Hey Emerald Downs fans sorry for the silent treatment for 2 weeks but the Eli Sports Network covers many things and we had a massive High School Fastpitch showcase the past week where we live streamed broadcast 40 games. Fortunately it came during a 2 week break from Stakes races so it fit nicely in our schedule.
But we are back and excited for Mile week. We have some stories coming out this week including a feature on the Lusk family, owners of Papa’s Golden Boy, likely Washington’s best chance at winning the Mile. We’ll chat with some of the riders and others leading up to the biggest race of the season next Sunday.
However, that does not mean the last 2 weeks have been forgotten so let’s get to some of the highlights over the past couple of weeks plus later this we hope to have another edition of the Betting Parlor and get all the standings updated for you.
Thursday, July 29
The 2nd choice in the wagering Lady Campbell wasted little time in establishing what she was going to do taking an early lead by 3 1/2 lengths and maintaining that lead to the stretch. Eddie Martinez had Lady Campbell well measured and no one could catch her as she finished more than a length in front of Please Me.
Please Me with Joree Scriver up closed from 5th place to get up by a head over Stay in Grace for the place money while Fortune’s Fruede completed the superfecta.
Lady Campbell covered the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.82 and collected nearly $9,500 for owners the Code Four Stable. Tom Wenzel was the winning trainer. Lady Campbell is a Kentucky bred by Dialed In out of Pat Hand by Cape Town and was bred by Mr & Mrs David Thorner.
Saturday, July 31
3-2 choice Missed the Boat did not disappoint his backers in this one with leading rider Alex Cruz aboard. Cruz sat ‘Boat in 2nd just off the front pace of Cody’s Choice with Joree Scriver aboard. Cody’s Choice carved out fractions in the mile run of 23.22 for the 1/4, 46.2 at the half and 1:10.31 for 6 furlongs but began to hit the wall.
Cruz unleashed Missed the Boat who cruised on by for an easy 4+ length victory. 3-1 Rate for Me with Juan Gutierrez got up for 2nd and 19-1 Cody’s Choice did well to hold on to 3rd. 13-1 Deep in Green finished 4th and the 10-cent superfecta with the top favorite winning and 2nd fav 2nd paid handsomely of more than $80 on the 10-cent wager.
Missed the Boat finished the mile in 1:36.79 and races for Lyle Conway. Kay Penney-Cooper won her 2nd race in a row with Missed the Boat as she took the 6th race with Suddenly Awesome. Missed the Boat is a Kentucky bred by Midshipman out of Cashmere Miss by Kokand and picked up a $5,775 check for his owners.
Sunday, August 1
Trainer Kay Penney-Cooper won her 2nd straight feature race this time with odds-on choice Nationheart. Jockey Javier Matias was head and head Bennyandthechicks for the 1st quarter but then shook off Benny for a commanding 4 length lead and just kept on going extending his lead to 5 and pulled away to a nearly 6 length win.
25-1 outsider Street Demand with Joree Scriver ran on well to be 2nd with A Gem of a Gem finishing 3rd with Jose Zunino while wrapping up the superfecta was Bloodhorse Bud.
Nationheart ran the 6-furlongs in 1:10.70 and paid $2.80 to win. Nationheart is owned by Poseidon Partners and collected $9,000 for the win. Nationheart is a Washington bred by Nationhood out of Brown by Demon’s Begone and bred by Mr and Mrs Frederick Pabst.
Thursday, August 5th
A field of 7 3-year-olds and up went 6 1/2 furlongs and journeyman jockey Jose Zunino capped off his best day of the season winning his 3rd of just 7 races on the card. Zunino sat his ride Baltimore Beecho just behind 3-5 odds on choice Buckley Bay with Alex Cruz in 3rd place while 20-1 longshot Roman Rush went to the lead. Zunino let Beecho settle in the 2nd quarter trailing the front 2 by 2 1/2 lengths but at the quarter pole Zunino asked and Baltimore Beecho delivefred and pushed his head in front at the top of the stretch as he and Buckley Bay threw down for the entire length of the stretch. Beecho would not give in and prevailed by a slim nose over the heavy favorite Buckley Bay in a winning time of 1:17.67.
Roman Rush faded as he approached the top of the stretch while Lolly Express closed well to be 3rd by a head over Licorice Pop Drops. Jockey Juan Gutierrez was injured when he was unseated off his ride Diction in the race. Gutierrez ended up injured and did not ride the rest of the week.
Baltimore Beecho went off at 6-1 and paid $15.40 to win and was part of a $13,000 Jackpot Pick 6 winning ticket. Beecho is owned by Brent Stapley and trained by Ken Person and collected nearly a 6k paycheck. He’s a 4-year-old Cal bred b y Governor Charlie and out of Elusive Beauty by Any Given Saturday and bred by Victor Flores.
Saturday, August 7
A solid field of 7 went to the gates for the Saturday night feature with many chances in this one but it was 2nd choice in the betting Lolo Paniolo getting the job done with substitute rider Edgar Velasco getting the call aboard the Tim McCanna trained Kentucky bred when Juan Gutierrez took off all his mounts due to a fall the night before. Velasco settled Lolo in 3rd out of the gate of the 6 1/2 furlong dash while Wine at Nine with Javier Matias went to the front Grinder Sparksaglo was 2nd early on but faded to last.
The betting choice Swamp Souffle was 2nd last and last and never showed interest in this race and was a non-factor. Meanwhile Lolo Paniolo was patient sitting behind a wall of 3 in 4th along the inside and made up ground but found himself behind Wine at Nine and angled out into the middle of the stretch and was too much for Wine at Nine to deny winning by a little over a length. Wine at Nine showed good courage to be clearly 2nd and The Press closed late to get 3rd by a neck with Jennifer Whitaker aboard while Wilson to Lockett was also closing late with Eddie Martinez aboard to complete the superfecta.
Lolo Paniolo races for Al Hodge, Daniel Dapper and Tim McCanna and earned the group $8,250 for the win. Lolo cover the 6 1/2 in a time of 1:16.69 and returned $6.20 for the $2 win.
Sunday, August 8
Jose Zunino had his best day of the year on Thursday winning 3 times and finished the week taking the Sunday feature race aboard betting choice Slew’s Tiz Whiz. Zunino rode a patient race allowing the early speed, 2nd favorite Juspassinthru to set the fractions of the 1-mile race. Juspassinthru went 45.63 for the half with a 3 1/2 length lead but then shortly thereafter hit the wall and ended up last. American Budha inherited the lead with Eddie Martinez on board to the top of the stretch when Zunino let go the brakes and engaged putting his head in front. From then on Slew did the rest pulling away to an easy 3 length win.
American Budha showed good heart battling with Ididntseethatcomin for 2nd and prevailing by a head while Gordon Anthony finished 4th. Slew’s Tiz Whiz paid $5.80 on the $2 win and earned his owners a healthy $11,500 paycheck. The 3-year-old Washington bred is owned by K D Thoroughbreds and trained by Tom Wenzel. Slew’s Tiz Whiz by Slew’s Tiznoiw out of Ros’s Girl by Rosberg and was bred by Karl Krieg.
Apprentice jockey McKenna Anderson picked up her first career win on Saturday, August 7 in the 6th race. McKenna began her riding career here at Emerald on June 23rd riding Laker Jet for owner trainer Robert Bean. At 56-1 she finished last in the 6 horse field. It would be another 14 races of also rans, not even getting on the board before she finished 3rd on 78-1 shot Cards N Coffee for trainer Scott Freeman. Her next ride was another 3rd place finish aboard Gabby Tom at 33-1 for trainer Jason Homer. Then came Saturday night and she got the call from trainer Dione Asmussen to ride 19-1 shot Tippytap On Sand.
McKenna held Tippy on the rail sitting behind the front speed and favorite Finished My P H D. As they turned for home Finished My P H D drifted off the rail to mid stretch and McKenna asked Tippy and 5-year-old mare responded and pulled away right up the rail for a 2 1/4 length win. She rewarded her backers with a $40.40 return on their $2 win. One of those backers was her Mom who had placed what looks like a $20 win bet as she is seen below holding her pay-off.
McKenna wasn’t done for the week as she picked up her 2nd career win on Sunday the next day aboard Court Alexei for trainer Joe Toye. McKenna went right to the front with the betting favorite and never looked back. She would give Count Alexei a 4 length lead at the top of the stretch and win by nearly 2 lengths.
As an apprentice you get a 5-pound weight break over your experienced competitors to try and even out the playing field so to speak. On Tippytap she did get her break from 123 to 118 but there were several other horses in the race that were 3-yeart-olds going against older and they get a 6 pound break so although she did get the weight break there were others including the favorite Finished My P H D that carried a pound less at 117. In her 2nd win she did not get a weight break because she was named to ride after Juan Gutierrez had to take off his rides so there is no weight allowance allowed after the initial rider is named. Basically, McKenna won both of her races without the the true benefit of the bug.
After 15 races of finishes no better than 5th McKenna Anderson is 2-0-2 in her last 4 starts and to gain the confidence of leading trainer Joe Toye to put her on a very live mount could open the door to a lot more success. It will be fun to watch McKenna’s progress for the rest of the season.
Oh and yes, by the way the other jockey’s were ready to celebrate. It is a long time tradition to get doused by buckets of water after winning your 1st race as a jockey. Emerald Downs publicity director Joe Withee caught all hi-jinx from Saturday night.
McKenna gets Splashed!
Couton reaches a career Milestone!
2nd leading rider Julien Couton kept within range of Cruz winning 8 times over the past 6 days however, Couton went through a bit of a dry spell winning only twice for the first 4 days of the 6 day run but finishing strong and filled with momentum going into Mile week with 3 wins on both this past Saturday and Sunday and reaching a significant career milestone of 1,000 career victories.
Couton’s big ride came in the 6th race this past Saturday when he got legged up on betting favorite Anatolia for trainer Frank Lucarelli and owner Peter Redekop. Couton broke 4th and sat about 3 lengths behind frontrunner Curious Sensation with Eddie Martinez. Couton held firm and then closed to within a length in 2nd place at the top of the stretch and the two engaged in a head and head battle to the wire where Couton got Anatolia’s nose down perfectly for his 1,000th win.
On Saturday Couton opened up with a win in the 1st race aboard Iron Rob by nearly 12 lengths which isn’t a surprise as the 1-5 betting choice. Iron Rob is in the Ari Herbertson barn and owned by Scott Herbertson. Couton completed the first daily double by cruising to a 4 length win on 2-5 favorite Thunder Music who is trained by Steve Bullock and owned by Gold Coast Racing. The 1-5 to the 2-5 daily double returned $2 or a 1-1 return on the double. Couton would then take the finale aboard Don’t Run It who was 3-5. Don’t Rub It is trained by Jorge Rosales and owned by Hillary Durham.
Couton began Sunday with another easy win a 10+ length victory aboard Candy Zip for owner/trainer Robert Bean. Couton finished the week and 6 day run with a flourish blazing to a 12 length win in Sunday’s 9th race on Grey Point for his 1,001 career win. Grey Point led every step of the way for trainer Jeff Metz and owners Saratoga West and Letha and Steve Haahr.
Leading Jockey Alex Cruz has begun a new consecutive win streak and is up to 7 days while picking up 12 wins over the past 6 race days. Cruz had put together a win streak of 44 consecutive race days dating back to the 2020 season of Emerald Downs of winning at least 1 race each day. The streak was snapped on July 18th and he didn’t win on the 24thy but since has reeled off 7 days in a row.
During the last 6 days Cruz tripled twice and doubled twice. On Saturday, July 31 he took the 3rd race on Jacana by 7 1/2 lengths for trainer Jose Navvaro and owners the Oak Crest Farm. Then showing he can win in a head bob wing the 4th by a head on Party For One. Rigoberto Velasquez trains and the owners are Rancho Viejo and Lisa Baze. Cruz finished winning the feature on Missed the Boat by nearly 5 lengths. Kay Penney-Cooper is the trainer and owned by Lyle Conway.
Cruz’s 2nd triple was this past Sunday sweeping a pick 3 winning the 3rd, 4th and 5th races. Cruz destroyed a maiden 2-year-old race with 1st time starter Check the Gear winning by nearly 12 lengths. The 3rd race winner is owned by the One Horse Will Do Corp and Chris Stenslie and trained by Stenslie. Cruz’s 2nd leg of the pick 3 was aboard Skeemin and Dreamin winning by nearly 10 lengths on this one for trainer Sharon Ross and owners Todd and Shawn Hansen. His 3rd straight win was Omache Kid holding on by a neck for trainer Joe Toye and owners Greg and Chuck Conley and Terra Firma Farm. None of these were the betting favorites and the all-Cruz pick 3 returned $41.05.
Juan Gutierrez had a good run going until he was injured and missed last weeke3nd but still finished with 6 wins. Half of those win came on Sunday, August 1st. He began with a win in the 3rd race, which was the 1st thoroughbred race of the day as 2 quarter horse races began the card (more below). Guti cruised to a 6 1/2 length win aboard 6-5 fav Enchanting Way for Rigoberto Velasquez and owners Lisa Baze, Luis Torres and Rancho Viejo. Gutierrez completed the early daily double with a 7 1/2 length win aboard Double Perfection for trainer Vince Gibson and owner Jeff Cissell. Gutierrez then held off 7-1 Truth to Power with Leslie Mawing up in the 6th with 3-5 choice Frank’s Fix It to win by less than a length for condition Candi Cryderman and owner John Parker. We mention 2nd place here as the two squared off were 21 lengths in front of the rest of the pack.
Javier Matias gets overlooked many times but he is such a steady rider he just does his work quietly and before you know it he’s a top 5 rider consistently. Matias picked up 6 wins over the past 6 days with a double on July 29th and 1 each day after that except this past Sunday. is double win on July 29 were Whidbey Prince in the 4th just getting up in time to catch the front speed by a head for trainer Frank Lucarelli and owner Mutiny Bay Backstretch. He then took the final race on Shady Retreat as the 2-5 odds on choice. Shady Retreat races for Malnati, Jeff Harwood and the Shady Valley Ranch and trained by Doris Harwood. Matias also won the feature race on aboard Nationheart on Sunday, August 1 see story above full more details.
Jose Zunino has been an Emerald Downs stalwart for years known for more recently as a guy who brings in a longshot and can win on a variety of different running styles. But Thursday, August 5 was Zunino’s best day of the season winning 3 of the 7 races on the card. He began by taking the opener aboard Cover Two, an easy win of nearly 4 lengths as the 2-1 2nd choice. Zunino then completed the early double with 6-1 Proud Lion for trainer Howard Belvoir. Proud Lion battled the length of the stretch to win by a head. Proud Lion is owned by Belvoir and Rhonda and Randi Ackerman. Zunino finished off his 3 win day by taking the feature race aboard Baltimore Beecho, more on that race above.
Ryan Barber has been here since ab out the 3rd week of the season and has struggled to get things going but did so over the past 6 days with 3 wins. Barber won a pair on the 29th guiding Run Cornell Run to a 3 length win for trainer Steve Bullock and the How We Roll Stable. Barber then took the 5th race aboard Melchior for Roslaes Racing and trainer Jorge Rosales. Barber also won the finale on Saturday, July 31 aboard Iknowyourface winning by 2 1/2 at 8-1 for trainer Michael Bullene and owner Richard Degraw.
Edgar Velasco picked up his 1st two wins since arriving at Emerald Downs in mid-July. Velasco won the 7th on August 1st with Little John at 6-1 for owner/trainer Sergio Perez and the feature race on Saturday, August 7 aboard Lolo Paniolo. More on that race is above in the feature race re-caps.
Juan Gutierrez, we reached out to Guti and said he took off last Saturday and Sunday more as a precaution than anything. He had suffered some body soreness after hitting the ground on Thursday evening. The break was to give his body a little break and to be sure he was ready to go especially with the Mile and Distaff this coming Sunday where he could be on the favorite in both races with his ride in the Mile on Anyportinastorm and Daffodil Sweet in the Distaff.
Alex Anaya was injured during a training session coming out of the gate. He suffered a shoulder injury and has been out for the past 2 weeks. Anya has been having a very solid season at Emerald prior to the accident. Currently he is 8th in the jockey standings both in wins and in purses with a record of 12-23-19 from 118 starts. Anaya is named to ride on Thursday and looks to be back ready to go.
Kevin Radke was having a very good return to racing after several years being out of the game on a full time basis. Radke was 16-18-17 winning at 13% and in the money at 41% and 5th in the jockey standings in wins, 6th in purses but his season has come to an end. Radke is an all-around handyman and the report we got was he broke his arm doing some tree limbing or falling work at his home when the accident occurred. Radke is out for the rest of the season.
Franklin Ceballos broke his collarbone in an accident earlier this season. Franklin remains sidelined as he continues to heal. No word at this time on time-line and whether or not there is a chance for him to return this season.
During this non-stakes run the quarter horses made their first appearance at Emerald Downs for 2021 as they prepare for 2 stakes races on August 22nd, the $40,000 Bank of America Challenge and the $30,000 John Deere Challenge. There were two races on August 1 and ran as the 1st and 2nd races of the 10 race card.
In the 1st race a field of 6 dashed 350 yards. The 1-1 favorite Apolinaria Prize held on for a neck victory over Empowered to Prosper. Cesar Moreno rode the winner for trainer Jose Rosales-Gomez and owner Juan Mauel Marquez. Nakia Ramierez rode the 2nd place finisher while Uncle Shine placed 3rd with Luyis Gonzalez anbd Sonoras Death Row with Jaime Lopez completed the superfecta.
In the 2nd race 6 more would run 350 yards and the winner popped out of the 1 hole and pulled away to a 1 1/2 length win was Leaving Angelz with Jaime Lopez. Hector Magallanes was the winning trainer and the owner Ruben Magallanes. Eagle Assault with Nakia Ramirez was 2nd, Moreno rode Riddle to 3rd and Cm Rosie at the Bar with Luis Gonzalez was 4th.