Emerald Downs News and Stable Notes
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Trainer Howard Belvoir
BIG FIELDS DRAWN FOR 17TH SEASON OPENER;
62 HORSES ENTERED IN EIGHT RACES
Director of Racing Bret Anderson put together another solid season-opening lineup Tuesday, with sixty-two horses entered for Friday’s eight-race card—7.75 per race—led by trainer Howard Belvoir with eight.
Belvoir, third all-time with 561 wins at Emerald Downs, comes off a superb 2011 campaign that produced 52 winners—just one shy of Leading Trainer Frank Lucarelli. A Martin Durkan award recipient in 2010 for his efforts to help fill races, Belvoir said he was impressed with the number of horses entered for Friday.
“The trainers have all done a good job filling up races,” Belvoir said. “Now lets just hope for good weather.”
Belvoir, who will saddle Advancement in Friday’s feature race—a conditional $12,500 claiming race for older horses—also said that he would enter up to as many as 20 horses for this weekend’s races. Entries for Saturday and Sunday will be taken Wednesday morning.
On Friday, first post time is at 6 p.m., but race fans may want to arrive early for the jockeys’ introduction, which takes place in the winner’s circle at approximately 5:40 p.m. A few of the new jockeys to be introduced include, William Antongeorgi III, Rocco Bowen and Mark Anderson. Czech Republic native and apprentice Eliska Kubinova leads all riders with a mount in each of the eight races.
SHAUNA FERGUSON, MILE-WINNING TRAINER,
PASSES AWAY AT AGE 58
Shauna Ferguson, trainer and part owner of Longacres Mile winner Kid Katabatic, died Monday afternoon after a riding accident at Keenebridge Farm in Langley, B.C, Canada. Ferguson, survived by her husband Keith Ferguson, passed away at 58-years-old.
A trainer and owner for over 30 years, Ferguson made headlines in 1997, when her homebred Kid Katabatic went wire-to-wire to capture the Longacres Mile (GIII). Winner of five stakes races at Emerald Downs, Kid Katabatic still holds the state record for the fastest 1-1/16-miles, with a winning time of 1:39 3/5 in the 1998 Budweiser Handicap.
Ferguson, who took out her trainer’s license in the late 70s, started in horseracing in 1971 as a groom for trainer Allen May. The following year, Chris Loseth joined May’s shed row and he and Ferguson became lifelong friends. In fact, it was Loseth that rode Kid Katabatic for most of the gelding’s illustrious career, including the Mile score. Loseth said Ferguson would be missed.
“She was a great horsewoman that really cared for her horses,” Loseth said. “She probably cared as much about horses as she did people.”
Memorial services are pending.
TOP-NOTCH COVERAGE RETURNS FOR 2012 MEETING
For the second straight season, CSN (Comcast Sports Network) will cover Emerald Downs’ every Saturday live throughout the 2012 meeting.
Hosted by Director of Publicity Joe Withee, “Emerald Downs Live” runs from 2-6 p.m. and will feature the track’s entire card. Emerald Downs’ race replays will also be available on XFINITY TV On Demand from Comcast.
Another returning feature includes “Vic’s Trips”—a TV segment that showcases Victor Cozzetti’s trip horse of the day and airs on every live racing day. “The Predictor” analyzes horses whose previous race may have been compromised by bad racing luck.
FINE WEATHER EXPECTED FOR OPENING WEEKEND
Weather conditions for week one at Emerald Downs look favorable heading into the track’s 17th season opener. Partly cloudy skies are forecast Friday with a high in temperatures near 60 degrees. While Saturday and Sunday, are expected to see cloudy skies with temperatures in the high 50s and low 60s.
NOTES: Congratulations to jockey Mario Gutierrez, who captured the Santa Anita Derby (GI) on Saturday aboard I’ll Have Another and likely secured his first-ever mount in the Kentucky Derby on May 5. The 25-year-old Gutierrez, a former Hastings’ rider, captured the 2009 Boeing Handicap aboard Holy Nova in a dead-heat with Jerre Paxton’s Elusive Horizon…Trainer Larry Ramnarine said Monday that his brother Learie Ramnarine, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, would join the Emerald Downs’ jockey colony later this season…Two-time Horse of the Year Noosa Beach breezed four furlongs on Saturday morning in 48.80 (31/42). The 6-year-old gelding ranks sixth all-time on the Washington-bred earners list with $520,722…The track’s all-time money earner Wasserman, expected to return for his eighth season at Emerald Downs, breezed three furlongs on Monday in 35.60 (4/15)…Track announcer Robert Geller will return for his 17th season at Emerald Downs on Friday. Geller plans to drive from Sunland Park in New Mexico, his winter home, on Tuesday night and pull into Auburn on Friday afternoon.