You know there’s quality when 86 percent of the field is stakes winners. That’s the case Sunday in the $50,000 Boeing Handicap when seven older fillies or mares race one mile in the final tune-up for next month’s Emerald Distaff.
Cielator is the only horse not to have won a stakes, but the undefeated 4-year-old Delineator filly hasn’t yet had the chance: she’s two-for-two after victories vs. maiden special weights and $32,000 claimers. Sunday she’ll be asked to face stakes runners while making her first start around two turns. That might be asking too much.
On the other hand, the older filly and mare division continues to yield surprises, E Z Kitty’s 11-to-1 victory in the June 10 Washington State Legislators Stakes adding to the growing list op upsets. In fact, over the last two seasons only Class Included—the 3-to-5 betting favorite in the 2012 Hastings Handicap—has won as a betting favorite.
Winners of 2011-2012 older filly or mare stakes at Emerald Downs:
2011 Hastings Handicap—You Me and Ema B, $23.20
2011 WA State Legislators Stakes—Summers Peace, $22.60
2011 Boeing Handicap—You Me and Ema B, $16
2011 Emerald Distaff—Hard Way Ten, $24.20
2012 Hastings Handicap—Class Included, $3.20
2012 WA State Legislators Stakes—E Z Kitty, $24.60
Conflicting information: While it’s true that You Me and Ema B prevailed at 7-to-1 last year, the Boeing Handicap has not been kind to long shot players. Only twice in 16 runnings have the payoffs reached double digits: Top Bracket paid $48 in 2002, and You Me and Ema B paid $16 in 2011.
A pair of sharp 4-year-old fillies: Class Included, high-weighted at 121 lbs, has never finished worse than second while compiling a 6-6-0 record in 12 starts for trainer Jim Penney and earnings of $229,323 for owners-breeders Mike & Amy Feuerborn. E Z Kitty, second in the weights at 118, is 6-0-1 in nine starts for trainer H R Gibson with earnings of $75,016 for Tige Too Racing Stable.
The field from the rail out for the Boeing Handicap: 1-Sweet Nellie Brown, William Antongeorgi, 117 lbs; 2-Carrabelle Harbor, Eliska Kubinova, 115; 3-Class Included, Juan Gutierrez, 121; 4-Elusive Noise, Gallyn Mitchell, 116; 5-E Z Kitty, Leonel Camacho-Flores, 118; 6-Cielator, Jorge Rosales, 115; 7-Rewritten, Leslie Mawing, 116.
New Shooters: (Didn’t run in Washington State Legislators Stakes): Carrabelle Harbor, Cielator.
Hot Connections: Several of the Boeing contenders hail from barns in the midst of hot streaks this season at Emerald Downs. Tom Wenzel trains Elusive Noise and has been nearly unbeatable in stakes events this season, compiling a 4-2-0 record in seven stakes starts. Wenzel’s only out of the money finish was a seventh by Elusive Noise in the Washington State Legislators Stakes, but that sub-par effort might have been compromised by a poor break from the starting gate, a development that also left E Z Kitty on an uncontested lead. Owner Ron Crockett (Cielator, Rewritten) had won his last three starts through Tuesday. Trainer Junior Coffey (Cielator) is seven-for-17 this season at Emerald Downs. And defending Emerald Downs training champion Frank Lucarelli ranks No. 1 with 27 wins and had won with 12 of his last 18 starters through Tuesday.
Older Fillies & Mares @ Emerald Downs:
Sunday, May 13: $50,000 Hastings Handicap, Class Included ($3.20), 6F-1:09.17
Sunday, June 10: $50,000 Washington State Legislators Stakes, E Z Kitty ($24.60) 6-½ F-1:14.61
Sunday, July 8, $50,000 Boeing Handicap, One mile
Sunday, Aug. 19, $65,000 Emerald Distaff, 1-1/8 miles
Sunday, Sept. 9, $35,000 Belle Roberts ®, 1-1/16 miles