(Auburn, WA) Week 10 is in the books and another outstanding week of performances so let’s get to it!
King County Express Stakes
Just a field of 5 2-year-old colts and geldings loaded into the Emerald Downs starting gates in the 4th race for the 1st of two 2-year-old stakes races on Sunday. The 1-9 betting choice, Cobra Jet was expected to dash to the lead and never look back in this 5 1/2 furlong sprint. Juan Gutierrez who had ridden Jet to a 6 length win in his career debut and led every step of the way.
However, when the gates opened it was #1 Firewalker quickest into stride with Jennifer Whitaker aboard and took a 1/2 length lead. As the pair threw down for the 1st quarter mile they stopped the clock in a brisk 21.59. Cobra Jet trainer Frank Lucarelli was a bit concerned with the pace and the fact Cobra Jet could not clear Firewalker until about halfway around the turn where he edged out to a 1 1/2 length advantage.
Firewalker was not done and battled on but the one that had Lucarelli concerned was Chumly who was being ridden by Kyle Frey who came up from Northern California to take the mount. Chumly was poised never more than 3 or 4 lengths behind the two front runners and if the pace took anything out of Cobra Jet, Chumly just might come over the top down the stretch.
As they reached the top of the stretch, Lucarelli’s concern was quickly put to bed as Gutierrez had plenty in the tank and extended to a 5 length lead and would win by a blistering 13 1/2 lengths.
Chumly would put a head in front of Firewalker at the top of the stretch and settled for 2nd 2 lengths to the good and Firewalker held 3rd by 3/4 as Bat Man’s Bull with Eddie Martinez and Firing Pin with Alex Anaya finishing where they began the race 4th and 5th.
Gutierrez took the foot off the gas pedal in the final 16th and stopped the clock in a time of 1:05.03. Cobra Jet is now 2-0-0 from 2 lifetime starts and earned $27,522 for his owners R.E.V. Racing, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Lucarelli Racing Corp to boost his bank account to $37,000. Cobra Jet is a Washington bred buy Curlin to Mischief out of Atta Gal Val by Atta Boy Roy and was bred by Mr and Mrs William Griffen.
Cobra Jet returned $2.20 on the $2 win, the exacta to the 2nd favorite paid $2, the 50-cent tri to the 3rd fav was good for $1.90 and the 10-cent super paid $1.30.
The next 2-year-old Stakes is set for August 22, the WTBOA Lads and then on the final day of racing the 2-year-old Championship in the Gottstein Futurity.
Stretch Run of King County Stakes
Interview with Winning Trainer Frank Lucarelli
The Angie C Stakes
A field of 7 2-year-old fillies was reduced to 6 when longshot Ropers N Wranglers was a late vet scratch leaving 6 left to battle in the 5 1/2 furlong dash. The favorite was Cadillac Margarita with Juan Gutierrez from the Jeff Metz barn. Guti had ridden the filly in her only start a 3 3/4 length win in a maiden special weight with an impressive front-running effort. The public was betting hard of a repeat as she went off as the 1-1 favorite.
After that it was a coin toss with Pontiffany and Kyle Frey up the 2nd choice at 4-1 while Smiling Salsa with Javier Matias and 1st time starter Akasi with Alex Cruz were both 9-2. Eddie Martinez was on Slack Tide at 7-1 and the longshot was Tyche Awaits You with Julien Couton at 28-1.
Akasi actually broke best from the 1 hole with Slack Tide and Pontiffany to her outside and Smiling Salsa not far behind. The favorite Cadillac Margarita was 5th with Tyche Awaits You lagging early. As they approached the far turn Akasi was battling for the lead from the rail but then was squeezed down from the outside and Cruz had to pull her out of the fast closing hole on the rail. Smiling Salsa took the lead with Slack Tide close, Pontiffany held 3rd and Cadillac Margarita pulling into the line of 4.
Slack Tide would then surge to the lead at the top of the stretch with Smiling Salsa battling and Caddy Margie looming with Pontiffany suddenly stopping. Akasi had since re-group and Cruz asked her if she still wanted to run along the rail and she answered but could not catch Slack Tide who ran the 5 1/2 in 1:04.94.
As the pack drifted to the outside it was Slack Tide pulling clear and would win by 3 with Akasi with an incredible run to get a clear second along the rail while Salsa took 3rd and Cadillac Margarita finishing 4th.
Slack Tide made amends after finishing 2nd in her debut to Cadillac Margarita but there were several excuses that smart bettors picked up on and took advantage of the healthy 7-1 pay-off in the Angie C. Martinez had ridden her in the debut and said first of all they were in the 10 hole in a 4 1/2 furlong race. She bobbled a bit at the start and it took time to get her settled down and he said being her first start she was also unsure of what she was supposed to do.
In the Angie C she broke from the 5 hole after the late scratch and broke alertly. Martinez never had her out of the race and had something more in the stretch. Slack Tide is a Kentucky bred by Sharman Ghost out of Impeached by Northern Fleet and bred by Mr and Mrs William Griffen for a breeding sweep in the Stakes on Sunday.
Slack Tide races for Ten Broeck Farm and trained by Blaine Wright. She picked up a $24,750 pay-check and ran her earnings to nearly $29,000. She returned $17.20 on the $2 win, coupled with Akasi for a $43 exacta and with Smiling Salsa the tri paid $87 the 10-cent superfecta was good for $33 with Cadillac Margarita running 4th.
The next stakes for the 2-year-old fillies is the Barbara Shinpoch on August 22nd.
Stretch Run of the Angie C
Interview with winning rider Eddie Martinez
Interview with winning trainer Blaine Wright
Mixo closed well in deep stretch to take the Thursday night feature race engulfing betting favorite Grinder Sparksaglo and pulling away to a 2-length win. Jockey Kevin Radke broke 5th in the field of 7 going 6 1/2 furlongs and allowed him to settle while So Lucky and Fuzzy Dolphin dueled for the early lead. Julien Couton positioned Grinders Sparksaglo just off the pace in 3rd followed by Maius, Mixo, Cody’s Choice and Bullet Drill trailed.
As they headed toward the far turn and Grinder Sparksaglo eased past So Lucky for the lead at the top of the stretch while Mixo was getting wound up and shifted to the outside. So Lucky with Jennifer Whitaker gave ground begrudgingly and held on well for 3rd as Radke angled out to the middle of the stretch and unleashed the beast who ran down Grinder Sparksaglo inside the 16th pole for the win. Maius ran even to complete the superfecta.
Mixo is a 7-year-old Washington bred by Abraaj and out of Valour Road by Honour and Glory and bred by Oak Crest Farm. The 3-1 2nd favorite picked up $6,700 for his owners K and W Stable and was trained by Sharon Ross. Mixo stopped the clock in 1:16.90.
Saturday night’s feature was the 5th race and a field of 6 went a flat mile. Buckley Bay with leading rider Alex Cruz was the heavy favorite at an odds-on 1-5 and went straight to the lead as he usually does and quickly took a 2 length lead even though he bobbled at the start and was off a step slow. Longshot, Silver Fury was 2nd followed by Pistol Power, Mister McLean, Remembertobreathe and Benny the Jet.
Buckley Bay would not have an easy lead, however, as Silver Fury came to the speedster and pressed him from the outside with Mister McLean just behind them by a 1/2 length. As they hit the far turn Buckley Bay, who hadn’t gone 2 turns yet this season continued to battle with Silver Fury with Joree Scriver but Pistol Power with Juan Gutierrez aboard split horses and took the lead at the top of the stretch.
While all this was going on, Alex Anaya took the brakes off 10-year-old Remembertobreathe and began to close on the rail. The two front runners were beginning to fade while Pistol Power had the clear lead but Remembertobreathe would not be denied to edge away to a 1/2 length win at a healthy 11-1. Pistol Power was 2nd, Silver Fury finished 3rd and Buckley Bay was 4th.
Remembertobreathe is a Florida bred by D’wildcat out of Sanctioned by Maudlin and bred by Irish Eyes Stable and Verbarctic Farm. Remembertobreathe is trained by Robert Baze and owned by Dawn Spillman and earned $5,700 to push his career bankroll to nearly $65,000 with a 9-6-7 record from just 32 starts. Remembertobreathe returned $24.20 on the $2 win.
Heading into the week Alex Cruz had won a race on 44 straight Emerald Downs race cards dating back to the last 25 days of 2020. He extended the streak on Thursday taking the 6th race aboard the 2020 claimer of the meet Omache Kid owned by Carol Dronen and trained by Sam Dronen for #45. #46 on Saturday would come in the 7th race aboard Extractor trained by Blaine Wright and owned by Mike O’Neill and Bryan and Dean Smith. Extractor was overlooked at 6-1 and went straight to the lead for the wire-wire win and extends the state and track record for consecutive days with a win.
But that’s where the streak would end as Cruz rode 8 of 9 races on Sunday but could not find the winning combination. He finished with 4 2nds, 3 shows and a 4th so all of his mounts were on the board and 7 of 8 in the money. His best chance was in the 6th with Urban Diva where he led most of the mile race including about a 3 length lead at the top of the stretch but Sassy Edie came from just off the pace to win with Kyle Frey aboard.
Cruz would then run a pair of 2nds for the Oak Crest Farm and trainer David Martinez and both may have had a different outcome if conditions were different as Long Lance got off slow in the 7th race and closed from far back to get 2nd and then in the Angie C Stakes, 1st time starter Akasi was down on the rail was squeezed out halfway around the turn and then came running again to get 2nd. The 46 day streak is a state and track record.
Juan Gutierrez had his own streak coming into the week with 6 straight days of 2 or more wins. He made it 7 on Thursday by taking the 4th race aboard Choteau a 4-5 front running win for trainer Tim McCanna and owners Fred and Cindy Desimone. It wouldn’t be until the last race before Juan got win #2 to extend the streak to 7 days. He came from just off the pace to win the finale on
National Heroine at 5-1. National Heroine is owned by Horse Haven Creek Farm and Calvin Bagby and is trained by Rosie Simkins her 2nd win on the year.
On Saturday, Gutierrez had his streak come to an end as he was shut out. Juan rode 7 of the 8 races and had his chances hitting the top 4 in 6 of 7 rides with 2 places, a 3rd and 3 fourth place finishes. Gutierrez then started a streak on Sunday with 3 wins taking the 1st on Peter Redekop’s Anatolia trained by Frank Lucarelli and the of course won the King County Stakes in a dominant performance for Lucarelli and company aboard Cobra Jet. Gutierrez would get a 3rd win in the 7th aboard Ididntseethatcomin for trainer Bonnie Jenne and the owners the Friendship Stable, Kandie Malloy and Craig Frederickson.
So far it has been a season dominated by the top 3 jockeys, Alex Cruz, Julien Couton and Juan Gutierrez. Cruz had 2 wins in week 10, Couton had 4 and Gutierrez with 5. Cruz still leads the standings with 39 wins, Couton just behind with 37 and Guti has made up a lot of ground with all those multi-win days to be within 5 of the lead with 34 wins.
The top 3 riders need to look behind them as several other jocks are beginning to rally starting with Eddie Martinez. Martinez got to Emerald Downs a week late and has taken him a while to get in the
groove but he had his best week of the season with 4 wins in week 10. He won on Curious Sensation in the 5th race on Thursday, won 2 on Saturday taking the 1st aboard New Every Morning and then the 4th on Temple Secret. All 3 of those wins were for trainer Frank Lucarelli who has caught fire at the same time. Martinez finished off his big week with his 1st Stakes win of the season aboard Slack Tide for Blaine Wright in the Angie C. Martinez went from a 3% win to now 9-12-8 from 84 mounts and 11% win rate.
Kevin Radke also had a nice week with 3 wins, 3 seconds and 2 shows. Radke won the 3rd race on Thursday on Please Me for owner John Parker and trainer Candi Cryderman and then won the Thursday feature on Mixo from the Sharon Ross barn and owners the K and W Stable. He’d win again on Sunday taking the 3rd aboard David Nose Best for the Swag Stables and trainer David Martinez. Radke is tied for 4th with Javier Matias in the jockey standings each with 13 wins.
Journeyman Jose Zunino increased his win total by 3 as well, winning the week’s opening race aboard Unstoppable Gal for Parker and Cryderman. Zunino then got a win for trainer Tom Wenzel on Our Lyla Grace in the 3rd on Saturday evening, for the Code Four Stable owners and got his 3rd win in the Saturday finale when Captain Dashi nosed out Alpine Hypnosis. It appeared Alpine Hypnosis would get up to win and actually had the lead within 25 yards of the finish line but when the photo finish light came on during the dusk hours Alpine Hypnosis put on the brakes enough for Captain Dashi to get the win.
Zunino nearly pulled off a big win in the 7th on Saturday losing by a neck to Extractor with his mount Baltimore Beecho at 14-1. On Sunday he picked up another 2nd aboard Sigrids Gold. Zunino is now 6th in the standings with an 11-11-8 record from 85 rides winning at 13%.
Alex Anaya picked up a win but also had 4 2nds and 2 3rds from 12 rides or 67% in the money. His win came on Saturday in the feature race aboard 10-year-old Remembertobreathe at 11-1 and he got a 2nd on 15-1 shot Wishful Won in the next race. Anaya began on Thursday with a 2nd in the 1st race, 3rd in the 2nd race, 2nd in the 3rd race, 3rd in the 5th and another 2nd in the 6th. 5 mounts and 3 2nds and 2 3rds.
Joree Scriver got her 1st win of the season. Scriver was the leading rider of the recently completed Grants Pass meet and now has shifted her tack to Emerald for the rest of the season. She got her first win aboard 7-1 Laker Jet for the ownership of Bean Acres and trainer Robert Bean. She’s 1-2-3 from 15 mounts.
A couple of other notes, Kyle Frey came up from Northern California to ride in both Stakes but picked up another ride in the 6th when Juan Gutierrez took off of Sassy Edie. Gutierrez was riding
Rita Lorraine the race prior and had to pull her up, she was vanned off to be examined and it’s unknown if that had any impact on why Guti took off who came right back to ride and win the 7th and then rode in the Angie C. Frey will take it though as he got up in the final 16th to beat Urban Diva in that 6th race. That also looked to be the best chance for Alex Cruz to have continued his win streak but Frey was one of the spoilers on Sunday.
Frey is the 5th jockey to come up for a day from California and only the 2nd to win a race. Kevin Orozco, who had ridden at Emerald Downs for 3 seasons came up to win on Top Executive in the Auburn Stakes. His brother Irving came up and rode 4 races and finished 3rd twice. Santos Rivera and Geovanni Franco are a combined 0-4 at Emerald.
One other newcomer this week, Edgar Velasco who rode Fuzzy Dolphin in the 7th race on Thursday and finished 6th. Velasco hasn’t ridden regularly since 2019 at Golden Gate and then in Texas.
4th all-time leading rider Leslie Mawing is scheduled to ride this week at Emerald Downs after finishing up his run at Canterbury Park. He has 4 rides set in his first week back in the Northwest.
It is a must we send our thoughts to the family of Eduardo Gutierrez-Sosa after he tragically lost his life last Wednesday while riding at the Crooked River Round-up in Prineville, Oregon. Gutierrez-Sosa was tossed from his mount a 2-year-old and appeared to land on his head and died from his injuries. The Emerald Downs Chaplain was taking donations for the family on Sunday, if you’d like to contribute contact the Emerald Downs Chaplain and they can assist you. Here is a full story link to the Bloodhorse.
It was a big turn-around week for several trainers this week as well starting with the defending Champion and all-time wins leader at Emerald, Frank Lucarelli. Lucarelli finished the week with 5 wins, none larger than Cobra Jet’s win in the King County Express. Lucarelli has the largest stable and will be adding even more runners as some of his stock that had been in Texas is on their way back to Emerald after the Lonestar meet wrapped up.
Lucarelli was batting 5% early on with several places, shows and 4th’s but wins were scant. With 3 double win days in the last 4 race cards Lucarelli is now tied with Vince Gibson for 2nd with 12 wins. Both trail Joe Toye who was red-hot for the 1st quarter of the meet running up 16 wins but that lead is diminishing as he holds on to the 4 win advantage. Lucarelli has started 77 horses and is 12-11-11 raising his win percent to 16%.
Lucarelli won the 5th race on Thursday with Curious Sensation by nearly 7 lengths at a big 8-1 price, New Every Morning won the opener on Saturday night and Lucarelli would score his 2nd win of the night in the 4th with Temple Secret. Lucarelli would take the opener on Sunday with Anatolia and of course finish the week with Cobra Jet.
Candi Cryderman had a week herself with 3 wins a second and 3 thirds. She got started in race 1 on Thursday with Unstoppable Gal. Cryderman would wheel right back and take the 3rd race when Please Me cruised to an easy win, Queen Breezy would finish 3rd by a head in that same race. Cryderman would get her 3rd win of the week on Saturday in the 2nd race when Sunshine Emily went gate to wire for a length win. Cryderman is now 9-12-13 and tied for 5th with Blaine Wright.
Tom Wenzel got things rolling with a pair of wins both on Saturday. Wenzel won the 3rd race handily with Our Lyla Grace by 3 3/4 lengths but needed Alpine Hypnosis to shy away from the photo finish light in the finale on Saturday that allowed Captain Dashi to come back on and get the win by just a nose.
Blaine Wright had a pair of wins including his big win with Slack Tide in the Angie C, he also trained Smiling Salsa who took 3rd in the Angie C on Sunday. He got his first win of the week when the public overlooked both him and leading rider Alex Cruz who won the 7th race on Saturday with Extractor at 6-1. Wright is now 9-6-4 from 37 starts and tied with Cryderman for 5th.
Robert Bean had his best week with a pair of wins. Bean has started an impressive 39 horses helping many races go and it is beginning to pay-off for the veteran conditioner in his first season at Emerald. Bean won the 2nd race on Thursday with Turnaround and then scored again with 7-1 Laker Jet in Saturday’s 6th race.
Other Trainer notes
Sam Dronen got his 3rd win of the season when the 2020 claimer of the meet, Omache Kid won the 6th race on Thursday. Tim McCanna the 2nd all-time winner at Emerald is winning at an incredible 40% clip getting his 8th win in 20 starts with Choteau on Thursday. Sharon Ross snapped her winless streak with her 1st win of the season with Mixo. Rosie Simkins posed in the Winners Circle this week with National Heroine. Robbie Baze got the old-timer Remembertobreathe ready to fire and the 10-year-old won the feature on Saturday at 11-1. Cliff Balcom got his 2nd win of the season as an owner/trainer when Frisco Frills won the 2nd on Sunday. David Martinez got his 3rd win of the year with David Nose Best in the 3rd on Sunday, he would also run 2nd in the Angie C with 1st time starter Akasi. Rigoberto Velazquez is hitting 14% wins and took the Sunday 5th with Stay in Grace. Steve Bullock is starting to stir and got win #2 of the year in the 6th on Sunday when Sassy Edie pulled away in the end for the win. Ididntseethatcomin gave veteran Bonnie Jenne her 3rd win of the season, she is now 3-4-5 from 18 starts. And Jason Homer got his 1st win with I’m Not Gabby in the finale on Sunday. He is 1-1-1 from 4 starts hitting 75% in the money.
Racing resumes on Thursday, July 22nd with 8 races and total of 53 entries. First race post is 6pm.