Emerald Downs News and Stable Notes
Thursday, March 22, 2012
TRAINER CHRIS STENSLIE READY TO PROVE SHE
BELONGS WITH THE EMERALD DOWNS ELITE
Opponents take notice. The soft-spoken and humble conditioner Chris Stenslie is poised to take a sharp bite out of the 2012 win-column at Emerald Downs.
Coming off a sensational season, Stenslie set a career-high with 32 wins, including three stakes wins by three different horses. Her wagering supporters salivated over her $3.07 R.O.I. While Showme Yourfriends winning the Auburn Handicap at 50-1 certainly helped that statistic. It was an underrated barn capturing 24 percent of its races that made for pari-mutuel paydays. All of the above led to her being honored with the track’s 2011 Top Training Achievement and 2011 WTBOA Special Racetrack Achievement Award, respectively.
This season, however, Stenslie is no secret. She will start the season with 48 horses—13 more than 2011—and has stakes-types up-and-down the shed row. Incidentally, last year’s stakes wins don’t even include arguably the barn’s best horse Hollywood Harbor—a three-time stakes winner himself and the state’s Top 2-Year-Old of 2009. Talk to My Lawyer, however, could give the veteran a run for the barn’s top spot. Last year’s Top Juvenile Filly fought brilliantly to become only the 12th filly to beat the boys in the Gottstein Futurity.
“We have a lot of princes and princesses in the barn,” Stenslie said. “But Hollywood Harbor is the king, and Talk to My Lawyer is the queen.”
Well, that must make Stenslie the empress, who has undoubtedly risen steadily up the training ranks the past three years. Will the modest Enumclaw trainer accept any praise? Not hardly. In fact, she quickly credits her team, led by assistant trainer Carol Hubbird, as the catalyst to her recent success.
“I call them the dream team,” Stenslie said. “All my assistants, grooms and exercise riders are fantastic.”
And who wouldn’t want to work for Stenslie? Not only does her personality affectionately attract all who know her, but she also does what all trainers aspire to do everyday. Win races. It might take aggressive tactics and some racing luck, but Stenslie has the potential to make a strong run at the 2012 trainer’s title. Clearly, Stenslie puts her horses first and statistics—a far off from the distance—second, but even she’ll admit the thought has crossed her mind.
“I’ll be happy as long as I do as good as I did last year,” Stenslie said. “But I might make a little push (for the trainer’s title).”
NOTES: Emerald Downs has published its 2012 pocket and wall calendars for the upcoming season…Veteran rider Troy Stillwell said Thursday that it’s a “possibility” that he could return to racing by opening day. The 45-year-old Stillwell, who has 93 career wins at Emerald Downs, missed last season with a back injury…The 2012 EmD jockey colony added 22-year-old Rocco Bowen to its roster. The Barbados native, who rode 23 winners during the Portland Meadows meeting, will share agent David Singer with Czech Republic rider Eliska Kubinova…Owner David Israel said he has a 2-year-old filly—Inquiry Miss—that is a half-sister to Hutcheson Stakes (G II) winner Thunder Moccasin, considered by many to be the top 3-year-old sprinter in the country…The Win, Place Show, hosted by Director of Publicity Joe Withee and EmD odds maker Rob Rao, airs from 8 to 9 a.m. on weekends until the end of the meet. This weekend’s guests include Jill Byrne, director of on-air racing communications at Churchill Downs, on Saturday and Washington-bred Jon White, Santa Anita/HRTV host, on Sunday…Trainer Blaine Wright said Thursday that D’honorable One, third in last year’s Premio Esmeralda, would run in the Jim Coleman Province on May 5 at Hastings Park. EmD’s Top 2-Year-Old Male of 2010 Couldabenthewhisky shipped north to win the race last year.