TOP EXECUTIVE 2021 HORSE OF MEETING
AUBURN, Wash. (Sept. 27, 2021) – Top Executive, undefeated in three starts and the only horse to win three stakes races, was voted 2021 Emerald Downs Horse of the Meeting.
Trained by Blaine Wright and owned by John and Janene Maryanski and Gail and Gerald Schneider, Top Executive swept the 3-year-old colts and geldings division with victories in the Auburn Stakes, Irish Day Stakes and Muckleshoot Derby. The 3-year-old Street Boss gelding won at distances of 6 furlongs, 6 ½ furlongs and 1 1/16 miles, and topped the meet in earnings with $82,800.
In addition to Horse of the Meeting, Top Executive was honored as the meet’s Top 3-Year-Old. Coastal Kid, whom Top Executive defeated in the Muckleshoot Derby, won Sunday’s Muckleshoot Tribal Classic.
It marks the second Horse of the Meeting in three seasons for Wright, who also trained 2019 winner Anyportinastorm. Wright also nearly won a second straight Longacres Mile, saddling Seamist Racing’s 5-year-old gelding Windribbon to a runner-up effort in the Longacres Mile (G3).
Papa’s Golden Boy took honors as Top Older Horse, Top Sprinter and Top Washington-bred. Trained by Vince Gibson and owned by Gary Lusk, Deborah Lusk, Jeff Lusk, and Peyton Lusk, the 5-year-old Harbor the Gold gelding won three races including the Budweiser Stakes and Governor’s Stakes and ran meet-fastest times at 5 ½ furlongs (1:02.11) and 6 ½ furlongs (1:14.50).
Daffodil Sweet won four races including the Washington State Legislators Stakes and was voted Top Older Filly or Mare. Trained by the retiring Chris Stenslie and owned by One Horse Will Do Corporation and Steve Shimizu, Daffodil Sweet was Top 3-Year-Old Filly of 2020 and is the only horse to win Emerald Downs titles in 2020 and 2021.
Nite and Day Stables and Joanne Todd’s Bayakoas Image was a unanimous choice as Top 3-Year-Old Filly. A British Columbia-bred by Lent, Bayakoas Image was two for two with a 5 ¾-length victory in the Washington Oaks and a neck victory in the Washington Cup Filly & Mare Stakes. Kay Cooper, the meet’s leading stakes trainer with five wins, trained Bayakoas Image at Emerald Downs.
A pair of Washington-breds took honors in the juvenile ranks, with Cobra Jet (Curlin to Mischief-Atta Gal Val) the Top-2-Year-Old Male and Koron (Nationhood-Muchas Coronas) Top 2-Year-Old Filly.
Owned by REV Racing, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and trainer Frank Lucarelli, Cobra Jet compiled a 3-1-0 record in four starts including blowout victories in the King County Express and Washington Cup Juvenile Colt & Gelding.
Owned by Blue Ribbon Racing Ladies and trained by Cooper, Koron was 3 for 3 and swept the Barbara Shinpoch Stakes and Washington Cup Juvenile Fillies in convincing fashion.
Float On was voted Top Claimer, compiling a 4-1-2 record in eight starts while winning two races apiece for trainers Charles Essex and Candi Cryderman. A 3-year-old Bluegrass Cat gelding, Float On was one of six horses to win four races at the meet: Bella’s Back, Daffodil Sweet, Float On, Judicial, Mean Sharon, Queen Breezy.
Alex Cruz won a second consecutive riding title, edging out Julien Couton 75-74 for the crown while Juan Gutierrez finished a close third with 72 wins. Cruz also won Top Riding Achievement for his amazing Sept. 19 triumph without irons aboard 2-year-old filly Akasi, and the Lindy Award for accomplishment and sportsmanship as voted by the Emerald Downs’ jockeys.
Joe Toye won his first Emerald Downs’ training title by a 29-26 margin over seven-time champion Frank Lucarelli. Toye, who has trained at Emerald Downs since the track opened in 1996, also was voted Top Training Achievement for his season-long excellence and 23.5 win percentage.
For the fourth time in six years, John Parker of Lake Bay, Wash., was leading owner with 19 wins.
McKenna Anderson was the top apprentice rider with 12 victories, finishing the meet strongly after a 0 for 17 start.
Background’s dramatic victory with Rocco Bowen aboard in the $100,000 Longacres Mile (G3) was voted Race of the Meeting. Trained by Mike Puhich and owned by Bob and Molly Rondeau, the 4-year-old Khozan gelding tagged Windribbon in the final strides to capture the 86th running of the region’s most famous race.
Trainers Bob Bean and Bonnie Jenne received the Martin Durkan Award for leadership, cooperation, and sportsmanship throughout the meeting. Bean was a popular new addition to the training roster and won with 8 of 81 starters and was accompanied during morning workouts by canine sidekick Brownie.
Harbor the Gold was the leading stallion for the eighth straight year and 11th in the last 12, siring 22 winners to edge Abraaj (21) and Coast Guard (20) for the title.
Cm Once Ina Bluemoon captured the meet’s top event for Quarter Horses, scoring a $46.40 upset in the $48,994 Bank of America Emerald Downs Championship Challenge Stakes.
Emerald Downs 2021 Season Honors
Horse of the Meeting: Top Executive
Top Washington-bred : Papa’s Golden Boy
Top Older Horse: Papa’s Golden Boy
Top Sprinter: Papa’s Golden Boy
Top Older Filly or Mare: Daffodil Sweet
Top 3-Year-Old Male: Top Executive
Top 3-Year-Old Filly: Bayakoas Image
Top 2-Year-Old Male: Cobra Jet
Top 2-Year-Old Filly: Koron
Top Claimer: Float On
Race of Meeting: Longacres Mile
Leading Jockey Wins: Alex Cruz (75)
Leading Jockey Stakes Wins: Kevin Orozco (5)
Leading Trainer: Joe Toye (29)
Leading Trainer Stakes Wins: Kay Cooper (5)
Leading Owner: John Parker (19)
Leading Horse Wins: Bella’s Back (4), Daffodil Sweet (4), Float On (4), Judicial (4), Mean Sharon (4), Queen Breezy (4)
Leading Horse Stakes Wins: Top Executive (3)
Leading QH Trainer Wins: Jose Rosales Gomez (2)
Top Riding Achievement: Alex Cruz wins without irons on Akasi
Top Training Achievement: Joe Toye 1st title
Leading Apprentice: McKenna Anderson (12)
Durkan Award: Robert Bean, Bonnie Jenne
Lindy Award: Alex Cruz
Jockeys Valet of the Year: Dan Brock
Leading Sire Wins: Harbor the Gold (22)
Emerald Downs Horse of the Meeting
2021-Top Executive (KY)
2018-Sippin Fire (WA)
2017-Mach One Rules (WA)
2016-O B Harbor (ORE)
2015-Stryker Phd (WA)
2014-Stryker Phd (WA)
2013-Herbie D (BC)
2012-Class Included (KY)
2011-Noosa Beach (WA)
2010-Noosa Beach (WA)
2007-The Great Face (WA)
2005-No Giveaway (WA)
2004-Demon Warlock (WA)
2002-Flying Notes (KY)
2001-Makors Mark (WA)
1999-No Curfew (WA)
1998-Wild Wonder (KY)
1997-Kid Katabatic (BC)
1996-Name for Norm (WA)