I spent a beautiful Seattle afternoon at Emerald Downs yesterday and was able to watch some excellent racing, including a couple of very nice fillies dominating over-matched rivals. The Emerald Downs Derby was the feature race of the day but, in my view, it was a juvenile filly that might have been the most impressive winner on the day.
In race 4, Stopshoppingdebbie, a first time starter by Curlin out of Wild Again mare (Taste the Passion), blew away her rivals in a 5 1/2 furlong Maiden Special Weight, winning by seven lengths while racing in hand under Juan Gutierrez. Stopshoppingdebbie earned a 69 Beyer for her debut win and probably has a lot of room to move forward as she begins to stretch out later on in the year. She's a fairly stout and stocky filly, at least from my untrained eye from the box seats, so I'm not sure if she's going to run a long way. But if she even makes a modest improvement over the next few months she'll could be one of the top juveniles at the track.
Trainer Tom Wenzel is just killing it with first time starters and two-year-olds at Emerald right now; prior to yesterday's win by Stopshoppingdebbie, Wenzel was hitting at an obscene 45% with first time starters (10-for-22) with a $3.80 ROI. With two-year-olds, he's winning at a 35% clip with a $1.81 ROI, suggesting that his juveniles (like Stopshoppingdebbie yesterday) are getting hammered at the windows.
In the eighth race, three-year-old filly Smokin' Grey continued her strong form with a 7 1/4 length win as the even money favorite in an Allowance/OC event at six furlongs. A daughter of Smoke Glacken out of a Devil's Bag mare (Bag of Stars), Smokin' Grey has won three straight races for trainer Frank Lucarelli and will likely step up to stakes company in her next start.
Smokin' Grey earned a 71 preliminary Beyer for her win yesterday.
Wenzel's day got even better when Makors Finale won the Emerald Downs Derby in race 9 on the card in a gutsy gate-to-wire win over Italian Boy and favorite D'honorable One.
Makors Finale, breaking from the rail, went right to the lead in order to prevent Italian Boy from repeating his front-running performance in from the Seattle Slew Handicap on July 15th. The early fractions were fast (22.73, 45.89 and 1:10.08) but Makors Finale kept finding more run in the lane and
Makors Finals earned a preliminary Beyer figure of 81 for his win in the Emerald Downs Derby.
In other racing action around the country:
- The G2-Adirondack and G2-Saratoga Special almost looked like carbon-copies of each other. Both races saw the favorite set the pace through quick fractions and then an almost lumbering grind to the finish. In the Adirondack, heavy favorite Kauai Katie went 21.77, 23.16 and 31.88 over the six and a half furlong race. In the Saratoga Special, Spurious Precision went 21.35 (!), 22.67 and 32.51. Kauai Katie earned a preliminary Beyer of 84, while Spurious Precision earned an 88.
- Huge prices were rolling home at Del Mar yesterday with winners paying $34.40, $17.60, $11.40, $20.60, $87.60, $95.40, $8.00, $15.00 and $40.40. Oddly enough, there is a Pick Six carryover of $240,681 and a Pick Five carryover of $362,503. However, the Late Pick 4 was correctly hit and paide $38,362.60 for a $0.50 play. That's some serious change.
The Daily Double for races 6 and 7 ($87.60 and $95.40 winners) paid a whopping $5,182.80 for $2.
- It's Million Week at Arlington Park and Longacres Mile week at Emerald Downs. Entries and post positions for both of those events will be drawn on Wednesday afternoon.
The nominations for the Million Day card are, as usual, quite strong.
2012 Beverly D. Nominations
2012 Arlington Million Nominations