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Stakes winners to meet in $50,000 Hastings Handicap | Emerald Downs
The aptly named Class Included heads a field of eight older fillies and mares nominated to the $50,000 Hastings Handicap to be run Sunday, May 13 at Emerald Downs.
The Hastings at 6½ furlongs is the first of 30 stakes worth more than $1.5 million to be run at the 2012 meeting. Formerly run at six furlongs, the Hastings is first stop for older fillies and mares en route to the $65,000 Emerald Distaff at 1 1/8 miles on Longacres Mile Day on Aug. 19.
The track's dominant 3-year-old filly of 2011, Class Included made a seamless transition into the older filly and mare ranks April 21 with a one-length allowance victory in 1:02.18 for 5½ furlongs. A top performer around one turn or two, Class Included (by Include, A Classic Life) has never finished worse than second – 5-5-0 in 10 starts – and last year won both the Washington Oaks at Emerald Downs and the B.C. Oaks at Hastings Racecourse.
Two other stakes winning fillies up from the 3-year-old ranks – Carrabelle Harbor and Elusive Noise—figure to offer the stiffest challenges for Class Included. Carrabelle Harbor is a three-time stakes winner including the 2011 Kent Handicap over Class Included at 1 1/16 miles, and Elusive Noise led gate-to-wire in the 2011 Irish Day Handicap at one mile.
Caged Mistress, a 5-year-old Idaho-bred from Troy Taylor's powerful stable in Vancouver, is a multiple stakes winner at Portland Meadows and finished second to the heralded Wando Woman in the 2011 Vancouver Sun Handicap at Hastings Racecourse. In the latter event, the daughter of Ministers Wild Cat was ridden by Mario Gutierrez, who made headlines Saturday after riding I'll Have Another to victory in the 138th Kentucky Derby.
Evelyn's Dancer, the lone 3-year-old nominated, was stakes placed twice last fall in Southern California, and 4-year-old Special Holiday, recently purchased at the Bud Klokstad dispersal, that is 3-for-6 lifetime and won the 2011 California State Fair Sprint at Sacramento.
Michael Puhich now trains Caged Mistress and Evelyn's Dancer.
You Me and Ema B, the defending champion, was not nominated to this year's race but trainer Margo Lloyd said the 5-year-old You and I mare should be ready when the division reconvenes June 10 for the $50,000 Washington State Legislators Stakes.