DEFENDING CHAMPION WINNING MACHINE
HEADS FIELD OF EIGHT IN $50,000 GOVERNOR’S
Frank Lucarelli has won 724 races and 29 stakes in 18 seasons at Emerald Downs, but the veteran trainer says Winning Machine is unique.
“(Winning Machine) is an amazing horse,” Lucarelli said. “He can run short, long, you name it…he even ran a mile and three-eighths in Canada. The thing is, he always runs a big race.”
Sunday, the 7-year-old gelding begins another quest for the track’s Holy Grail as the road to the Longacres Mile begins with the $50,000 Governor’s Handicap at 6 ½ furlongs. The defending champion, Winning Machine drew the No. 6 post-position in a field of eight, with regular rider Javier Matias getting the mount at 120 lbs.
A Kentucky-bred by Toccet-Dance With Carson, Winning Machine is 9-9-4 in a 33-race career with earnings of $468,988 for owner-breeder Fleur De Lis Stables. A three-time champion and four-time stakes winner at Emerald Downs, Winning Machine was voted Top 3-Year-Old Male in 2009 and Top Sprinter and Top Handicap Horse in 2012, when he came within a head of winning the Longacres Mile.
In last year’s Governor’s, Winning Machine came from slightly off the pace to topple Jebrica, world-record holder Hollywood Harbor and two-time Horse of the Meeting Noosa Beach in a stakes record-tying 1:13.97. In last month’s prep for this year’s Governor’s, Winning Machine was bogged down in traffic but managed to rally for second in a $21,000 allowance race won by Makors Finale in 1:02.71 for 5 ½ furlongs.
“He’s doing really good, he worked well (five furlongs in 1:00 2/5) for the race,” Lucarelli said of Winning Machine. “He’s a happy horse.”
· Makors Finale, high-weight at 122 lbs, is out of the Governor’s with a minor ailment. Trainer Tom Wenzel said he hopes to have the 4-year-old Washington-bred gelding back in action for the $50,000 Budweiser Handicap on Sunday, June 16.
· With Makors Finale out, Why Not Be Perfect is the starting high-weight at 121 lbs and trainer Jeff Metz said a major factor is getting the 6-year-old horse switched from turf back to dirt. "In the mornings, we've been trying to get him used to having dirt in his face,” Metz said. “He's been working really easy, going :58 and change without pressure.”
· The loss of Makors Finale, a front-runner, also figures to affect the early pace on Sunday and could make Winning Machine tough on or near the front. However, Metz said Why Not Be Perfect is tractable and that jockey Anne Sanguinetti could be close early. “We don't expect *Why Not Be Perfect) him to have the lead, but if they go slow enough up front, he can take it,” Metz said. “I just told Anne to play the break and see what happens."
· Aaron Gryder, the leading rider at Hastings Racecourse, has the mount on Hoist for trainer Mike Puhich and owner North American Thoroughbred Company. Winner of 2,992 career races, Gryder’s only previous ride at Emerald Downs was a third on Tropic Storm in the 2008 Longacres Mile.
· The Governor’s Handicap goes as race nine at 6:09 p.m.
The field from the rail out for Sunday’s $50,000 Governor’s Handicap: Kooky Saluki, Juan Gutierrez, 115 lbs; Stryker Phd, Debbie Hoonan, 113; Hoist, Aaron Gryder, 118; Edge Forward, Isaias Enriquez, 115; Why Not Be Perfect, Anne Sanguinetti, 121; Winning Machine, Javier Matias, 120; D’honorable One, David G. Lopez, 117; Assessment, Jennifer Whitaker, 116.
HARLEY HOPPE PASSES AWAY AT AGE 82
Longtime Thoroughbred owner and renowned businessman/politician Harley H. Hoppe passed away in his sleep Monday morning at his home on Mercer Island.
Hoppe, an owner for more than 50 years, amassed an illustrious Thoroughbred racing career that included several stakes winners including all-time favorite Red Eye Express—an eight-time stakes winner and runner-up in the 1974 Longacres Mile—and considered one of Longacres’ greatest sprinters. Along with Red Eye Express, Hoppe and trainer Howard Belvoir joined forces on numerous racehorses in a partnership that dated back to 1964. At Emerald Downs, Hoppe and Belvoir teamed with Mulcahy, voted Top 3-Year-Old Male of 2007.
Belvoir said his longtime partner and friend would be missed.
“He was a great man,” Belvoir said. “He was one of my first clients. We’d been together a long time.”
Away from the track, Hoppe owned Harley H. Hoppe & Associates—a property tax service—and was the King County Tax Assessor for many years. Hoppe also ran for Governor in 1974, and in defeat still carried all the small counties in Washington State.
His wife Teresa, daughters, Elizabeth, Amy and Susan, grandchildren, Justelle, Brayden and Alia, and half-sister Rosemary Andrews, survives Harley.
Funeral services will be held 11:00 a.m. on Monday, May 20th at St. Monica's Church on Mercer Island.
QUARTER HORSES RETURN TO EMERALD DOWNS
SPECIAL 6:15 P.M. POST TIME FRIDAY
The first two Quarter Horse races of the meet precede Friday’s six Thoroughbred events, with post time 30 minutes earlier than normal at 6:15 p.m.
In the 350-yard opener, non-winners of two allowance runners compete for a $3,600 purse, and 3-year-old Texas-bred filly Cartel Madam and 4-year-old Oregon-bred gelding Sensor are the ones to beat.
Cartel Madam ships in from Los Alamitos, where she recently finished third and second in 300-yard allowance races with purses of $13,600 and $10,735. Sensor turned in an excellent 2012 campaign at Portland Meadows, finishing on the board in all three starts including a good third at 11-to-1 in the $15,000 Portland Meadows Derby.
The second race at 870-yards (about 4 furlongs) is a mixed field of five Quarter Horses and three Thoroughbreds. Quarter Horses generally have an advantage in such events, but a Thoroughbred, Bleu Tarp, set the track record of :45.78 while defeating five Quarter Horses here last year.
Sunday’s first race also features Quarter Horses, with a field of six maiden-claimers racing 300 yards for a $5,000 tag.
Emerald Downs ran only five QH races in 2012, after running 18 in 2011.
The meet’s biggest race for Quarter Horses is the $60,000 Bank of America/Emerald Downs Championship Challenge on Sunday, September 1.
ADVANCE WAGERING AVAILABLE ON PREAKNESS
Emerald Downs will offer advance-wagering Friday on Saturday’s 138th running of the Preakness Stakes from Baltimore, including a special Daily Double on the $300,000 Pimlico Special (Friday race 12, 2:52 p.m.) and the $1,000,000 Preakness Stakes (Saturday, race 12, 3:20 p.m.)
First post Saturday at Pimlico is 7:45 a.m., with wagering available on the early races at the Quarter Chute Café. The main Emerald Downs’ building opens at 9 a.m. with the 13-race Pimlico card joined in progress.
Emerald Downs’ first post is 2 p.m. Saturday, with the Preakness simulcast scheduled between races three and four on the nine-race card.
PROFESSOR POLLOWITZ OFF & RUNNING IN 2013
People don’t always have time to handicap races with a fine-toothed comb. After all, it’s a busy world and handicapping can be an involved pastime.
Enter Professor Pollowitz, whose “Pick of the Day” is the newest feature in the Emerald Downs official program, the idea being that each day “The Professor” serves up a horse de jour and a suggested play with said horse.
Professor Pollowitz is actually Jacob Pollowitz of media relations and a co-host on the weekly CSN Show Emerald Downs Live. A keen handicapper, Pollowitz is a student of the sport—his father Michael Pollowitz is a longtime Thoroughbred owner—and takes great pride in his picks.
So naturally Pollowitz was elated when Timely Note prevailed to the tune of $20.80 in the first race, Friday, May 10, and also began a suggested $1 Pick 3 that paid $129 for a $12 investment. Coming off a rough trip in his Emerald Downs debut, Timely Note was the Pick of the Day and a “single” on the $12 Pick 3 ticket (1x4x3).
Through the first four weeks—totaling 12 picks—Pollowitz has selected four winners, two second-place finishers and two third-place finishers. A $2 win ticket on his 12 horses to date produced a gross $36.60 in payoffs—a net profit of $12.60!
E Z Kitty sunbathing with trainer Jeff Metz
E Z KITTY DOING WELL AFTER HASTINGS’ WIN
E Z Kitty is “feeling great” following her two-length victory over Exclusive Diva in Sunday’s Hastings Handicap, according to trainer Jeff Metz. The 5-year-old He’s Tops mare earned an 87 Beyer—two points off her career-best 89 in the one-mile Kachina Handicap at Turf Paradise—while her winning time of 1:08.26 tied the stakes record set three years ago by No Flies On Doodle.
“We checked everything out after her race and she’s doing fine,” Metz said of E Z Kitty. “She came out great and she should be ready for the (Washington State) Legislators Stakes in June.”
The $50,000 Washington State Legislators Stakes is Sunday, June 10, and is the second older filly and mare stakes en route to the $65,000 Emerald Distaff on August 18.
Hastings runner-up Exclusive Diva got an 82 Beyer, down three points from her neck victory over E Z Kitty last month. Both E Z Kitty (18-10-2-2-$182,873) and Exclusive Diva (10-6-3-1-$157,071) have extraordinary lifetime records.
YOU ME AND EMA B FACING MINOR SETBACK
You Me and Ema B, the track’s champion older filly or mare of 2011, remains in light training, according to trainer Margo Lloyd.
A 6-year-old daughter of You and I, You Me and Ema B hasn’t had an official workout since her third-place finish to Exclusive Diva and E Z Kitty on April 21, but Lloyd is optimistic that will soon change.
“We had something small come up after her last race, so we’re going to just wait until she tells us she’s ready,” Lloyd said. “She’s still a very cheerful horse. She’s happy and eating well.”
A fan-favorite, You Me and Ema B won two Emerald Downs’ stakes races in 2011 and also finished third in the Emerald Distaff. She has a 4-0-2 mark in seven career starts and earnings of $85,665.
Trainer Tom Wenzel's barn cat Sylvia handicaps Saturday's co-feature race and selects stablemate Finallygotabentley to win.
NOTES: Weekly honors: Trainer-Terry Gillihan (4-3-0-0); Jockeys-Jennifer Whitaker, Rocco Bowen, Isaias Enriquez (community support);Owner-Bruce & Cass Maller (E Z Kitty/Hastings Handicap); Groom-Juan Garcia (trainer Dan Markle); Washington-bred: Roarified (breeder Carleen & Dan Belton)…An abbreviated version of Emerald Downs Live airs from 2-4 p.m. Saturday on CSN (channel 179)…Polish Dollar continues to roll along, getting an 81 for his two-length victory over Camp Granada in Sunday’s $18,900 sub-feature...The 7-year-old gelding has two of the meet’s three fastest times at six furlongs—1:08.09, 1:08.70—and with 12 EmD wins is tied with Wasserman and Touch of Elegance for third on the list of most wins by an active horse…Washington-bred of the Week Roarified earned a career-high 71 Beyer for Sunday’s four-length win in 1:09.42 for six furlongs. The 5-year-old mare has compiled a remarkable 9-0-0 record in 13 career starts, the first 12 races coming for trainer Chris Stenslie and owners One Horse Will Do Corp. and Tina Saxold. Sunday’s victory was Roarified’s first start for trainer Doris Harwood and owners Michael Pollowitz and Jeff Wilson…The popular Preakness Pancakes is offered free from 9-11 a.m. Saturday on Track Level. Fans get a free pancake and bacon breakfast, free program and admission to the day’s races, a tram tour and special interviews as Robert Geller and Jacob Pollowitz visit with jockey Isaias Enriquez Bowen and trainer Jeff Metz…Geller performs double-duty Saturday as he also guest stars at Emerald ED featuring a discussion on Thoroughbred confirmation. The free class begins at 12 p.m. in the Emerald Room (4th floor)…Polish Dollar, Just Meteor, Jade Road and Roarified are all double winners at the meet…Super Hi-Fi will perform live Friday night at Emerald Downs…A victory by Olympic Lights in Saturday’s third would tie the 9-year-old gelding with Bob Stories and Market Master for second on the all-time Emerald Downs win list. Olympic Lights enters the six-furlong event with a 15-for-38 record at EmD…The six horses in Saturday’s third—Olympic Lights, Buddy Dave, Chicks Dig Him, Decarchy Cocktail, Rainier Missile and Perusethenews—have a combined 36 wins and 84 in-the-money finishes at Emerald Downs…
Saturday’s card also spotlights a pair of allowance/optional claiming races. In race seven at six furlongs, six 3-year-old colts and geldings hope to bolster their resumes for the $50,000 Auburn Handicap on June 3. Markle sends out both Cariboo Road and Country Rules against 2012 Gottstein Futurity runner-up Finallygotabentley, and Northern California shipper Step On the Gas makes his EmD debut for trainer Mike Puhich. Race eight is for fillies and mares with Northwest Farms’ highly-regarded Stopshoppingdebbie facing triple stakes winner Carrabelle Harbor and four others…Tasya, a five-time winner at Emerald Downs, is on a roll at Golden Gate Fields for owner Richard Beal. Claimed for $6,250 in January, the 5-year-old mare bids for her fourth straight win Friday while jumping into a $31,000 purse for $62,500 optional claimers…Stormy Lucy, stakes-placed in graded company twice last year as a 3-year-old, makes her 2013 debut in the June 9 Redondo Beach Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park, trainer Frank Lucarelli said…Marathon specialist Horatio is featured in this week’s edition of Thoroughbreds After The Finish Line. The 14-year-old gelding is profiled in the track’s official program with additional photos and video available at emeralddowns.com…Posse Power, third in the 2011 Longacres Mile, makes his first start this year in a $31,000 allowance/optional claimer Saturday at Golden Gate Fields…Emerald Downs honors recently retired Seattle Times columnist Steve Kelley with a race on Saturday, June 15…EmD fastest times (thru May 12): 5F—Seattle Game, :56.80, April 27; 5 ½ F—Exclusive Diva, 1:01.56, April 21; 6F—Polish Dollar, 1:08.09, April 20; 6 ½ F—Cat Von Diva, 1:15.52, May 11; 1M—El Gran Bebe, 1:39.12, May 4.