BARKLEY TAKES UNDEFEATED STREAK INTO SUNDAY’S EmD DERBY
Barkley–the only male horse to win a 3-year-old stakes this season–looks to remain undefeated while facing his toughest test in Sunday’s $75,000 Emerald Downs Derby.
Six-for-six lifetime, Barkley is one-of-six sophomores to take center stage in the division’s 1-1/8-mile championship event.
Unlike his foes, however, Barkley has never lost a race and has wins at five different distances. He’s captured each of the division’s first three stakes races–the Auburn Stakes, Coca-Cola Stakes and Seattle Slew Stakes–and could be the first 3-year-old male in track history to sweep the entire stakes division. His trainer Howard Belvoir is confident that Barkley will be ready to roll come Sunday.
“He’s been training really well,” Belvoir said. “He doesn’t work like a good horse but he runs like one.
“That’s a good thing because he takes good care of himself out there. Since he’s six-for-six, I don’t want to change anything with his training. I always question whether or not I have enough conditioning in him, but it’s better to just keep doing what you’re doing.”
Barkley’s greatest adversary–Mach One Rules–had run three winning races, but thanks to Barkley, has three narrow losses instead. Incidentally, each of those stakes has looked nearly identical. Mach One Rules has the lead at the eighth-pole and Barkley wins at the wire. While each victory has been in a photo finish, the way Barkley has won seems almost by design. Even Belvoir, who conditioned Northwest legends Red Eye Express and Wasserman, said Barkley has the greatest desire to win of any horse he’s ever trained.
“I keep thinking at the eighth-pole that Mach One Rules has him beat but like Javier (Matias) said, Barkley seems to know where the wire is,” Belvoir said. “I’ve been in racing a long time and very seldom do you see a horse do what he does.”
Some fresh faces could make it interesting for both Barkley and Mach One Rules, especially considering the pair has had virtually every stakes race to themselves this season. Canadian shippers Opportunistic and Silvertown will make the trip south this week after finishing first and third, respectively in the Chris Loseth Handicap on July 1 at Hastings Racecourse.
From the local arena, Huya and Wando Cat will face stakes company for the first time this season. Huya has been a lightning rod of late, winning three-of-five races this season including a dominating eight-length performance in a July 16 allowance race. For the victory, Huya earned an 84 Beyer Speed Figure–six points higher than Barkley and Mach One Rules received for their Seattle Slew efforts. With new competition and a new distance on tap, Belvoir knows Barkley will be the target.
“There’s a big difference between 1-1/16 miles and 1-1/8 miles,” Belvoir said. “This will be his hardest race so far.
“Right now he’s the top dog and everybody tries to beat the top dog. Last time they tried to pin him in but then they let him out a little too soon. I have no problem with those tactics. That’s what happens when you’re the top dog, and that’s what you aim to be”
· Trainer Mike Puhich/owner Mark DeDomenico (Opportunistic) and trainer Frank Lucarelli/owner R.E.V. Racing (Mach One Rules) have captured the past two Derbies with Prime Engine and Mebossman, respectively.
· The Emerald Downs Derby is Race 8 at 5:15 p.m.
The field for the 79th running of the $75,000 Emerald Downs Derby, 3-Year-Olds, 1 1/8 Miles, all at 122 lbs.: Wando Cat, Rocco Bowen; Mach One Rules, Leslie Mawing; Opportunistic, David G. Lopez; Barkley, Javier Matias; Huya, Juan Gutierrez; Silvertown, Eswan Flores.
GOLD RUSH DANCER SHINES IN REAL GOOD DEAL
The saga of who’s a better 3-year-old between Barkley and Gold Rush Dancer added another chapter Wednesday after John Parker’s homebred colt captured the $150,000 Real Good Deal at Del Mar.
The Real Good Deal–a seven-furlong sprint for California-bred runners–featured a talent-packed field including four stakes winners and two graded-stakes placed competitors. Nevertheless, Gold Rush Dancer outran his 14-to-1 odds, holding off recent rival Tough It Out for a half-length score.
“Right now he’s on fire,” Parker said. “It’s just unbelievable how well he’s doing.
“I really didn’t expect it. There were some really good horses in there but he proved be can run with anyone right now.”
Ridden by Flavien Prat for trainer Vann Belvoir, Gold Rush Dancer has now won three straight Cal-bred stakes at three different racetracks. In 12 starts, the Private Gold sophomore is 5-3-2 with $379,923 in purse earnings. According to Parker, Gold Rush Dancer will make his next start on September 4 in the $250,000 Del Mar Derby (G2) going 1-1/8 miles on turf.
Before moving to California, Gold Rush Dancer began his career as a 2-year-old with trainer Bill Tollett at Emerald Downs. Last season, he went 2-1-1 in five starts including a 5-1/2-length romp in the Gottstein Futurity.
FRIDAY’S PICK 7 CARRYOVER: $1,098
The $0.20 Pick 7 will start with $1,098 on Friday after no wagerers had seven-of-seven in Sunday’s Pick 7. Last Saturday, however, a huge Pick 7 pool paid out a record $46,321 after a four-day carryover.
On Friday, the Pick 7 will cover the entire day’s race card, which averages nearly 8.5 horses per race. Race six is the featured event and showcases fillies and mares racing six furlongs in a $15,000N2L claiming race. Our Silver Lining is installed as the 3-to-1 morning-line favorite.
Friday’s first post is at approximately 6:30 p.m.
DOLLAR NIGHT CONCLUDES SATURDAY NIGHT RACING
Emerald Downs concludes its fourth and final Saturday night of Thoroughbred action with “Dollar Night” along with a terrific eight-race card. Live racing returns to 2 to 6 p.m. on Saturdays in August until the end of the meet.
This Saturday, however, Race fans can cash in on $1 food specials throughout the evening including hot dogs, chips, popcorn and ice cream. The $1 menu also features fountain drinks and Busch Beer. Race programs are also $1.
First post Saturday is at 6:30 p.m. with each race averaging 8.25 horses per race. The seventh and featured event is $25,000 optional claiming race for eight fillies and mare going six furlongs.
EmD TO RAISE MONEY FOR PDJF, SANCHEZ THIS WEEKEND
Emerald Downs has several key events on tap to raise money for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund and former rider Diego Sanchez this Saturday and Sunday.
Diego Sanchez, who was seriously injured in a race earlier this season, will be a special guest at Breakfast at the Wire on Saturday morning. From 8 to 10 a.m., fans can meet with Sanchez and recently-retired jockey Joe Steiner while enjoying one of several breakfast options for as little as $6.
During the races Saturday and Sunday, the track will set up an autograph table near the paddock where fans can meet with several jockeys throughout the day. Fans will also have an opportunity to take a selfie with their favorite jockey. Suggested donations are $10 for a picture and $20 for an autographed hat.
On Sunday, it the annual “Jockey Foot Race,” where several of the track’s top riders will sprint one-sixteenth-of-a-mile down the stretch for glory and a great cause. The winner receives a trophy, gift card and the track will donate $1,000 in the winner’s name. Sanchez won last year’s event.
The field for Sunday’s race:
1: Eswan Flores
2: Jorge Rosales
3: Jose Zunino
4: Leonel Camacho-Flores
5: Erick Lopez
6: Rocco Bowen
7: Ronald Richard
8: Richard Lull
9: Isaias Enriquez
10: Javier Matias
11: *Leslie Mawing
12: Jennifer Whitaker
*5-2 morning-line favorite
July 30 Breakfast at the Wire (8-10 a.m.)
July 30 Dollar Day/Ride For Racehorses (Night Racing)
July 30 & 31: PDJF Day at the Races (Jockey Race Sunday)
August 5: Brewer’s Night
August 6: Breakfast at the Wire (8-10 a.m.)
August 6 & 7: Jim Marsh Classic (3 on 3 basketball tournament)
THE PRESS BOX PODCAST: EMERALD DOWNS DERBY
The 45-minute program will showcase every stakes race this season including Sunday’s $75,000 Emerald Downs Derby–the championship event for 3-year-olds.
Hosted by Jacob Pollowitz (Professor Pollowitz) and Vince Bruun (Mr. Media), The Press Box Podcast will be a special preview edition that airs at approximately 4 p.m. on Friday. The podcast includes an interview with trainer Howard Belvoir, who will saddle Barkley in Sunday’s race. The program also includes handicapping and a comprehensive look at the race’s history.
You can listen to the show live or recorded by visiting the track website at emeralddowns.com or at mixlr.com/emerald-downs.
BEYERS & FAST TIMES
Friday, July 22
Race 1: Come On Cozzene-64
Race 2: Will Not-46*
Race 3: Endangered-43
Race 4: G’s Gold-51
Race 5: Bolshoi’s Bluff-65
Race 6: Fooled Again-84*
Race 7: Freedomofthehills-50
Saturday, July 23
Race 1: The Search Is Over-54
Race 2: Sheeza Sassy Girl-31#
Race 3: Raise the Magarita-49*
Race 4: Heza Witch Doctor-67
Race 5: Ringo’s Gold-54
Race 6: Mike Man’s Gold-78
Race 7: Gotta Be Diet C-64*
Race 8: Captain Shaddock-56*
Sunday, July 24
Race 1: Coastal Curves-38*
Race 2: Rally Cap Rudy-52
Race 3: Pata Blanca-51
Race 4: Monydontspenitself-56#
Race 5: Winninginfashion-70
Race 6: Cinematic Cat-73
Race 7: Doctor Bruce S.-64
Race 8: Princess Kennedy-85*
Race 9: Hoody-75
Race 10: Blazin B B-38
# First-time starter
4 ½ Furlongs :50.22 The Chilli Man (2yo), June 26
5 Furlongs :56.45 Swiss Script (3yof), May 14
5 ½ Furlongs 1:00.97 O B Harbor (4yo), April 10
6 Furlongs 1:06.86* Kaabraaj (4yo), April 23
6 ½ Furlongs 1:13.59 O B Harbor (4yo), May 22
1 Mile: 1:34.73 O B Harbor (4yo), June 19
1 1/16 Mile: 1:41.05 O B Harbor (4yo), July 17
1 1/8 Mile: 1:47.79 Princess Kennedy (3yof), July 24
EmD TWO-MINUTE CLIP: RENE HARRIS
Assistant racing secretary Rene Harris joins track announcer Matt Dinerman for this week’s edition of the “Two-Minute Clip!”
WORKOUT CENTRAL: BARKLEY STEPS OUT THURSDAY
Undefeated colt Barkley is a frequent featured runner on “Training Day,” and he was out again Thursday for some light training before he puts his undefeated mark on the line in Sunday’s $75,000 Emerald Downs Derby.
WEEKLY HONORS #16 (July 22-24): Jockey-Ronald Richard; Trainer-Jim Penney; Owner-Troy Lange; Quarter Chute Café Groom-Jamie Morales-Arreola (Rosie Simkins); WTBOA Washington-bred-Gotta Be Diet C (Bred by Carnation Racing Stable Inc); Exercise Rider-Angel Wall
FINISH LINES: Kaabraaj, third in the Governor’s Stakes, worked a half-mile in :49.80 Wednesday at Del Mar for trainer Jeff Metz and owners Horseplayers Racing Club 240, Woodway Stable and Warlock Stables. The 4-year-old gelding will break from post No. 5 in Sunday’s $300,000 Bing Crosby Stakes (G1) for older horses running six furlongs…Speaking of Metz, the three-time training champion holds a five-win margin over Blaine Wright and Frank Lucarelli with 30 wins at the meet. Meanwhile on the jockeys’ side, Rocco Bowen has at least one win on 14 straight race cards heading into Friday. The Barbados native is 22-for-90 in July and currently leads Leslie Mawing 70-50 in the season standings…Sunday’s $1 million Haskell Invitational (G1) at Monmouth Park will feature a rematch between Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist and Preakness Stakes winner Exaggerator going 1-1/8 miles. Nyquist drew the rail and has been made the 6-5 morning-line favorite while Exaggerator drew post No. 6 in the six-horse field and is the 5-2 second choice. The pair have faced off five times previously with Nyquist winning the first four times before Exaggerator captured the Preakness…Jockey Tyler Baze confirmed this week that he would ship his tack to ride Alert Bay in the $200,000 Longacres Mile (G3) on August 14. Alert Bay, trained by Blaine Wright, finished third to Stryker Phd in last year’s Mile. Baze’s only trip to Emerald Downs came in 2007, when he had three mounts including a second-place finish aboard Raise the Bluff in that year’s Mile. Baze’s father Earl Baze is a regular anthem singer at Emerald Downs throughout the meet…Thetrailerguy, last year’s Coca-Cola Stakes winner for owner Heidi Nelson, has been sold and is now owned and trained by Ken Person…Washington Racing’s Hall of Fame trainer Jim Penney unveiled a promising 2-year-old Monydontspenitself on Sunday, as the son of Street Boss raced gate-to-wire in his career debut. Incidentally, the gelding’s older sister Zipessa captured the Dr. James Penny Memorial Handicap (G3) on July 4 at Parx Racetrack. That same day, Emerald Downs’ Penney celebrated his 82nd birthday…Summer in Auburn is expected to kick into high gear this weekend with sunny skies anticipated for all three days of racing; high temperatures are projected at 88 degrees Friday and 82 Saturday and Sunday.