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California invader hopes to disrupt local in $50,000 Auburn Handicap | Emerald Downs
For the Reporter
Already jam-packed with several top contenders, the 3-year-old male division added another first class competitor for Sunday's $50,000 Auburn Handicap at 6½ furlongs.
Disruption, trained by Blaine Wright for owner Heidi Nelson, makes his Emerald Downs in the Auburn following a pair of recent victories on Golden Gate Fields' synthetic Tapeta surface. A Florida-bred by Street Boss, Disruption hopes to upend a local contingent that includes three double stakes winners, and four runners that triumphed in their most recent start. Nevertheless, Wright said Disruption should fit right in with the Emerald Downs sophomores.
"My horse has run against some other pretty good horses," Wright said. "I'm confident he can run with this group."
Wright should know considering he's won at least one 3-year-old stakes race the past three seasons, including last year's Auburn Handicap with D'honorable One, who dead-heated with eventual Top 3-Year-Old Makors Finale in 1:14.53. Regardless, Wright knows how competitive this year's sophomore crop will be.
Assigned the high-weight at 121 pounds, Carving should be favored Sunday after impressing in his Emerald Downs debut, rallying past Music of My Soul for a 1½-length allowance victory in 1:09.74 for six furlongs. Carving has won two Southern California stakes races and nearly made the body of this year's Kentucky Derby.
Primed for a rematch, Music of My Soul looks to muster some of the September magic he displayed when capturing two stakes races, resulting in Top-2-Year-Old honors for trainer Doris Harwood and owner Ken Alhadeff's Elttaes Stable.
Despite his striking resume, Music of My Soul – a.k.a. Noosa Beach's little brother – might not be the best 3-year-old in the Harwood barn. Herman Sarkowsky's Forin Sea has won two straight including a superb performance against Finallygotabentley in an April 21 allowance race. After breaking slow and circling seven-wide in the turn, Forin Sea managed to reel in Finallygotabentley for a one-length victory 1:02.51 for 5½ furlongs. Tom Wenzel, trainer of Finallygotabentley, said he expects more from his Bernardini colt who has finished second in six-of-eight career races including two stakes events.
"I still believe that he's a better horse than he's shown," Wenzel said. "He's never really run a bad race, but he's never really laid his body down for me either."
• Julien Couton, currently seventh with 42 wins at Golden Gate, ships north to ride Disruption in the Auburn Handicap. A Native of France, Couton was aboard Disruption for both Golden Gate wins, and also has the mount Sunday on Showboat Gambler for trainer Doris Harwood in race six.
• Lorenzo Lopez has the mount on Mike Man's Gold for trainer David Martinez. Lopez last rode here in 2006 and had his best Emerald Downs season in 2001 when he finished 10th with 33 wins.
• Of the 11 nominations to the Auburn Handicap, only two*Bound to Win and Ankeny Hill*did not enter the race. Those two are entered in Sunday's eighth race, a $25,000 optional claimer race for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs.
• The Auburn Handicap goes as Race 9 at 6:09 p.m.
The field from the rail out for the $50,000 Auburn Handicap: Music of My Soul, David Lopez, 120 pounds; Disruption, Julien Couton, 118; Finallygotabentley, Juan Gutierrez, 118; Whistle Cat, Rocco Bowen, 114; Carving, Javier Matias, 121; Mike Man's Gold, David G. Lopez, 119; Forin Sea, Isaias Enriquez, 118; Cariboo Road, Debbie Hoonan, 119; He's Not Bluffin, Cassie Papineau, 116.
Makes Finale returns Saturday
All systems go for Makors Finale, as the 4-year-old colt headlines Saturday's superb $22,575 allowance feature for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs.
After missing the May 19 Governor's Handicap with a minor ailment, Makors Finale will use Saturday's race as a steppingstone to the one-mile Budweiser Handicap on Sunday, June 16.
"He had a foot issue but he's doing fine," trainer Tom Wenzel said of Makors Finale. "We had to pass on the Governor's, and thought we'd have to train up to the Budweiser on works."
Picking up where he left off last year, Makors Finale led gate-to-wire for a neck allowance victory April 28, running 5½ furlongs in 1:02.71 and defeating Winning Machine by a neck. The race was validated when third-place finisher Hoist returned to blitz an eight-horse field in the Governor's Handicap.
Voted Top 3-Year-Old Male and Top Washington-bred after winning a meet-high four stakes in 2012, Makors Finale later was named WTBOA Horse of the Year over stars like Music of My Soul, Hollywood Harbor and E Z Kitty. Perhaps even better around two turns than one, Makors Finale capped his 3-year-old campaign with sparkling triumphs in the Emerald Derby and Chinook Pass Stakes, winning the later event by a track record 15 lengths
Owned and bred by Karl Krieg, Makors Finale remains a full horse and Wenzel said the colt is not difficult to train.
"He's a bit more high-strung than a gelding might be, but for a big horse he's pretty well-behaved."
Rocky's Quest makes his 2013 debut in Saturday's feature, and unlike Makors Finale the gray son of Rockport Harbor put it all together after being gelded. Rocky's Quest was 5-2-1 in eight starts last year and earned honors as the meet's Top Claimer.
"He got sick this spring, and before this race came up we planned on training him into the Budweiser," trainer Blaine Wright said. "He's doing pretty good, but he's still got something to prove against these horses. He ran some big numbers last year, but not against these kind of horses."
Rocky's Quest has strong connections in his corner. Regular rider Juan Gutierrez is on pace for a second straight riding title, piling up 33 wins in the first 19 days, while Wright sports a sparkling 45 percent wins at the meet (nine-for-20). Combined they're an amazing 16-for-29 the last two years.
"Early this year, Juan committed to ride Rocky's Quest for the meet," Wright said. "He was really happy with the seven-eighths work (on May 27)."
• Jebrica also returns to action Saturday for trainer Jim Penney. Winner of the 2011 Emerald Derby, Jebrica is the horse on which Gary Stevens launched his latest comeback, finishing third in a one-mile turf race at Santa Anita in January.
• Polish Dollar – two-for-two this year and six-for-10 the last two seasons – gets a new rider Saturday as Cassie Papineau replaces Isaias Enriquez, who has the call on Jebrica. A 7-year-old gelding, Polish Dollar zipped the fastest six furlongs of the meeting, 1:08.09, in his season debut April 20.
• Liberty Cap is a new shooter for Mark Dedomenico and the North American Thoroughbred Racing Company Inc. A 5-year-old Street Cry gelding, Liberty Cap was stakes-placed three times at Calder Race Course and was claimed for $40,000 last November at Betfair Hollywood Park.
• Saturday's feature goes as Race 8 at 5:48 p.m.
The field from the rail out for Saturday's $22,575 allowance feature: Rocky's Quest, Juan Gutierrez, 120 pounds; Polish Dollar, Cassie Papineau, 120; Jebrica, Isaias Enriquez, 120; Makors Finale, Rocco Bowen, 122; Liberty Cap, Javier Matias, 120; Edge Forward, Ronald Richard, 120.
Weekly honors: Trainer - Tom Wenzel (top three finishers Seattle Handicap); lockey -Louis Zacherle (3-2-0-0, first Emerald Downs wins); owner - Two Putts for the Win Stable (2-2-0-0); groom - Faustino De Jesus (trainer Margaret Root); Washington-bred: Strategic Patience (breeder Mr. & Mrs. Don L. Munger) ... Northwest Farms goes for a hat trick in the Irish Day, as Exclusive Diva and Elusive Noise won the race in 2012 and 2011. ... Juan Gutierrez has a rare night off Friday, but is back to work Saturday with six mounts on the nine-race card. Gutierrez begins Week 7 with a 33-22 cushion on Isaias Enriquez and is on pace for a career-high 130 wins. ... 2-year-old racing begins Saturday, with a field of nine fillies racing 4½ furlongs for a $25,000 claiming price in race two. Jim Penney sends out Red Ran Back, a Closing Argument filly owned and bred by Mike and Amy Feuerborn, and Magic Gem, a Matty G filly owned and bred by Rick and Debbie Pabst. ... Chicks Special Angel aims for her ninth straight win in Saturday's 400-yard opener for allowance quarter horses. A 5-year-old Oregon-bred mare, Chicks Special Angel hasn't lost since July 15, 2011, at Prineville, Ore. She was awesome at Portland Meadows last fall, winning three straight 350 yard events by 3, 1 and 1¼ lengths. ... Quarter horse races are the first race all three cards this weekend. Friday's first is a $5,000 claimer for 3-year-olds and up at 300 yards, and the Sunday opener is a mixed race with three Thoroughbreds and three quarter horses at 870 yards.