BY MATT DINERMAN
FAB FRIDAY IS HERE! That’s right, folks. The first Fab Friday card of 2016 has finally arrived. 7 races on our Friday card tomorrow night, with the first race set to go off at 6:30 PM. However, many people will be getting here much earlier than that…to try to snag one of our Fab Friday T-shirts! The first 5,000 fans in attendance, with paid admission, receive a Fab Friday T-shirt. What’s cool about this shirt is that if you wear it to any other Fab Friday race card, you will get into the track FOR FREE.
I LOVE night racing. There’s a very festive atmosphere on Friday nights and when I look down from my booth at all the people on the track apron, everyone is enjoying themselves. That’s what we want to see!
Last week, we saw the 2015 Emerald Express winner BARKLEY win an allowance race against five other solid three-year-olds. The son of Munnings has now won 3 races in 3-lifetime starts. If all goes well, he will make his next start in the Auburn Stakes against last year’s undefeated two-year-old champion, MACH ONE RULES.
We have an outstanding race set to take place on Saturday. It goes off as Race 8, an allowance for older horses. This race is undoubtedly a prep for The Governor’s Stakes, the first older horse stake of the year. It definitely looks like the best race of the meet so far. Let’s take a look at the runners:
#1 BETRBEGONE– The son of Parker’s Storm Cat won The Seattle Slew Handicap at 33-1 last year and proved that win was no fluke when finishing second behind Prime Engine in the Emerald Derby the following month.
#2 SPIT AND SHINE– This Don Munger trainee won an allowance race last May and won a race in 2014 by 9 lengths.
#3 TRICK OR RETREAT– The “other” Doris Harwood trainee has finished behind quality runners such as Del Rio Harbor, Noosito, Scat Daddybaby and Stryker PHD in past starts. He also had a troubled trip in last year’s Chinook Pass Stakes and ran third behind two more nice horses: Redsolocup and Absolutely Cool.
#4 GRINDER SPARKSAGLO– Another runner that has finished behind good runners, including Del Rio Harbor, Noosito, Scat Daddybaby and Stryker PHD. He won a stakes race at Portland Meadows in 2014 and finished third in his last start, which was also a stakes race at Portland.
#5 PRIME ENGINE– In 2014 he won The Gottstein Futurity by open lengths. He also won The Emerald Derby last season, when he crushed the field to win by six lengths. The son of Northern Afleet has been working quickly in preparation for his four-year-old debut.
#6 THETRAILERGUY– This son of Henny Hughes won three races last year, including The Coca-Cola Handicap. He worked 6 furlongs out of the gate in 1:09 and 3/5 seconds on the morning of April 10 and also worked 57 and 4/5 going 5 furlongs on March 26. He should be cranked up and ready to fire off an eight-month layoff.
#7 KAABRAJ- 2015 leading trainer Jeff Metz trains this gelding. He has finished in the money in 9 of 11 career starts and is the only horse in this race with a start over the Emerald Downs dirt this year. Two weeks ago, he finished second behind O B Harbor, who ran a tenth of a second off the world record for five and a half furlongs that day.
#8 NOOSITO– The full brother to Noosa Beach is the morning line favorite and for good reason. Last year, in The Budweiser Handicap, he only lost by a neck to Stryker PHD, and lost to Stryker again in The Muckleshoot Tribal Classic, when he finished three-quarters of a length behind. He has two stakes wins sprinting and also finished second last year in The Governor’s Handicap, a sprint race.
#9 ITS ALLABOUT JERRY– The 2015 Oregon Bred of the Year won three allowance races last year at Emerald Downs and hit the board in 7 of 8 races in 2015. This four-year-old by Kentucky Derby winner Grindstone broke his maiden last year sprinting.
Talk about a star-studded field! We have nine races on Saturday and another nine on Sunday, with our first post at 2 P.M. Come on out and enjoy some more live racing at Emerald Downs!