 1-1-0 in two career starts, offers the $50,000 Lt. Governor’s Handicap at 1-1/16 miles on Monday, July 2…Sunday’s edition of "Paddock Preview" features trainer Blaine Wright discussing top Coca-Cola Handicap contender D’honorable One with Jacob Pollowitz from 1:05-1:20 p.m…Trainer Valorie Lund said she is training Atta Boy Roy’s groom Brian Brock—son of Emerald Downs’ valet and former jockey Dan Brock—to become her assistant trainer…Coming off a four-length romp in the Arlington Matron (G3), Upperline, part-owned by Emerald Downs Vice President Jack Hodge, looks to defend her title Sunday in the $100,000 Trillium Stakes for older fillies and mares at 1-1/8 miles at Woodbine in Toronto…Happy Birthday to Jennifer Whitaker, as Emerald Downs’ all-time leading female rider celebrates her 41st on Saturday…You Me and Ema B, the track’s Top Older Filly or Mare of 2011, has missed recent training due to a pulled muscle, trainer Margo Lloyd said…Joe Crispin, sixth in the jockeys’ standings with 31 wins, has packed his tack and headed to Les Bois Park in Boise. Incidentally, former EmD jockey Robert Burney ranks fourth with 12 wins at the Boise track through Wednesday.