WRIGHT DUO HEADLINE $75,000 EMERALD DOWNS DERBY
Trainer Blaine Wright, currently cruising to a second straight Emerald Downs title, will saddle the top two choices in Sunday’s $75,000 Emerald Downs Derby for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles.
The meet’s championship event for 3-year-olds, the Emerald Downs Derby, drew a field of six with Peter Redekop’s Aqua Frio and Chappell Alpine Farms’ speedy Riser composing a rugged one-two punch for the Wright stable. The sophomores have finished first and second in the two Derby lead-ups–Riser romping by 5 1/2 lengths over Aqua Frio in the 6 1/2-furlong Coca Cola Stakes and Aqua Frio tagging a loose-on-the lead Riser by a head in the one-mile Seattle Slew Stakes. In both races, the Wright duo were well clear of the show horse.
An Ohio-bred by Mizzen Mast, Riser is 2-1-0 in three starts at the meet and just failed to last in the Seattle Slew. The gray colt opened a five-length advantage after six furlongs in 1:09 and dug in gamely when challenged by Aqua Frio.
“With Riser, we’ve tried to slow him down a bit,” Wright said. “We figured if we want to make him a route horse, now is the time to try. I was really happy with his effort last time; he fought hard after setting fast fractions.
“Riser breezed wonderfully the other day with Eswan (Flores),” Wright added. “The key with him is getting him to settle. We got him to settle nicely in his work the other day.”
Riser and Aqua Frio both worked six furlongs on Monday, the former in 1:11.40 and the latter in 1:13.80.
A $180,000 sales purchase, Aqua Frio has fired every time while compiling a 3-6-1 record in in 10 starts with earnings of $136,450. The dark bay or brown colt by Uncle Mo was stakes-placed five times before tagging Riser in the Seattle Slew, running a mile in 1:34.82 and earning a career-high 84 Beyer.
“Aqua Frio is a hard-trying horse who will love the distance,” Wright said. “Obviously he ran really well last time and I think he’ll run well again. It takes him a little bit to get warmed up so the longer distance will suit him well.”
There are viable alternatives in the Derby.
More Power to Him, third in Seattle Slew while making his dirt debut, is the only horse in the race with experience at 1 1/8 miles–finishing third (placed second) in the El Camino Real Derby (G3) on synthetic and fifth in the restricted Snow Chief Stakes on turf. A California-bred by Slew’s Tiznow owned and bred by Brett Mason and trained by Faith Taylor, More Power to Him also tops the field in earnings with $168,153.
Monydontspenitself stretches out following a sharp allowance victory at 6 1/2 furlongs. His trainer, Kay Cooper, nearly won the Washington Oaks under similar circumstances last week with Daddyalwayssays.
Sharkzilla misfired in the Seattle Slew but his previous efforts, a come-from behind win in the Auburn Stakes and a third in the Coca-Cola Stakes, were both good. Trainer Candi Tollett and owner John Parker have already struck gold twice this season at big odds in stakes–Sharkzilla at 17-1 in the Auburn and first-time starter He’s Not Grey at 11-1 in the Emerald Express.
Distortedatthebar failed to hit the board in the Seattle Slew, but it was the first route test for the Preachinatthebar gelding. Owned and trained by Charles Essex, Distortedatthehar had two wins, one second and one third in his previous four starts, including a snappy allowance score on June 10.
The field for the 80th running of the Emerald Downs Derby: 1-Monysontspenitself, Javier Matias, 122 lbs; 2-Riser, Eswan Flores, 122; 3-Sharkzilla, Julien Couton, 122; 4-Aqua Frio, Kevin Orozco, 122; 5-More Power to Him, Rocco Bowen, 122; 6-Distortedatthebar, Erick Lopez, 122.
- The Emerald Downs Derby goes as Race 8 at 5:30 p.m.
- Betting favorites are only 3-for-21 in the Emerald Downs Derby and have lost eight of the last nine runnings. Prime Engine (2015), Gallon (2008) and Alexandersrun (2005) are the only favorites to win the Derby.
- Betting favorites are only 3-for-15 in stakes this season at Emerald Downs and 0-for-9 since Riser’s victory June 4 in the Coca-Cola Stakes.
- Four horses won the Derby gate-to-wire: Makors Finale (2012), Saratoga Boot (2010), Flying Notes (2002) and You’ve Got Action (1997).
- Rocco Bowen, the meet’s leading rider with 79 wins, also is the top route rider with a 17-for-60 mark (28.3%) in two-turn races.
- A $25,000 (US) bonus is offered to any horse that sweeps the Emerald Downs Derby and $150,000 BC Derby (G3C) September 9.
RACING THIS WEEK
Friday, July 28
6:30 p.m. (7 races)
$0.50 Pick 5 (3-7) $8,058
$0.20 Pick 7 (1-7) $2,202
Saturday, July 29
6:30 p.m. (9 races)
Sunday, July 30
2 p.m. (10 races)
$75,000 Emerald Downs Derby
BEYERS & FAST TIMES
Friday, July 21
Race 1: Fashion Prospect-67*
Race 2: Solar Heat-51
Race 3: Boo Boo Bear-66
Race 4: The Gold Monkey-67
Race 5: Afleet Hope-65
Race 6: Wine At Nine-70
Race 7: Abeja-63*
Saturday, July 22
Race 1: Bet the Gold-50
Race 2: Bella Blaze-44#+
Race 3: Curious Rumor-36#+
Race 4: Some Storm Cat-58*
Race 5: Miss Wine Topper-48
Race 6: Slewfooteldo-42
Sunday, July 23
Race 1: Amantha-44
Race 2: Runmissnatalia-22+
Race 3: Winter Knight-37#+
Race 4: Shylock Eddie-31#+
Race 5: Little Park-46
Race 6: Time for a Memory-54
Race 7: Deputy’s Command-71
Race 8: Atypique-58
Race 9: Little Dancer-79*
Race 10: Seattle Stone-56*
# First-time starter
4 ½ Furlongs :51.45 Rosie’s Reward (2yog), June 24
5 Furlongs :56.38 All for Me (4yog), April 9
5 ½ Furlongs 1:01.10 Prime Engine (5yog), April 22
6 Furlongs 1:07.83 Emmett Park (6yog), July 2
6 ½ Furlongs 1:13.94 Mach One Rules (4yog), June 18
1 Mile 1:34.65 Mike Man’s Gold (7yog), July 7
1 1/16 Mile 1:42.55 Mach One Rules (4yog), July 16
1 1/8 Mile 1:50.05 Little Dancer (3yof), July 23
300 Yards :15.787 Augie Meyer (5yog), June 10
350 Yards :17.968 Tickle Ur Fancy (4yof), June 4
4-Jerre to Carrie (4yof)
4-Rockport Birdie (6yom)
4-Wine At Nine (5yog)
$69,300-Citizen Kitty (Wa)
$68,225-Mach One Rules (Wa)
$58,725-Little Dancer (Ky)
7-G Conley/C Conley/Terra Firma Farm
Last Week: 5-23 (21.7%)
Season: 139-382 (36.3%)
Largest $2 Win: $103.80 Betting On Dr Bow (June 18)
QH Favorites: 1-5
WEEKLY HONORS #16 (July 21-23): Valpak Jockey-Rocco Bowen; Las Margaritas Trainer-John Maloney; Owner-Q Stable; Quarter Chute Café Groom-Rutilio Mendez-Rivas (Roy Lumm); WTBOA Washington-bred-Miss Wine Topper (Carol Henning breeder); Exercise Rider of the Week-Dan Brock (Larry & Sharon Ross).
FINISH LINES: Nominations close Sunday for the 82nd renewal of the $200,000 Longacres Mile (G3) on Sunday, August 13. . .Mile hopeful Barkley breezed four furlongs in :48.40 Monday. . .Sunday was day 48 of the 72-day meet, meaning exactly two-thirds of the season is in the books. . .Rocco Bowen and Blaine Wright are both en route to their second consecutive riding and training championships. With 79 wins, Bowen is on pace for 118 wins, up slightly from his 110 wins in 2016. And with 32 wins, Wright is on pace for 48 wins; he won last year’s title with 39 wins. . .Wright had an interesting sequence in the 3-year-old filly division this season. He won the Seattle Stakes with Alliford Bay ($3.40) and the Irish Day Stakes with Top Quality ($11.40), but also finished fifth with Alliford Bay at 3-10 in the Kent Stakes and fifth with Top Quality at 1-2 in the Washington Oaks. . . Eliska Kubinova and David Martin both resume riding this weekend following last Saturday’s dramatic three-horse spill. . .Good luck to jockey Natasha Coddington, who hung up her riding boots last week and plans to attend college. . . .The stewards fined Isaias Enriquez $100 for “purposely releasing both reins in celebration” after Mach One Rules’ win in the Mt. Rainier Stakes.