The 2021 season came to an end on Sunday and was highlighted by the 3 Stakes races the Muckleshoot Tribal Classic, the Washington Cup for fillies and mares and the prestigious Gottstein Futurity. In this post we will cover just the Stakes races and over the next week or so we will have our coverage of the jockey, trainer and owner championships plus other features including an apprentice jockey her found her groove, two longtime trainers saying this is it for them and heading to retirement and post season honors and a re-cap of the betting side of the sport. Let’s get started though with the final 3 Stakes races of 2021.
The $80,000 Gottstein for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 sent 9 postward. Trainer Frank Lucarelli had 5 of the 9 entries including betting favorite Boss Nine along with Big Paper Daddy, Sargent Kline, Hickory Wind and Danny Zuko with only Big Paper Daddy hitting the board in 3rd with Juan Gutierrez. The favorite Boss Nine never got hold of the track and ran a dull 8th place finish.
Diamond Willow with jockey Alex Cruz would break 1st in the 1 1/16 run right along with Big Paper Daddy and Irish Knight with Alex Anaya aboard, the 3 would be heads apart heading into the 1st turn. Diamond Willow would eventually ease ahead by a length as they ran down the backstretch chased by Big Paper Daddy, Hickory Wind and Irish Knight. The rest followed with Ghostfinder 5th, Sargent Kline, Boss Nine, Midnight Mojo and Danny Zuko. As they approached the far turn the complexion of the race began to change as Midnight Mojo began to move up on the outside from 8th to 5th about 3 lengths behind as Cruz and Gutierrez continued their hammer and tongs front end battle with Diamond Willow holding on to a head lead over Big Paper Daddy.
On the turn Eddie Martinez on Midnight Mojo had clear sailing on the outside and made a stunning move to catch and pass the front runners and had pulled out to a 1/2 length lead at the top of the stretch. With plenty of momentum Martinez and the “Mojo” just continued to edge away and would win with 1 1/2 lengths to spare. The rest of the field fell apart other than a pretty hearty run from Diamond Willow who turned everyone away except Mojo to finish 2nd 6 lengths in front of the rest, Big Paper Daddy held 3rd another 4 1/2 in front of 4th place finisher Irish Knight. Sargent Kline, Hickory Wind, Danny Zuko, Boss Nine and Ghostfinder would finish the race in that order.
Eddie Martinez won his 2nd Stakes of the meet also winning the Angie C on Slack Tide. Trainer Tom Wenzel and longtime owner George Todaro both goth their 1st Stakes of the season. Midnight Mojo ran the 1 1/16 in 1:46.18 and collected $44,000 the 2nd largest winners purse of the season only trialing the Longacres Mile. Midnight Mojo is a Kentucky bred by Midnight Lute and out of Slant of Light by Broken Vow. It was Midnight Mojo’s 1st career win and is now 1-0-1 from 4 starts running up his bankroll to just shy of $49,000.
He had the bettors fooled as well rewarding his followers with a nearly 9-1 pay-off of $19.60 for the $2 win and $32.20 for the $6 combo. He and Diamond Willow paid a nice 48-1 exacta and the 50-cent trifecta returned $114 while the $1 superfecta was good for more than $1,600.
Stretch Run of the Gottstein
Eddie Martinez on his winning ride aboard Midnight Mojo
Washington Cup for Fillies and Mares
$50,000 was on the line in this field of 7 going 1 1/16. Canadian invader Bayakoa’s Image was the overwhelming favorite at 2-5 having already stolen one big stakes race winning the Washington Oaks on Muckleshoot Derby day. On that day the public let her go at 5-2 but they were not going to get fooled again. The bettors were correct in their belief it was Bayakoa’s race to lose but how she won surprised many with 17-1 Brilliant Bird leading for 6 furlongs of the 1 1/16 race and then never getting further behind than a neck at the finish line. Jockey Alex Marti had to get everything he could out of Bayakoa’s Image to fend off the upset minded Brilliant Bird with Juan Gutierrez aboard for owner trainer Robert Bean.
The two threw down from the get go and neither gave an inch and it was a stirring stretch run where everyone expected Bayakoa’s Image to pull away for an easy win and for Brilliant Bird to throw in the towel but that moment never came for a thrilling finish for the win.
2021 Stakes winner’s Ms Lynn let go at 11-1 with Julien Couton along with 2nd favorite Blazingbellablue with Alex Cruz were in great position for the entire race sitting just behind the leading pair waiting for them to tire and a chance to pounce but instead that 3 length advantage the top pair had never diminished and the two battled for the minors with Ms Lynn holding on to 3rd by a neck. They were well in front of the rest of the field finishing in order, Dontkissntell, Rea Mea and Jacana.
Bayakoa’s Image stopped the clock in a time of 1:42.94. B-I is a BC bred by Lent and out of Tempered Steel by Tempered Appeal and bred by the owners Nite and Day Stable. Joanne Todd is also an owner. Kay Cooper picked up the training win and ended up leading Stakes trainer, more on that later in our Trainer Championship post. Bayakoa’s Image earned $27,500 for the win to push her career earnings to just short of 100k. She is now 5-2-0 from 8 lifetime starts.
Bayakoa’s Image paid just 40-cents on the dollar for the win but combined with Brilliant Bird for a $1 exacta of $14.80. The 50-cent trifecta with Ms Lynn returned $33.80 and the $1 superfecta paid $262, not bad with a 2-5 shot winning a 7 horse race.
Stretch Run of the Washington Cup
Muckleshoot Tribal Classic
The 50k was strictly for Washington and BC bred 3-year-olds and up and 6 were set to go the 1 1/16. There were 5 older horses and just 1 3-year-old, Coastal Kid. Coastal Kid was sent off as the 2nd co-favorite at 5-2 for owners Steve and Letha Haahr and trainer Jeff Metz. Metz brought in his regular southern California jockey Wayne Barnett to ride Coastal Kid as he did when he started Coastal Kid in the Muckleshoot Derby. Barnett almost stole the Derby from favorite Top Executive losing by a head at 3-1 odds.
In the Derby Kid broke from the 1 hole and pretty much had to go to the lead and held on doggedly to just miss. In Sunday’s Tribal Classic Kid drew the outside 6 post and when the gates opened sat in 3rd just a couple of lengths behind the early leader the other 5-2 shot, Spittin Image with Alex Cruz. Stay Fantastic was 2nd with Alex Marti up while Stand To at 16-1 laid 4th, 21-1 Sherm was 5th and the betting favorite Unmachable was last.
The race devolved quickly into the front 3 and the bottom 3 as Unmachable would pass the 2 longshots for 4th but never got close to the leading trio. As they headed down the backstretch Spittin Image led to the 3/4 pole while Coastal Kid had crept up to Stay Fantastic and engaged with her just off the front pace. On the turn Coastal Kid was let go by Barnett, he could no longer keep her under wraps and she exploded past the front pair and had a length lead by the top of the stretch and drew off to an easy 3 1/4 length victory. Stay Fantastic also turned in a quality performance holding off Spittin Image by a length and then it was more than 6 lengths back to Unmachable who was never in the race.
Coastal Kid got her 2nd win of her career and is now 2-4-3 from 12 starts and increased her bank account by $27,500 to nearly $79,500. Coastal Kid is a Washington bred by Coast Guard and out of Creme by Somersham and was bred by Nina and Ron Hagen. The win was also a personal milestone for trainer Jeff Metz who stood in the Winners Circle for the 800th time in his career.
Muckleshoot Tribal Classic Stretch Run
Coastal Kid Trainer Jeff Metz on winning the Classic and a personal milestone