I'm heading out to Emerald Downs tonight to kick off the Memorial Day weekend with an eight race card at the Auburn, Washington oval. The weather in the Seattle area appears to be holding (for the time being), and it looks like we'll have a dry, fast race track tonight. Of course, in Seattle, you've always got to handicap for the possibility of rain.
A few thoughts on tonight's card:
- Trainer Charles Essex has a nice looking first time starter in the opening race, 3-Irrepressible (7/2); over the last five years at Emerald Downs, Essex is 4-for-36 with first timers in maiden races (he's 9-for-57 at all tracks). Irrepressible comes into the first race ($7.5k Maiden Claimers, WA-breds) off of a series of nice, consistent morning works and could have a decent chance at early success.
While I like the looks of Irrepressible, I don't care much for one of the other firsters, 7-Play for Double (9/2). Trainer Dan Markle is just 1-for-26 with firsters at Emerald over the last five years and Play for Double sports a big gap in his morning works, something I never like to see with a first time starter. Play for Double started working for the first time in 2011 on March 27th and followed up with a consistent pattern all the way to April 23rd (including 2 successive gate drills). Then he sat around and didn't put in a published work until May 21st, almost an entire month later. I don't know the reason for the month gap, but if I had to guess, this colt probably dealt with a fitness issue. Combine the gap in works with a 9/2 ML and I'll pass on this firster.
- The second half of the early Double is a $2,500 beaten claimer (no wins since 4/1 or never won 4 lifetime) at a mile distance. 4-Waver Her On (8/5), the morning line favorite, takes a price cut from $5k to $2.5k but is stretching out to a mile, a distance that she's 0-for-7 lifetime at.
6-Red Neck Patty (6/1) has run well at the distance in the past (5-3-1-0) but struggled badly in her debut at Emerald in early May.
3-Primadonna Pearl (3/1) appears to offer the best of both worlds: she's won previously at the distance, along with prior success over the surface at Emerald Downs. She's got a touch of tactical speed in her corner and she fits in well at the class level.
2-Jasmine's Melody (5/2) is a first-time-off-the-claim entry for Harwood in the 5th race on the card, an open company $10,000 claiming race at six furlongs. It's a tough spot for this filly as she's jumping up from open company $7.5k to open $10k. She'll also have to deal with 6-Touch of Elegance (9/5), a speedy import from Turf Paradise that has dominated in her first two starts at the meet.