STOPSHOPPINGDEBBIE CAN EXTEND STREAK TO EIGHT,
NW FARMS' SUPERSTAR FILLY RUNS SUNDAY IN BOEING
She’s won seven races at six different distances, including six straight stakes events. That’s called versatility.
She’s also got more wins than any other undefeated horse in North America. That’s called perfection.
Sunday, Stopshoppingdebbie—7-for-7 with earnings of $183,773—places her undefeated mark on the line in the $50,000 Boeing Handicap for older fillies and mares at one mile.
With a victory, the 4-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Curlin-Taste the Passion would tie the track record of seven consecutive stakes wins set by Ropersandwranglers during the 1996-98 seasons at Emerald Downs.
High-weighted at 123 lbs, Stopshoppingdebbie stretches out following wins in the six-furlong Hastings Handicap and 6 ½-furlong Washington State Legislators Stakes. She routed beautifully last year, scoring stakes wins in the one-mile Irish Day Handicap, 1 1/16-mile Kent Handicap and 1 1/8-mile Washington Oaks.
Trainer Tom Wenzel, who also saddles Goin to the Window and Blueberry Smoothie in the Boeing, is confident Stopshoppingdebbie is ready for Sunday’s assignment. And even if she does get beat, he still has a good chance of being the winning trainer.
“I hope the streak keeps going, I really do,” Wenzel said. “But they all get beat sooner or later. Even the best ones do. Stopshoppingdebbie, even with how good she’s looked, if she had a tough day, ‘Window could get her.”
In fact, Goin to the Window has nearly tagged her unbeaten stable mate twice, missing by a head in the 2013 Kent Handicap and by a half-length in the June 15 Washington State Legislators Stakes. In the latter race, opinions vary as to whether Goin to the Window was ever going to pass Stopshoppingdebbie, and Wenzel said jockey Rocco Bowen might have eased off the gas after Stopshoppingdebbie opened a 1-½ length lead in mid-stretch.
“Part of it was that Rocco tried to take care of her a little bit down the lane and didn’t ask for her maximum,” Wenzel said. “The other part is that ‘Window was running at her and ran one of her better races this time. I think maybe Rocco backed off the throttle a little bit. If you look at the gallop out after the race, Debbie still looked like she had her. ‘Window almost got her one time last year, so I have to give her credit too.”
The Boeing is the final race before the championship Emerald Distaff at 1 1/8 miles on Sunday, August 24. After that, if all goes well, Jerre Paxton (Northwest Farms) is on record saying Stopshoppingdebbie would be pointed to a season-ending campaign in California, perhaps even a Breeders’ Cup race.
· Entries for the Boeing Handicap will be drawn Thursday.
· Odds-on favorites are only 1-for-5 in the Boeing Handicap, and coincidentally the only odds-on choice to prevail was Ropersandwranglers at 0.80-to-1 in 1998.
· Complete Boeing Handicap coverage is available on the Press Box Podcast, 30 minutes before post time. Go to http://emeralddowns.com to listen live!
· Nominations for Sunday’s $50,000 Boeing Handicap (with handicap weight): Stopshoppingdebbie, 123 lbs; Goin to the Window, 118; Blueberry Smoothie, 117; Madame Pele, 116; Tabled With Gold, 115, and Havasu Falls, 113.
FIREWORKS SPECTACULAR, PRESENTED BY CARL’S JR.
The annual Fireworks Spectacular Presented by Carl’s Jr. follows Thursday’s nine-race program, which features a special first post of 4:30 p.m.
Renowned as one of the top fireworks shows in the Pacific Northwest, the Fireworks Spectacular caps a day-long extravaganza of fun and frolic that includes a concert by rising Nashville country/western stars Chasin’ Crazy.
Gates open at 9:45 a.m. admission is only $7 for adults and children 17 and under will be admitted free. Perfect 73-degree weather is forecast, with less than a 10 percent chance of rain.
He's a Cruiser looks for his sixth straight victory in Thursday's feature race.
STREAKING HE’S A CRUISER HEADS THURSDAY FEATURE
The 2014 meeting reaches the halfway point Sunday, and already He’s a Cruiser has equaled the mark for most wins at 11 of the 18 previous seasons at Emerald Downs.
With five straight wins, the 5-year-old gelding already has tied 2013 wins leaders Kind of Naughty and Southern Solution, who each won five races at last year’s 75-day meeting.
Thursday, He’s a Cruiser can take another step toward Halonator’s single-season mark of eight wins when he faces four tough rivals in the $14,800 feature race for $20,000 claimers at one mile.
A victory would make He’s a Cruiser only the seventh horse in Emerald Downs’ history to win at least six races in a season—and again, the season isn’t even 50 percent finished.
“He’s ready,” trainer Vince Gibson said of He’s a Cruiser. “He came out of his last race good, he should be tough.”
During the win streak, He’s a Cruiser has racked up three wins at six furlongs and two at Thursday’s one-mile distance. The $20,000 claiming price is a season high, following wins at $15,000 (twice), $10,000, $7,500 and $5,000.
Assessment, a fast closing second to He’s a Cruiser on June 21, is enjoying a renaissance for owner/trainer Howard Belvoir and appears the top threat Thursday. A victory would move the 10-year-old gelding into No. 2 all-time in Emerald Downs’ earnings with $465,430. Noosa Beach currently ranks second with $465,305.
The field for Thursday’s $14,800 feature race from the rail out: Assessment, Gallyn Mitchell, 117 lbs, 2-1; He’s a Cruiser, Leslie Mawing, 120, 7-5; Surfliner, Ronald Richard, 120, 5-1; Dare Me Devil, David G. Lopez, 120, 9-2; Chu and I, Jennifer Whitaker, 119, 5-1.
“BREAKFAST AT THE WIRE” DEBUTS SATURDAY
Breakfast at the Wire—an informal gathering of horsemen and race fans on Track Level just south of the track’s finish line—begins this Saturday.
Mazzuca will explain the daily morning routine of horses, and also introduce and point out local racing celebrities. Participants that arrive to the paddock gate by 9 a.m. also receive free admission to the day’s races.
Created by Account Executive Vicki Potter, Breakfast at the Wire also provides an opportunity to enjoy a low-cost breakfast. For $6 (cash only), attendees will have two breakfast options—scrambled eggs, bacon and hash browns or scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy—and free coffee, courtesy of Kent’s Rad Roasting Company.
NOTES: Weekly honors: Jockey-David G. Lopez (10-3-2-0); Co-trainer-Neil Knapp (7-4-2-1) & Jim Penney (6-4-0-2); Owner: Todd & Shawn Hansen (4-2-0-0); Groom-Lisa Martin (trainer Knapp); Washington-bred-Mr. Top Kat (breeder John Konecny & Doris Konecny). . .Reminder: Emerald Downs offers live racing on Friday, July 4, with post time 2 p.m. . .Washington Hall of Fame trainer Jim Penney, who celebrates his 80th birthday Friday, has won with four of his last six starters, including Find Your Spot’s victory Sunday in the $50,000 Irish Day Handicap for 3-year-old fillies. . .Speaking of veteran trainers, 90-year-old Don Munger has been a force on Independence Day at Emerald Downs, winning at least once each of the last two Fourth of Julys. He has a good chance to extend the streak with three horses entered Friday: Brats Brat in race one, Debauch in the fourth, and Spit and Shine in race six. . .Trainer Marcie Riley, who compiled a 4-3-2 record in 31 starts here last year, is back at Emerald Downs, and starts full brothers Kanya Win in Thursday’s ninth race and Real Premium in Friday’s fourth race. . .Mr. Bowling ($6.60) defeated 7-to-10 favorite Title Contender by a half-length Tuesday in the $50,000 Lieutenant Governor’s Handicap for 3-year-olds and up at Hastings Racecourse. Runner-up to Stryker Phd in the June 15 Budweiser Handicap, Mr. Bowling ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.22. Madeira Park in the Monashee for older fillies and mares, Arabella’s Muse in the Supernaturel for 3-year-old fillies and Koffee Grinder in the Chris Loseth for 3-year-olds, also won stakes in Vancouver on Canada Day. . . Unbeaten Shared Belief, co-owned by George Todaro of Seattle, runs in Saturday’s $500,000 Los Alamitos Derby (G2) at 1 1/8 miles. . .Portland Meadows has announced a 36-day live racing schedule for 2014-15, beginning October 12 and concluding February 15, with racing Wednesdays and Sundays.