(Auburn, WA) Week 16 had another pair of big Stakes races with the Washington Oaks for 3-year-old fillies with a field of a well matched field of 10 on the cards 6th race. The 8th race was the 84th edition of the Derby for 3-year-olds and now is the Muckleshoot Derby. Those stories and the rest of the week re-cap are below.
Breaking News: Junior Coffey Passes Away
79-year-old Junior Coffey passed away on Monday from congestive heart failure. His wife Kathy Coffey made the announcement and said he passed away at St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way. Coffey is a celebrated athlete who turned horse trainer after his football career had finished. He began training horses in the mid-70’s at Longacres and last trained at Emerald Downs in 2018. Emerald Downs Media Director Vince Bruun has a full story on Junior Coffey here. Services have not yet been announced.
Washington Oaks Invader Bayakoas Image Dominates
Canadian invader Bayakoas Image showed why owners Nite and Day Stable and Joanne Todd had the confidence to ship down from Hastings home track to take on the Emerald Downs faithful. They were so certain that even regular rider Alexander Marti made the trip down for his first ride ever in the United States. Bayakoa’s Image was sent off as the 2nd favorite at 5-2 to Broad Approval with Leslie Mawing at 2-1.
17-1 Curious Sensation with Eddie Martinez had the quick early lead for the 1 1/16 race by 2 lengths while Marti settled B-I into 2nd. Early on Stellaczar and Street Shadow ran 3rd and 4th with La Una sitting 6th. La Una and Stella czar would end up in a deadheat for 7th and Street Shadow would fade to last. Meantime closers Ms Lynn at 16-1 with Julien Couton, Broad Approval and 3rd favorite at 5-2 Blazingbellablu with Alex Cruz would sit 6th thru 8th biding their time with Our Lyla Grace breaking 9th and Aquinas was last and would finish 9th.
Curious Sensation set quick fractions of 23.56 and 48.02 which set the table for Bayakoa’s Image who swept past the front runner like she was standing still and drew off to a 5 length lead at the quarter pole. We talked with Marti after the race (interview below) and he said when he asked her it was like she was just breaking from the gates. B-I ultimately won by 5 1/2 but had Marti kept on pushing she may have won by 10 as he cruised to the line without any pressure.
Broad Approval made a nice run and was clearly 2nd but didn’t get quite the scenario to be able to run down B-I, Broad Approval also coming from Hastings for the North American Thoroughbred Horse Company. Ms Lynn owned by Emerald Downs Security Guard Ronald Bohlman finished 3rd with a strong ride from Julien Couton who is the leading jockey in Stakes wins. Blazingbellablu was head bobbed out of 3rd and completed the superfecta.
Bayakoas Image is trained by Kevin O’Connell in Canada but couldn’t make the trip so they went to the hottest trainer on the track Kay Cooper to see if she would handle B-I in Washington. Cooper was coming off winning both 2-year-old stakes races last Sunday becoming only the 9th trainer in Emerald Downs history to win 2 stakes in a day. With the Oaks win Cooper has won 3 stakes in a row.
Bayakoa’s Image is a BC bred by Lent, out of Tempered Steel by Tempered Appeal and was bred by Nite and Day Stable. B-I ran the 1 1/16th in 1:42.24 and collected $27,500 to her career earnings to just shy of $72,000. Bayakoas Image is now 4-2-0 from 7 lifetime starts. Broad Approval picked up her 2nd $10,000 runner-up stakes check at Emerald to push her earnings to nearly $30,000. Broad Approval ran 2nd in the Kent Stakes on July 25th. Ms Lynn, won the Seattle Stakes, took 3rd in the Kent then tried a tough field in the Distaff just 2 weeks ago collected 6k and has a bankroll of more than $65,000.
Bayakoas Image paid $14.20 on the $2 combo and with 16-1 Ms Lynn in the trifecta that paid $42.00 on the 50-cent bet.
Alexander Marti on his win with Bayakoas Image
Muckleshoot Derby Top Executive is Tops again winning the 84th Derby
Jockey Kevin Orozco says he’s never been on such a tenacious horse. “He just wont give up and once he’s on the lead he just won’t let them by.” Top Executive went off as the 9-5 favorite the first time in his 8 race career he was bet down to favoritism, despite winning his 5th career race and 4th stakes race.
Top Executive broke his maiden with a nose win in the King County Express stakes in 2020 at 13-1 with Eddie Martinez aboard. Orozco got on him at Golden Gate in April of this year and won an allowance/optional 50k claimer at 35-1 by a length and half. Trainer Blaine Wright then tested him on the turf at Golden Gate and he did not care for it finishing 8th. He was off until the Auburn Stakes here at Emerald where he held off Big Duke to win by 3/4 of a length. He wheeled back in the Irish Day stakes to win again by 1 1/2 over Bobby Brinkley.
In the Derby Top Exec would face Bobby Brinkley for the 2nd time for trainer Frank Lucarelli and was the second favorite at 5-2 and the speedy Coastal Kid from the Jeff Metz barn with newcomer Wayne Barnett aboard. Barnett rides regularly and works horses for Metz in Southern California.
This would ultimately be a match race between Top Executive and Coastal Kid. Coastal Kid broke first in the 1 1/16 mile test and took a 1 1/2 length lead and laid down some sizzling fractions going the 1/4 in 22.50 and the half in 45.58 for the half. Top Executive sat just behind as Orozco had to take hold of him early as his natural instinct is to get to the front. Orozco said he also had some pressure from Kowboykabin who eased back a bit going around the 1st turn allowing Orozco to settle Top Exec and trailed Coastal Kid by as much as 2 lengths at the half mile.
As the pair threw down around the turn they soon had as much as an 8 length lead and Top Executive would put his head in front for the first time at the top of the stretch and the 2 would go hammer and tongs all the way down the stretch with Top Executive simply willing himself to stay in front and Coastal Kid would have to settle for 2nd. Even though he only lost by a head it felt like the 2 could have gone around the track another lap and Top Executive would not have relented.
13-1 Slew’s Tiz Whiz ran a big race and closed strongly to be the clear 3rd just 1 1/2 back of the winning pair and it appeared he may have had some traffic issues but jockey Jose Zunino had him flying in the end. 34-1 House of Lords with Javier Matias also closed from far back to pick up the 4th place check.
Top Executive stopped the clock in a time of 1:42.25 and is a Kentucky bred by Street Boss out of Severn Shore by Pure Prize and was bred by Frankfort Park Farm. Top Exec is owned by John and Janene Maryanski and Riverbend Stable and trained by Blaine Wright. With the win Orozco now ties Julien Couton for the lead in stakes wins with 4 each and literally is one stride away from leading with 5 stakes wins when he got caught right on the wire aboard Winribbon, by Background. Top Executive collected $27,500 for his work in the Derby and now has a bankroll of more than $125,000. His career record is now 5-0-0 from 8 starts or a 63% win rate.
Coastal Kid earned $10,000 to push his career earnings to more than $65,000 and is now 1-4-3 from 12 career starts.
Top Executive paid $5.80 as the 9-5 favorite and coupled with C-K and the 2 longshots the 10-cent superfecta was good for $73.49.
Kevin Orozco talks about his win on Top Executive in the 84th Derby
The Rest of Sunday
Rocco Bowen was back in the Northwest to ride the day with a Stakes ride. It was just 2 weeks ago that Bowen returned to the Auburn oval where he is the only rider to have ever won 3 straight riding titles but won his first ever Longacres Mile aboard Background. Bowen fell short in the Derby against 18-1 Nationheart for trainer Kay Cooper. Cooper was shooting for her 4th straight stakes race with Nationheart but after sitting in 4th for most of the 1 1/16 Derby he faded to 8th.
That doesn’t mean it was a failure for Bowen, far from it as he led all riders for the day with 3 wins. Bowen rode 9 of the 10 races on the card only missing the Oaks. He found the Winners Circle the 1st time in the 4th race on Scott Freeman’s Prince of Luck at a nice 6-1. Apprentice McKenna Anderson was forced into a decision as she last rode Prince of Luck and finished 3rd at 30-1 but she also just won easily for Joe Toye on Count Alexei so she stuck with Alexei who went off as the favorite but Bowen got the better of her by a neck.
Rocco would then be on the favorite in the 5th, Chris the Beaver at 7-5 and prevailed by just a head over 2nd choice More Honor with Juan Gutierrez. Bowen finished off his wins with Take Charge Deputy for owner/trainer Jorge Rosales at 3-2.
Juan Gutierrez did get things started in the 1st for his only win of the day with Reddish holding off Sweetwater Clyde and Julien Couton by a neck at 3-1. Reddish is trained by Joe Toye and tallied his only win of the week but remains atop the trainer standings with 23 wins.
Leslie Mawing finished his best week since arriving from Canterbury earlier this summer with a total of 6 wins. 3 on Thursday, 2 on Saturday and 1 on Sunday in the 2nd aboard odds on choice In the Vault for trainer Frank Lucarelli. Leading rider Alex Cruz kept his slim 1-win lead over Couton bringing in 6-1 shot Jacana from off the pace over taking the favorite Oreo’s Dream for Jose Navvaro.
Couton stayed right off the flank of Cruz getting his lone win in the 9th with outsider Crest Drive at 10-1 for Jeff Metz. Couton and Crest Drive stalked 2nd favorite Pure Pursuit with Gutierrez up to win by 3/4 of a length. And in the finale, Alex Anaya won on Appointed Star for trainer Sylvia McCready which was her first career win and she did it in her first career start. The public was on her side as they made Appointed Star the 2-1 betting choice.
It was also a break-through for Anaya who doesn’t get a lot of favorites but is always grinding away and got his only win in the final race of the week. On top of that had to withstand an Inquiry where it looked that he may have come down on 2nd place finisher Living Legend but the stewards ruled there was not interference and let the results and his only win of the week along with McCready’s first ever win stand. Anaya finished the week with 1-3-3 and 4 4ths from 17 rides.
There were also a pair of old-timers back on the track. Doctor Bruce S., the 12-year-old, finished 3rd in the 5th race with Jose Zunino aboard at 8-1. The Doctor has now run 79 races in his lifetime all at Emerald Downs and all for owner Big Bill and Company #1 and trainer Jose Navvaro. He’s 11-20-13 or 57% in the money lifetime and now earned about $103,000 for his career.
Then in the 9th race 11-year-old Mike Man’s Gold tried to add to his Emerald Downs record 26 career wins and Rocco Bowen took the ride for Joe Toye. The public believed in Mike but he ran into a couple of tough front runners and could only get up to 4th place. His career mark is 26-8-8 from 80 starts, that’s a win rate of 33%. He has earned $378,000 for his career.
Saturday Night Feature: “Stand To”, Stands Tall
A field of 7 broke from the EmD gates Saturday night in the 6th race feature as the betting public struggle to find a favorite. Forty Smooches would end up the choice at 5-2 but American Buddha and Stand To were both 3-1, Franks Fix It 4-1 and Time ‘n Time Again 9-2. The 2 outsiders were Long Lance at 15-1 and 27-1 Lochness.
Julien Couton was aboard Stand To and broke alertly in the 6-furlong sprint to take a 2 length lead while setting a 1/4 fraction in 21.94. Franks Fix It with Juan Gutierrez was 2nd early followed by Lochness, Forty Smooches, American Buddha and Long Lance last.
They were well bunched behind Stand To but Couton controlled the pace and led by 3 turning into the stretch and it looked like Franks Fix It might start to reel him in but Stand To had too much in the tank and pulled away to a 3 1/2 length victory. Franks Fix It held 2nd, Time “n Time Again with Alex Cruz closed late for 3rd and Long Lance grabbed 4th with Javier Matias up.
Stand To is a Washington bred by Harbor the Gold and out of I’m Shootin High by Son’s Corona and was bred by John Sneesby. Sneesby is also the owner and Stand To is trained by Rigoberto Velasquez. Stand To collected $11,495 pushing his total to more than $52,000 and is now 3-1-4 from 11 career starts.
Stand To paid $8.40 on the $2 win and combined with Franks Fix It paid $21 on the exacta.
The Rest of Saturday
7 races were on the card Saturday night and Leslie Mawing followed up his first triple win day of the season on Thursday with 2 more wins. By the time Mawing was finished Saturday night he had won 35% of the races for the week at that time. He got things going in the 2nd race making the public happy getting the odds on choice Gold Rose at 3-5 to win by a nose over Sky’s the Limit with Matias up. Gold Rose also gave trainer Alan Bozell his 4th win of the year.
Mawing would complete his own daily double aboard 8-1 outsider Larsen Bay for owner/trainer Howard Belvoir. Larsen Bay fooled them in the $2 win with a nice $19 return but the public was wise to the Mawing Double which returned only $9 on the dollar double. Julien Couton and Juan Gutierrez both won 2 each Saturday night. Gutierrez got things going in the 1st winning on 4-1 City Steel for trainer Charles Essex knocking off the 2-5 heavy favorite Master Recovery by a nose denying Couton what would have been his 3rd win of the night. Gutierrez next took the 5th aboard You Go Girl as the 2-1 2nd choice going start to finish on the engine pulling away for an easy 3 length win for trainer Steve Bullock.
Couton won the 4th on outsider Iowa Kid at 8-1 from the barn of Robert Bean. It was another front-running victory and Iowa Kid was never seriously challenged winning by more than 3 lengths. Couton the won the feature on Stand To turning the tables on Guti in that race. (story above) Leading rider Alex Cruz wrapped up the night winning the finale on 4-5 favorite Sparkling Lute. Cruz quickly drew off to a big lead and never looked back winning by 7. Trainer Rosie Simkins got her 3rd win of the season with Sparkling Lute.
Thursday Night Feature: “Spittin Image” digs in prevails in a driving finish
Leading rider Alex Cruz took the opening week feature race on Spittin Image in a terrific battle with Oh Marvelous Me with apprentice McKenna Anderson aboard. All eyes were on local favorite and odds on 1-2 favorite in the race Papa’s Golden Boy who was turning around to run in this allowance 1-mile in less than 2 weeks from a very demanding Longacres Mile effort where he finished 4th.
Trainer Vince Gibson and jockey Julien Couton had talked about trying to get Papa to slow down a little bit and when they broke from the gate it would be Spittin Image on the pace with Papa settling into 2nd. They were out by 1 1/2 lengths over Oh Marvelous Me followed by Big Endeavor, Forest Fire who also ran in the Mile and Swamp Souffle trailed early with Alex Anaya up.
Spittin Image led through the half mile settings fractions of 23.69 and 46.49 but was just a head in front of an imposing Papa’s Golden Boy. If this strategy was correct this is where Papa would excelerate and put distance on the challengers and indeed looked to have taken a slight lead but then Oh Marvelous Me began to move and the 8 pound weight advantage over both Spittin Image and Papa could play a big role.
Then between the half mile pole and the 3/4’s pole 2 things happened, first Papa’s Golden Boy began to back out and would ultimately finish 4th 7 lengths behind and second, Oh Marvelous Me took the lead by a head for the last 4 furlongs Marv and Spittin would not be separated by more than a neck and Spittin Image showed some tremendous grit in grinding out the neck win over the old pro. Swamp Souffle picked up the pieces and was closing fast but came up a 1 1/2 short of making it a 3-way photo finish.
Spittin Image is a Washington bred by Harbor the Gold and out of Flying Memo by Memo and was bred by Bret Christopherson. Spittin Image stopped the clock at 1:37.02 and collected $13,613 for winning owners the One Horse Will Do Corp and Chris Stenslie, Stenslie is also the trainer. Spittin Image is now 4-3-3 from 12 lifetime starts and has a career earnings of just short of $68,000. Oh Marvelous Me picked $4,995 and is about $2,500 short of 250k in career earnings. 9-year-old Marv is 11-9-11 from 45 career starts and is still looking for his 1st win this season at Emerald.
The Rest of Thursday
Jockey Leslie Mawing arrived here at Emerald Downs in late July and entering the week had just 5 wins. Week 16 was his week as he won 6 total and got it started on Thursday with a triple. Mawing took the 2nd race on 6-1 Boss Nine for Frank Lucarelli coming from just off the pace for a 3/4 win over 3-2 favorite Golden Ale. Mawing strung together a daily double winning the 3rd on 6-5 Northwest Rain for red-hot Kay Cooper. The Mawing $1 double paid $17.60. Mawing and Cooper would team up again in the 5th race and final leg of the 2nd pick 4 when 10-1 outsider Fortune’s Freude came rolling late to tag Queen Breezy at the wire by a neck for the win. Mawing was good for 75% of the 50-cent pick 4 that returned $406.
The other winners included Julien Couton taking the 1st on 2nd fav Gordy’s Rules in a front running victory blitzing the field by 6 1/2 lengths and comes from the Tim McCanna barn winning his 12th from 30 starts at an amazing 40% clip. Juan Gutierrez blew away the 4th race challengers with a 6 3/4 length win on 7-5 favorite Fantastic Day for Jorge Rosales. And Eddie Martinez scored his lone victory of the week in the Thursday night finale on Grazen Valor the 5-2 favorite for trainer Frank Lucarelli who doubled on Thursday.
Jockeys and Trainers
Leslie Mawing led the charge in week 16 with 6 wins and added 2 places and a show. Juan Gutierrez and Julien Couton each had 4 wins and leading rider Alex Cruz visited the WC 3 times. The top of the jockey standings are tight with Cruz leading Couton by 1 and Gutierrez is just 7 back. The jockey title looks like it will likely come down to closing day with just 9 racing days left to go.
The battle for a top 5 finish is also on with Javier Matias holding the 4th spot with 22 wins, Jose Zunino is 5th with 20. Eddie Martinez and Alex Anaya both looking to surge in the final days to push their way into the top 5.
In other Jockey notes, Jennifer Whitaker was missing this week as she serves a 5 day suspension. Ryan Barber has left the Emerald colony, we’re not sure where he is off to but he struggled to get in a groove here where he finished with a 5-6-9 mark from 51 mounts. Wayne Barnett who rides and works horses for Jeff Metz in southern California came up to ride on Sunday and finished with a 2nd and a 3rd. He was 2nd in the Muckleshoot Derby aboard Coastal Kid and was headed out by Top Executive. Top Executive was ridden by former regular Emerald Downs rider Kevin Orozco who after talking with ESN after his win in the Derby left the door open to returning fulltime to the Northwest in 2022.
Three trainers had more than 1 win this past week with Kay Cooper and Frank Lucarelli. Cooper of course won the Oaks with Bayakoas Image but also won a pair on Thursday with Northwest Rain in the 3rd and Fortune’s Fruede in the 5th. Lucarelli won on Thursday with Boss Nine in the 2nd and Grazen Valor in the 7th and his 3rd win was on Sunday when In the Vault trounced the field in the 2nd. The other multiple winner was Jorge Rosales who also has turned around a slow start with a pair of wins also skipping Saturday with a win in the 4th on Thursday with Fantastic Day and on Sunday in the 7th with Take Charge Deputy.
Joe Toye continues to lead the trainer standings with 23, Lucarelli is right behind with 21. Kay Cooper has rallied from far back to move into 3rd place with 16. Rigoberto Velasquez and Ari Herbertson are tied for 4th with 15 wins while Vince Gibson, Candi Cryderman and Jorge Rosales are all tied for 6th with 14 wins.