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E Z Kitty defends title, 'Caviar set for debut in stakes | Emerald Downs
For the Reporter
It's round two for the older fillies and mares, and defending champion E Z Kitty appears primed and ready to preserve her title Sunday in the $50,000 Washington State Legislators Stakes at 6½ furlongs.
A 5-year-old mare by He's Tops, E Z Kitty held off Exclusive Diva for a two-length victory in the $50,000 Hastings Handicap on May 12. It was E Z Kitty's sixth career stakes win, but her first for trainer Jeff Metz and owner Bruce Maller of Incline Village, NV. The meet's leading trainer with16 wins, Metz said he expects another big effort from E Z Kitty.
"She's really been training well since her win in the Hastings," Metz said. "She breezed (five furlongs) the other day in :59 and change, and she did it very nice and easy. Our plan is just to play the break, and to let Anne (Sanguinetti) size things up. The nice thing about E Z Kitty is her versatility. She's got that high-cruising speed."
E Z Kitty takes on five other accomplished runners in Sunday's stakes. First and foremost is Exclusive Diva, the 4-year-old Bernardini filly with the red-hot Tom Wenzel/Northwest Farms connections n her corner. All they've done the last two weeks is sweep the top three places in the Seattle Handicap for 3-year-old fillies, and finish first with Finallygotabentley in the Auburn Handicap for 3-year-old colts and geldings.
Exclusive Diva has a good chance to make it three straight for Wenzel and Northwest Farms. A quadruple stakes winner at Emerald Downs, Exclusive Diva has already split two decisions with E Z Kitty this season, scoring by a neck in a 5 ½-furlong allowance race prior to the defeat in the six-furlong Hastings.
Champagneandcaviar could play the spoiler role. Voted Emerald Downs' Top 3-Year-Old Filly of 2012, the 4-year-old Van Nistelrooy filly makes her season debut for owner Fleur De Lis Stable and trainer Howard Belvoir. Although she might be at her best around two turns, Belvoir said Champagneandcaviar could be heard from Sunday, especially if E Z Kitty and Exclusive Diva go too fast up front.
"She's a little behind the other horses because she lost a little bit of training," Belvoir said. "But she has been training well, and she should be coming at the end."
Along with Plus One and Gosailgo, who made their Emerald Downs debuts in the Hastings, the Washington State Legislators Stakes also attracted Hastings shipper Castinette Dancer.
A Washington-bred by Ministers Wild Cat, Castinette Dancer has a sterling three-for-six record at 6 ½ furlongs and could get first jump if the leaders falter. Trainer Mike Puhich will saddle Castinette Dancer for owner Glen Todd, and that combination already clicked this season with Hoist in the Governor's Handicap for 3-year-olds and up.
• The Washington State Legislators Stakes is race eight Sunday, with post time 5:12 p.m.
• The No. 2 post-position has produced the most wins in the Washington State Legislators, four, while post-positions four and five have three wins apiece. The last horse to win from the outside post-position is Handy N Bold in 1998, when the race was for 3-year-old colts & geldings.
• Ema Bovary in 2003 is the last betting favorite to win the race: 2012-E Z Kitty ($24.60) defeats 11-to-10 favorite Class Included; 2011-Summers Peace ($22.60) prevails, 6-to-5 favorite Cliff's Secret finishes fifth; 2010-No Flies On Doodle ($6.60) edges 7-to-5 Hallelujah Trail; 2009-Gadget Queen ($14.60) defeats 3-to-10 High Resolve; 2008-Victorina ($6.40) romps as 3-to-5 Private Dreams finishes fifth; 2007-She's All Silk ($14.60) leads gate-to-wire, 2-to-1 favorite Kissntheboysgoodby is third; 2006-A Classic Life ($10.80) rallies to victory, 3-to-1 Sudden Departure finishes sixth; 2005-Marva Jean ($6.20) leads gate-to-wire, 8-to-5 Sariano finishes fourth; 2004-Aunt Sophie ($8) rallies from last to first, 7-to-10 Lasting Code finishes third.
The field from the rail out for the 18th running of the $50,000 Washington State Legislators Stakes: Plus One, David G. Lopez, 116 pounds; Castinette Dancer, Isaias Enriquez, 117; Gosailgo, Debbie Hoonan, 116; E Z Kitty, Anne Sanguinetti, 122; Champagneandcaviar, Javier Matias, 118; Exclusive Diva, Juan Gutierrez, 120.
Special 1:30 post time Sunday
Sunday's 11-race program, which begins with a quarter horse event, has a special 1:30 p.m. post time.
A total of 85 horses are entered on the card – 7.7 horses per race – including 10-horse fields in races five and 11, and nine-horse field in races two and nine. The $50,000 Washington State Legislators Stakes for older fillies and mares, featuring a rematch of E Z Kitty and Exclusive Diva, goes as race eight.
Brewer's Night starts Friday
Beginning Friday, and continuing every month throughout the season, Emerald Downs will feature fantastic beers from several of the area's top breweries.
The inaugural "Brewer's Night" on Friday features Northwest Brewing Company of Pacific, Wash., with $2.50 craft pounders and $1 hot dogs from 6 p.m. to 6:45 p.m.
Also, the big wheel will be spun after each race to determine other specials and prizes. Disc jockey Gary Mason will play music throughout the evening, and fans can enjoy food and beverages inside the beer garden located just north of the finish line.
To honor the night's main attraction, Emerald Downs has named the featured sixth race, The Northwest Brewing Company Brewer's Night Purse.
The remaining Brewer's Nights are July 12, August 4 and Sept. 6.
Advance wagering on Belmont Stakes
An overflow field of 14 runners, including Kentucky Derby winner Orb and Preakness winner Oxbow, compete in Saturday's 145th running of the 1½-mile Belmont Stakes. The Belmont will be simulcast at Emerald Downs with post time 3:36 p.m.
The Belmont card features a $1,000,000 guaranteed Pick 6 (races 6-11) and a $1,000,000 guaranteed Pick 4 (races 8-11), both culminating with the Belmont Stakes.
Advance wagering on Belmont Park's entire Saturday card will be offered Friday, including a special Daily Double from the Brooklyn Handicap (race 10 Friday) to the Belmont Stakes.
Gates open at 8 a.m. Saturday. Emerald Downs' first live race is 2 p.m., with the Belmont Stakes between races four and five.
Carrabelle Harbor heads Saturday feature
Triple stakes winner Carrabelle Harbor leads a talented field of five older fillies and mares into Saturday's 6½-furlong feature race for $32,000 optional claimers.
A 5-year-old Oregon-bred by Harbor the Gold, Carrabelle Harbor looks to snap a nine-race winless streak that dates back to July 2011, when she upset Class Included in the $50,000 Kent Handicap.
Despite not reaching the Winner's Circle, Carrabelle Harbor has run several sharp races and comes off a strong runner-up effort to Sis's Sis in a May 18 optional claiming race at 5½ furlongs. Trainer Doris Harwood said Saturday's race is the perfect condition for Carrabelle Harbor to rediscover her winning ways.
"She's right where she belongs," Harwood said. "She's been training well and I love the (No. 4) post-position. She should run a good race."
The race is far from a tap-in, however, as both Royal Moses and Maggie's Special are hard-hitters at the level and enter the race in top form.
A deep closer, Royal Moses has finished second in five stakes at Emerald Downs and rallied furiously to miss by a head in a $32,000 claimer at 6 ½ furlongs on May 26. Maggie's Special finished fourth in the same race but might have been too close to the pace. A 6-year-old by Spiker, Maggie's Special is established at the level and two of her three career wins are at 6 ½ furlongs.
Inquiry Miss, riding a two-race winning streak, and Solar Wind round out the field.
The field from the rail out for Saturday's $18,900 feature race for older fillies and mares: Royal Moses, Javier Matias, 123 pounds; Inquiry Miss, Rocco Bowen, 117; Solar Wind, Juan Gutierrez, 119; Carrabelle Harbor, Isaias Enriquez, 119; Maggie's Special, Eliska Kubinova, 119.
Weekly honors: Trainer - Vince Gibson (2-2-0-0); jockey - Debbie Hoonan (19-6-4-3); owner - Crystal Ridge Farm (3-2-0-0); groom - Carlos Viveros-Cardenas (trainer Robbie Baze); Washington-bred: Tinkerbelle Tops (breeder C.E. Rich & Ann Richardson) ... With a victory in Sunday's seventh race, Olympic Lights would move into sole possession of second place on the track's all-time win list with 17 wins. Already two-for-two at the meet, the 9-year-old is tied with Market Master and Bob Stories at 16 wins apiece. A $10,000/$8,000 claimer for 3-year-olds and up, the six-furlong dash drew a field of eight including current Vic-Tory Stables runner He's All Heart vs. former Vic-Tory Stables runner Chaching Pete. ... Sunday's 10th race sub-feature is an $18,900 allowance-optional claimer for 3-year-olds, featuring Southern Solution shooting for his third win of the meet while making his first start for new trainer Roy Lumm, and Indy Racer, a new shooter for the Karl Krieg/Tom Wenzel connection. A Krieg homebred by Rosberg/Miss Raisor Sharp, Indy Racer was 2-0-1 in five starts at Turf Paradise this winter/spring for trainer Valorie Lund. ... Jockey of the Week Debbie Hoonan won all three quarter horse events last week and is on pace to break Connie Doll's track record of four Quarter Horse wins set in 2011. ... The jockey/trainer combination of Juan Gutierrez and Robbie Baze is 6-for-16 at the meet with a $4.42 ROI. ... Several members of the Legends Football League Seattle Mist will be at Emerald Downs on Friday to promote the July 6 contest vs. Minnesota Valkryie at the ShoWare Center. ... EmD fastest times (through May 27): 4½ F: Tinkerbelle Tops :51.57, June 1; 5F: Seattle Game :56.80, April 27; 5½ F: Exclusive Diva 1:01.56, April 21; 6F: Polish Dollar 1:08.09, April 20; 6½ F: Stopshoppingdebbie 1:14.41, Seattle Handicap, May 26; 1M Showmethemoneyjim,1:36.72, June 1.