(Auburn, WA) The Stakes schedule kicks off on Thursday with the first of two prep races for the Longacres Mile, the $50,000 Budweiser Stakes and the first Stakes battle for fillies and mares in the Hastings Park also worth $50,000. Both races will start for the 25th time.
The Hastings Stakes is up first and is the 6th race of the 8 race card. The 6-furlong race has 8 starters topped by the One Horse Will Do Corp and Steve Shimizu’s stakes winner “Daffodil Sweet” rated as the 2-1 morning line favorite. Juan Gutierrez will again get the ride as he has been Daffodil’s only rider over her 5 race career and is handled by veteran conditioner Chris Stenslie. Breaking from the 6 position and is in a good position to get to the early lead as is her style. Sweet was 3-0 including the Coca Cola Stakes winner before suffering her one and only loss finishing 2nd in the Oaks. She is coming off a 3 length win in an allowance race at Emerald on May 20th.
The 3-1 second choice is Golden Gate invader “Coco Bee” from the Blaine Wright barn and will come out of the 5 hole. Coco Bee races for Chappell Alpine Farms and Irving Orosco travels up for the ride Orosco has ridden her in her last 3 starts in Allowance races winning 2 and placing 3rd in her last outing. Coco sports a 7-1-2 record from 14 starts with a career bankroll nearing 200k.
“Ima Happy Cat” from longtime owners Tim and Sue Spooner is the 9-2 3rd choice in the morning line. Cat hasn’t run since April 23 at Golden Gate where she won by more than 3 lengths. She has racked up 230k in earnings over her 26 race career with 7 wins. Julien Couton takes the call for trainer Dan Markle.
The other starters include:
#1 “Uno Trouble Maker” is 10-1 and ships in from Santa Anita where new owners Todd and Shawn Hansen claimed her for 10k in her last outing on May 23rd. She won the race by 3 lengths and is now in the Sharon Ross barn.
#2 “Dontkissntell” is the 5th choice at 6-1. Leading rider Alex Cruz takes the ride for the 7th straight race as trainer Tom Wenzel sends out the 6-year-old for her 20th start. She generally is in the mix with a career mark of 4-5-5 with 127k in the bank. The K D Thoroughbreds owned runner has had a prep race finishing 4th to Daffodil Sweet.
#3 “Cascade Dancer” has won two in a row but is a 20-1 longshot with just 3 races under her belt. The Kay Penney Cooper trained filly is
stepping up to her toughest challenge yet. Dancer owned by Robert Edward Donnell has been overlooked in her 2 wins at 8-1 and 7-1. She hopes to again surprise the betting public.
#4 “Squan’s Kingdom” is coming off a sharp effort running 2nd to Daffodil Sweet 3 lengths back but is surprisingly 15-1. 2nd leading rider Julien Couton did choose to jump off to ride Ima Happy Cat which may have signaled some of the confidence in Squan’s but the John Parker owned and Candace Cryderman trained 7-year-old will pick up Joree Scriver to ride.
#7 “Killarney’s Lass” is the 5-1 4th choice and on her best day can beat anyone in the field but she tends to be a bit hot and cold. In her last
10 starts she has been 2nd, 4th, 1st, 6th, 6th, 3rd, 1st, 4th, 1st and 10th. In her 21 starts the Frank Lucarelli conditioned mare is 7-1-4. Sargent Stables own Lass and Heriberto Martinez will ride he has ridden her 8 of her last 10 races so he knows her well.
Larry the SportsCat’s picks:
#5 Coco Bee
Normally I am not a big fan of invaders, especially if they haven’t been over the Auburn oval but this one has in a solid 1-min flat 6-furlong. I also think her running style sitting just off the speed will be advantageous as I believe someone is going to challenge Daffodil Sweet early. I’m looking for Bee to catch ’em at the wire.
#6 Daffodil Sweet
She is undefeated in sprints and until she is defeated she is the one to beat. If you can get 2-1 on her you will be lucky I don’t see her higher than 1-1 and likely odds-on.
#3 Cascade Dancer
This is my longshot to hit the board and light up the trifecta and superfecta. This lightly raced filly has one her last two races and just might not understand she hasn’t proven she can run with these yet.
The 25th running of the Budweiser Stakes is slated as the 7th race. The Bud is the first of 2 prep races for the August 15th Longacres Mile. The field of 8 will travel 6 furlongs with several familiar names set to break from the Emerald Downs gates.
The track oddsmaker has made Golden Gate invader “Baja Sur” as the 9-5 favorite. Franklin Ceballos will get the ride for trainer Blaine Wright. Baja will start from the #2 hole and is used to being in the mix finishing 1st or 2nd 11 of his 14 career starts. John and Janene Maryanski and the Riverbend Stable own Baja Sur and hope to add to his 206k career earnings.
Local favorite “Papa’s Golden Boy” will no doubt be the one to catch once again. Papa has proven to be very tough sprinting especially early in the season. He won his first 2 races last season on the engine and very well could do it again. Julien Couton rode him in his season debut to a 6 length win and breaking out of the 1 hole is set to head right to the front in the Budweiser. The Gary, Deborah, Jeff and Peyton Lusk owned and Vince Gibson trained 5-year-old gelding will no doubt attract a lot of support in this one.
“Unmachable” is the 3rd favorite at 5-1 with longtime Emerald rider Javier Matias in the saddle and break from the #4 gate. Unmachable is one of the surprises from 2020 coming from the small stable of trainer Jack McCartney and was a Stakes winner last season and was named 3-year-old male horse of the year and has earned 115k for owner Tawnja Elison in his 10 lifetime starts.
The other starters in this race include:
#3 “Returray” ships in from Northern California off a flat effort finishing 8th and last in his last outing and would be a stunner if he rebounds from that effort with a win the Bud. Kevin Radke picks up the ride for trainer Sharon Ross and is owned by MisChief Club 3, Gary Brady and Janet George and is the 2nd longest shot in the morning line at 15-1.
#5 “Take Charge Deputy” has been off since running 9th in last years Longacres Mile. Although that run was disappointing Deputy had two solid runs leading up to the Mile with a win in a 50k claiming at 24-1 and then a 3rd in the Mount Rainier Stakes just 3/4 of a length from victory. Irving Orozco will get the mount for trainer Jorge Rosales whose Rosales Racing F1 is also the owner. Deputy has been working steadily for his debut and is a respectable 6-1 in the morning line.
#6 “Muncey” checks in at 8-1 and comes from deep Northwest connections the Howard Belvoir barn. The Rising Star VII stable is the owner
and Belvoir’s regular rider and all-time leading female jockey in Washington state Jennifer Whitaker gets the call. Muncey doesn’t win a lot with just 2 victories in 12 starts but last year ran 8 times and finished 2nd twice and 3rd five times. His opening race he bumped hard out of the gate and Whitaker fell off. If #6 is part of the superfecta would be no shocker.
#7 “Once On Whiskey” is the longest shot in the field at 20-1 and is looking for a dramatic turn-around after a promising start. Whiskey began his career in 2018 at Santa Anita in the Bob Baffert barn and in 6 starts had 2 wins and earned nearly 160k. He clearly injured himself in 2019 and has been off the track since his return in February at Turf Paradise. He has a pair of 3rds and a 4th and finished 7th in his last outing and would need quite a turn-around to make any impact in this one. Heriberto Martinez will get the ride for trainer Tena Birdwell and owner Daniel Heap.
#8 “Windribbon” gets the outside post and is an 8-1 morning line. Emerald Downs all time leading rider Juan Gutierrez gets the ride knows this one well never finishing worse than 3rd in the 5 previous starts. Last year Guti guided Ribbon to a 12-length winner in a maiden claimer and the came right back with a head bob win in an Allowance race. He would then finish 3rd followed by 2 2nds all in allowance races and never did start in a Stakes race. The Seamist Racing Stable owns Windribbon and is trained by Blaine Wright making this one a contender.
Larry the SportsCat’s picks:
#1 Papa’s Golden Boy
The only other speed in this race is way out in post 8 in Windribbon but I don’t see Windribbon engaging Papa on the front end even though the rest of the field hopes he does no one can keep up with Papa down the backstretch. Sprinting is Papa’s game and Baja Sur will be too far back. Papa by at least 4 lengths.
I actually see the front end being a merry-go-round race with Papa going to the lead, Windribbon in 2nd and both clear from the rest of the pack. I don’t think Gutierrez and Windribbon will kill their own chances by trying to engage Papa and simply hope it’s not his night and have first run on him in the stretch.
#5 Take Charge Deputy
His best efforts he sits 3rd or 4th early and is in position to make a run in the stretch. Deputy came out swinging last year with a stunning win at 24-1 in his debut and won his first two races in 2019 so he knows how to be ready early.