B C Z MIDDLETON SPRINGS BIRTHDAY SURPRISE, THUNDERSTORM SHELVES MONDAY’S FINALE
Emerald Downs celebrated its 20th birthday Monday with a special evening of racing that included numerous awards and surprises and concluded with a freak thunderstorm that forced cancellation of the seventh race finale.
Many of the track’s original investors were feted throughout the evening, along with several equine stars, prominent horsemen, and local dignitaries. A highlight was the announcement that Emerald Downs’ founder Ron Crockett will be honored permanently, with the main thoroughfare in front of the track renamed Ron Crockett Drive immediately.
Earlier, Longacres Miles winners No Giveaway, Flamethrowintexan, Wasserman and Noosa Beach paraded in front of the grandstand, along with representatives from all 20 Longacres Mile winners at Emerald Downs. Jockeys Gallyn Mitchell and Ricky Frazier and owner Mike Pegram were just a few of the participants.
In a weird twist, a thunderstorm shellacked Auburn after the feature race and necessitated a cancellation of the seventh race finale. Thus the $0.20 Pick 7—which included a carryover of $27,717—returned $1,383 to tickets with Monday’s six winners.
However, the $27,717 will carry over again to Friday; in accordance with WHRC rules, the entire Pick 7 must be completed to pay out on a carryover. The money paid out Monday was “fresh” money wagered on Monday’s seven-race card.
In the $50,000 Washington State Legislators Stakes, B C Z Middleton wore down Ethan’s Baby in the final strides and scored a three-quarter-length victory in 1:15.33 for 6 ½ furlongs.
Ridden by Jose Zunino for his second stakes win in two days, B C Z Middleton paid $32.60, $11.20 and $6.60. Jeff Metz is the winning trainer for owners William Burns and Rebecca Turcott.
A Kentucky-bred by Nobiz Like Shobiz, she is the first 3-year-old winner in the 21-year history of the race.
Ethan’s Baby, ridden by Joe Steiner, led through fractions of :22.24, :44.32 and 1:08.83, shook off Estellara into the lane and just failed to last. She has finished second in all three starts at the meet, including close runner-up finishes in both the Hastings Stakes and Washington State Legislators Stakes.
Peppy Miller, ridden by Juan Gutierrez, finished third and paid $5.40 to show.
Guinevere’s Finale, Estellara, Locket, If You Like It and Kikisoblu completed the order of finish. Kikisoblu, the defending champion, dwelt at the start and did not reach contention.
NOTES: Lauren Slavin, granddaughter of Ron Crockett, performed the National Anthem before Monday’s races. . .Washington Hall of Famer Robert Geller returned from Woodbine to call the first four races Monday. Geller was Emerald Downs’ announcer for 19 ½ seasons before taking the job in Toronto last year. . . Xerxes ($4.20) became the meet’s first four-time winner with a gate-to-wire triumph in race four, running six furlongs in 1:09.54 under Erick Lopez for owner/trainer Norma Burnam. . .Live racing resumes Friday with first post 6:30 p.m.