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Washington Cup X features 6 races worth $215,000 | Emerald Downs
Washington-bred runners take center stage as Emerald Downs presents Washington Cup X – six stakes worth $215,000 – on Sunday.
Cup events are races three through eight on a nine-race program with first post 2:15 p.m.
Perfect weather conditions are expected to rule the day – clear and 70 degrees – a sharp contrast to last year's event held on a rainy, 60-degree afternoon over a sloppy track.
Makors Finale and Mike Man's Gold, almost certain to be voted divisional honors in two weeks, can add to their illustrious 2012 campaigns with Cup victories, while former champions Sweet Nellie Brown, Sis's Sis, Have'n a Wild Time, Our Eagle Boy and Brady's Kat all attempt to become multiple Washington Cup winners.
A closer look at the races:
$40,000 Muckleshoot Tribal Classic
Couldabenthewhisky could have momentum on his side Sunday in the $40,000 Muckleshoot Tribal Classic for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles.
The 4-year-old old Harbor the Gold gelding snapped an eight-race winless streak with a neck victory over Rocky's Quest in the $30,250 Longacres Mile Consolation, a triumph that co-owner Craig Fredrickson ranked among his biggest in racing.
"That was a thrill to win on Longacres Mile Day," he said. "(The Muckleshoot Tribal Classic) will be a tough race, but (trainer) Bonnie Jenne's experience and hard work should help us. We'll need all the help we can get, but I think we've got a great shot in there."
Couldabenthewhisky has several points in his favor Sunday. The Mile Consolation, run in a meet-best 1:13.75 for 6½ furlongs, already has produced two next-out winners – Rocky's Quest and Polish Dollar – and Jenne is among the best conditioners in Washington Cup history with four wins including Classic triumphs by Mr. Makah (2005) and Colony Lane (2003).
Couldabenthewhisky also has had success routing, compiling a 1-1-0 record at 1-1/16 miles including a five-length romp in the 2010 Gottstein Futurity that clinched honors as Top Juvenile Male.
Jim Penney, tied for first all-time with five Washington Cup victories, sends out 4-year-olds Kooky Saluki and Jebrica. Kooky Saluki has given KOMO-4 news anchor Dan Lewis plenty to cheer about with three wins at the meet including consecutive triumphs in $32,000 claiming races at one mile. The stretch-running Jebrica looks to rebound from an eighth-place finish in the Longacres Mile, and has proven two-turn ability, winning the 2011 Emerald Downs Derby and the 2011 BC Premiers Handicap vs. older horses at Hastings Racecourse.
Our Eagle Boy is likely to be the biggest price on the board, but the 4-year-old gelding scored an 8-to-1 surprise in the 2011 Washington Cup, leading gate-to-wire while winning the Chinook Pass Stakes on a sloppy track.
RACE 3: $40,000 Muckleshoot Tribal Classic, 3YO & UP, 1 1/16 mile
Horse, trainer, jockey
1. Kooky Saluki, Jim Penney, Javier Matias
2. Jebrica, Jim Penney, Juan Gutierrez
3. Couldabenthewhisky, Bonnie Jenne, Leslie Mawing
4. Our Eagle Boy, Chris Stenslie, Jose Zunino
$35,000 Chinook Pass Stakes
On paper this is the biggest mismatch of Washington Cup X. Makors Finale (pictured) already has locked up the division title as Top 3-Year-Old Male, and another big victory would make the colt a legitimate contender for Horse of the Meeting.
Makors Finale won three of four open stakes for 3-year-olds this season, capped by a dramatic half-length victory over Italian Boy in the 1 1/8-mile Emerald Downs Derby. Ridden by Rocco Bowen, Makors Finale took control early and refused to give way in the lane and prevailed in 1:48.48.
Owned and bred by Karl Krieg of Oak Harbor, Makors Finale is 5-4-0 in 11 career starts with earnings of $135,852.
"This horse is what all of us dream about," Krieg said. "He's been a terrific horse. It's been a great meet.
"We thought about running him at Hastings (in the BC Derby) but he belongs down here for you people to watch him run. He'll be back next year and will be groomed to go for the Longacres Mile."
Tom Wenzel, trainer of Makors Finale, has been excellent in stakes races this season with a 6-6-1 mark in 19 starts.
Brady's Kat, claimed for $25,000 in his most recent start, captured the 2011 Dennis Dodge Stakes at Washington Cup IX, rallying from 10 lengths back for a $22.80 upset on a sloppy track.
RACE 4: $35,000 Chinook Pass Stakes, 3YO Colts & Geldings, 1 mile
Horse, trainer, jockey
1. Brady's Kat, Tim McCanna, Leonel Camacho-Flores
2. Tough Road Ahead, Charles Essex, Eliska Kubinova
3. Popular Pick, Robert Meeking, Javier Matias
4. Makors Finale, Tom Wenzel, Rocco Bowen
5. Faster Than Duke, Larry Ross, Leslie Mawing
$35,000 Dennis Dodge Stakes
Mike Man's Gold, like Makors Finale a race earlier, can add another chapter to a superior season with a victory in the $35,000 Dennis Dodge Stakes for 2-year-old colts & geldings.
A Keith & Jan Swagerty homebred by Liberty Gold-Chedoodle, Mike Man's Gold is three-for-three lifetime including a half-length victory in the six-furlong Premio Esmeralda Stakes and a head victory in the 6½ furlong WTBOA Lads Stakes.
Those victories gained added luster last week when Finallygotabentley, a Bernardini colt Mike Man's Gold has defeated all three times, earned the meet's biggest Beyer for a 2-year-old colt or gelding, 71, while breaking his maiden in 1:08.87 for six furlongs.
"I love this horse," Keith Swagerty said of Mike Man's Gold. "I thought he was good, but he's only won by a head and a half-length, so it's going to be a tough race. The way he ran his last race, he showed he was like (half-sister) No Flies On Doodle."
Speaking of relatives, Noosa Beach's little brother, Music of My Soul, continues to progress nicely for trainer Doris Harwood. Purchased for $82,000 by Elttaes Stable (Ken Alhadeff), Music of My Soul has improved in all three of his races and nearly caught Mike Man's Gold in the WTBOA Lads Stakes, missing by a head after breaking a step slow.
This race salutes the beloved Daily Racing Form handicapper/columnist who died Sept. 9, 2008, meaning this year's renewal will be held on the four-year anniversary of Mr. Dodge's death.
RACE 5: $35,000 Dennis Dodge Stakes, 2YO Colts & Geldings, 6 furlongs
Horse, trainer, jockey
1. Music of My Soul, Doris Harwood, Leslie Mawing
2. Cariboo Road, Dan Markle, Debbie Hoonan
3. Rhinghals, Howard Belvoir, Jennifer Whitaker
4. Mike Man's Gold, David Martinez, Javier Matias
5. Ethan's Way, Howard Belvoir, Juan Gutierrez
6. Master's Bluff, David Bennett, Rocco Bowen
$35,000 John & Kitty Fletcher Stakes
Talk to My Lawyer apparently prefers the late summer and early fall to do her best running. Last year, the Lawyer Ron filly beat the boys in the Gottstein Futurity on closing day, and this year Talk to My Lawyer seems to be finding her best stride heading into Sunday's $35,000 John & Kitty Fletcher Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.
Talk to My Lawyer finished second despite a very rough trip in an optional claimer at six furlongs on August 26, and the chestnut filly routed extremely well last year as a 2-year-old. Trained by Chris Stenslie for Will This One Do Stable, Talk to My Lawyer is 2-4-1 in 10 starts and leads the field in earnings with $70,840.
Sweet Saga and Royal Moses are veteran stakes performers at Emerald Downs, the former winning the 2011 Barbara Shinpoch over Talk to My Lawyer while the latter has two seconds and two fourths in four stakes outings this season.
River of Aces is a triple winner at the meet and might be the horse to catch while stretching out in the Fletcher. Wild Chica will be tested for class, but also has speed and finished a close second in the 2011 Diane Kem Stakes.
RACE 6: $35,000 John & Kitty Fletcher Stakes, 3YO Fillies, 1 mile
Horse, trainer, jockey
1. Call Me Cinderella, Larry Ross, Juan Gutierrez
2. Royal Moses, Tim Harder, Javier Matias
3. Sweet Saga, Larry Ross, Debbie Hoonan
4. Whiskey Miner, Neil Knapp, Leslie Mawing
5. Talk to My Lawyer, Chris Stenslie, Jennifer Whitaker
6. River of Aces, Charles Essex, Eliska Kubinova
7. Wild Chica, Warlock Stables, Tim McCanna
$35,000 Diane Kem Stakes
The $35,000 Diane Kem Stakes for 2-year-old fillies might be the most difficult race for handicappers on the Washington Cup card. Valid Vixen Queen, winner of the Son of Briartic Stakes and third in the Angie C Stakes, could cap an excellent season for veteran trainer Neil Knapp.
"Anything you'd like to teach a horse, she already knew," Knapp said. "She's a great horse, and I think she'll be really tough in this race. I think she's got a little more in the tank, but we'll find out."
Owned and bred by Vixen Queen Sandy Corp. (Joseph Nassif), Valid Vixen Queen is 1-0-2 in three starts with earnings of $22,498. By Harbor the Gold-Valid Princess, Valid Vixen Queen has three strong works since her last race topped by six furlongs in a bullet 1:14-3/5.
Madame Pele has raced only once, finishing a close second to Hot Date in a $25,000 maiden claiming race, and she has great connections in trainer Jim Penney and jockey Juan Gutierrez. The meet's leading rider with 100 wins, Gutierrez ranks No. 1 all-time with 12 Washington Cup wins.
RACE 7: $35,000 Diane Kem Stakes, 2YO Fillies, 6 furlongs
Horse, trainer, jockey
1. Roveing Patrol, Don Munger, Leonel Camacho-Flores
2. Madame Pele, Jim Penney, Juan Gutierrez
3. Kissing Ruby, Doris Harwood, Leslie Mawing
4. Go Jackie Go, Tim McCanna, Eliska Kubinova
5. Valid Vixen Queen, Neil Knapp, Debbie Hoonan
6. My Cadi, John A. Holmes, Rocco Bowen
7. Dakota Demon, Debbie Van Horne, Jose Zunino
8. Blast'sdoubledeuce, David Martinez, Javier Matias
9. Say Say, David Martinez, Jorge Rosales
$35,000 Belle Roberts Stakes
The track's dominant older filly or mare, Kentucky-bred Class Included, is ineligible for the $35,000 Belle Roberts Stakes and instead races Sunday at Hastings Racecourse. Nevertheless, trainer Jim Penney holds a strong hand with three of the seven runners: defending champion Sweet Nellie Brown, multiple stakes winner Sis's Sis and stakes-placed Private Fortune.
This race also features three former Washington Cup winners: Sweet Nellie Brown, 2011 Belle Roberts; Sis's Sis, 2010 John & Kitty Fletcher Stakes, and Have'n a Wild Time, 2009 Diane Kem Stakes.
The 2009 Kem is one of the more famous Washington Cup races as 3-to-10 favorite Knight Raider*with over $150,000 wagered on her to show*tired in the final yards to finish fourth and nearly caused the tote board to short circuit. Have'n a Wild Time, runner-up Private Fortune and third-place Pistolpackin'gal returned show prices of $187, $108.60 and $156.40, still the biggest show payoffs in track history.
RACE 8: $35,000 Belle Roberts, 3YO & UP Fillies & Mares, 1 1/16 miles
Horse, trainer, jockey
1. Private Fortune, Jim Penney, Eliska Kubinova
2. Sweet Nellie Brown, Jim Penney, Javier Matias
3. Seventyprcentcocoa, Blaine Wright, Rocco Bowen
4. Bobbylouie, Diane Garrison, Debbie Hoonan
5. Cielator, Junior Coffey, Leslie Mawing
6. Have'n a Wild Time, Bonifacio Rayas, Leonel Camacho-Flores
7. Sis's Sis, Jim Penney, Juan Gutierrez