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California invader faces Chu and You, 6 others in Seattle Handicap | Emerald Downs
For the Reporter
The march to the Washington Oaks begins Sunday when 3-year-old fillies race 6½ furlongs in the $50,000 Seattle Handicap at Emerald Downs.
A field of eight will battle in the Seattle, but California shipper City by the Bay and 2013 Emerald Downs' champion 2-Year-Old Filly Chu and You will garner most of the support.
City by the Bay is scheduled to make her first start since an 8½-length romp in the $100,000 Barretts Debutante Stakes at Fairplex Park last September. The City Zip filly handled the bullring beautifully, running 6½ furlongs in 1:17.94 to dominate a 10-horse field that included runners trained by Bob Baffert, Doug O'Neill, Jeff Bonde and Peter Miller.
Unbeaten in two starts overall for trainer Billy Morey, City by the Bay earned 71 and 75 Beyers last year, excellent numbers for a 2-year-old filly, and better figures than any of her competitors Sunday in the Seattle.
According to Morey, City by the Bay "sored up a bit" after the Fairplex race, but said she has trained well for her comeback, logging several quick drills on the Tapeta surface at Golden Gate Fields, capping the series with a half-mile in :48 Saturday. As for why he and owners Martin Bach and Jack Owens chose to come to Emerald Downs, Morey said a lack of sprint races for 3-year-old fillies is the reason.
"This race was good timing, it fits her schedule nicely," Morey said. "There aren't any races for 3-year-old fillies in southern or northern California. She's a talented filly."
City by the Bay was scheduled to arrive by van Thursday night and will be housed with Jeff Metz, although Morey will be on hand for the race.
In other Seattle Handicap developments:
• Chu and You, dominant while winning her first four races by a combined 20 lengths, seeks to rebound after two straight defeats. She finished fourth vs. males in her 2013 finale, and began 2014 with a sixth-place finish in the Ross McLeod at Hastings, although she did show her customary speed before fading. "She's been doing really good, she worked really nice coming into this race," trainer Robbie Baze said of Chu and You. "The rider said she couldn't handle the track very well (at Hastings). She kept fumbling around. She bobbled the break and then bobbled again out on the track. She wasn't very comfortable, so the rider just took care of her."
• The Seattle Handicap is race nine on a 10-race program; post time 6:09 p.m.
• Jockey Juan Hernandez, currently second with 93 wins at Golden Gate Fields, maintains the mount on City by the Bay. Neither Morey nor Hernandez has ever had a starter at Emerald Downs.
• The Press Box Podcast features race analysis and Robert Geller's live call of the Seattle Handicap. Go to emeralddowns.com 20 minutes before the race. The podcast also is archived one hour after the race on the track website.
The field for Sunday's $50,000 Seattle Handicap (from the rail out, with handicap weights): Belladiva, Ronald Richard, 116 pounds; Mylast Sweet Pea, Gallyn Mitchell, 115; Strawberry Dawn, Felipe Valdez, 117; Chu and You, Juan Gutierrez, 120; Just a Love, Leslie Mawing, 115; City by the Bay, Juan Hernandez, 119; Lotta Attitude, Isaias Enriquez, 118; Sunpenny, David G. Lopez, 116.
Dancing Yodeler debuts Sunday
The Emerald Racing Club springs into action Sunday when Dancing Yodeler makes his long-awaited Emerald Downs debut for trainers Larry and Sharon Ross in the eighth race. Felipe Valdez has the mount on the 6-year-old gelding in the $5,000/$4,000 claiming race at six furlongs.
For his first assignment, Dancing Yodeler lands in a competitive eight-horse field. Hip Hop City already is a double winner at the meet, and Snooper Dauper, Making Fire and Marvin's Magic also have wins here this season. Buddy Dave, meanwhile, has 13 career wins at Emerald Downs, Hard Slider has won five races at Emerald Downs, and Rezar has finished in-the-money 15 of 27 starts and adds the riding services of Juan Hernandez, currently second to Russell Baze in the Golden Gate jockeys' standings.
A California-bred by Swiss Yodeler, Dancing Yodeler was a rugged competitor in Northern California, compiling a 10-13-6 record in 54 starts with earnings of $102,816. He was acquired from a $3,200 claiming race April 4, and has served the mandatory 45-day period required when a claimed runner leaves Golden Gate Fields.
Boyd's small stable packing a wallop
In Thoroughbred racing, stables come in all shapes and sizes, and while owner/trainer Preston Boyd manages only three runners, his barn continues to make plenty of noise at Emerald Downs.
A 61-year-old Colville Tribesman, Boyd has been a frequent visitor in the Winner's Circle, most notably with Washington-bred gelding Chaching Pete, a resilient front-runner who won four races last season and was a contender for honors as Top Claimer.
This season, Boyd has the up-and-coming 3-year-old gelding My Chief, a son of Harbor the Gold that has shown oodles of talent in two romping wins this season. My Chief has earned strong Beyer Speed Figures-70 and 72-in the victories, and could be pointed toward the $50,000 Coca-Cola Handicap on Sunday, June 22.
"There's a good chance he could go in that race," Boyd said. "He's a nice horse and keeps getting better."
My Chief's regular rider, Louis Zacherle, and Boyd have been a stellar combination over the past two seasons. They are 3-for-5 together this season and 10-for-27 overall. That total also includes a win this season by Marvin's Magic, a 6-year-old gelding who goes for another victory Sunday in race eight.
A self-taught trainer, Boyd took out his license in 1970 and has trained several runners in the United States and Canada, sporting a career record of 37-33-22 in 154 starts and a sparkling 24 percent win rate. While modest about his operation, Boyd credits hard work and good advice for his success.
"I've always said, why be involved in racing if you can't do the work, and I love the work," Boyd said. "I've had a lot great mentors along the way, like (Washington Hall of Fame Trainer) Jim Penney. I listen to him more than he knows."
Away from the track, Boyd has been teaching and working in the social work field for the past 27 years. He is currently the Director of Child and Family Services for the Colville confederated Tribes. On off days, he usually can be found in the Winner's Circle at Emerald Downs.
Weekly honors: Jockey, Eliska Kubinova (13-4-4-2); trainer, Alan Bozell (6-3-0-1); owner, Remmah Racing Inc. (2-1-1-0); groom, Cesar Guillen Sanchez (Vince Gibson); Washington-bred, He's a Cruiser (breeder Pam & Vince Gibson). ... He's a Cruiser, Cha Cha Latte and Vegas Burn are tied for most wins at the meet with three apiece. Vegas Burn could break the tie with a victory in Friday's second race for $3,500 claimers at six furlongs. Five of the six horses entered already have wins at the meet. ... Gibson is on an 8-for-18 roll and needs three wins for 250 wins at Emerald Downs. ... Doris Harwood needs 11 wins to become only the fifth trainer with 500 wins at Emerald Downs. Harwood ranks No. 1 in stakes wins with 62, the latest coming with Noosito last Sunday in the Auburn Handicap. ... Incidentally, Noosito earned a career-high 80 Beyer in the Auburn-the exact same figure older brother Noosa Beach received for winning the 2009 Auburn Handicap. . . Showme Yourfriends, who earned an 84 Beyer while winning the 2011 Auburn at 50-to-1, runs for a $40,000 tag in Saturday's Santa Anita opener on the hillside turf course. ... Veteran trainer Allen Gideon returns to action Friday when he saddles Maggie's Special in the $14,800 feature race for $20,000/$18,000 claiming fillies and mares. The six-furlong race features Spot On Babe, two-for-two at the meet, facing Clemens Brook in a rematch of their May 2 showdown in which Spot On Babe prevailed by a half-length in 1:02.42 for 5½ furlongs. ...
Perfect weather is forecast this weekend at Emerald Downs: Friday-clear and 72; Saturday-clear and 76; Sunday-clear and 77. ... Emerald Downs track announcer Robert Geller appears with Aaron Levine on Q It Up Sports Sunday at 9:30 p.m. on KCPQ-13. Incidentally, Levine is slated to guest announce an Emerald Downs race next week during Guys Weekend. ... The season's first maiden special weight for 2-year-olds goes as Sunday's second, with six colts and geldings racing 4½ furlongs for a $17,850 purse. One Horse Will Do Corporation and trainer Chris Stenslie have two intriguing runners: Monster Wave is an $82,000 yearling by Stormy Atlantic-Carson City Babe, and Christmas Caballo is out of 12-for-26 dam Light of a Star, who in turn is out of the same mare (Mia F Eighteen) who produced 11-for-20 Summer Hit and 12-for-29 Starbird Road. ... 2013 Longacres Mile nominees Clubhouse Ride and Majestic City are among eight entered in Saturday's $200,000 Californian (Grade 2) at Santa Anita, while the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained Fury Kapcori aims to extend his four-race winning streak in the 1 1/8-mile race. ... 8-year-old Washington-bred mare Perfect Finish is up to 15 career wins and competing in New Mexico. One of nine winning progeny out of Share the Knight, Perfect Finish, who began her career at Emerald Downs in 2014, runs Sunday for a $7,500 tag at Ruidoso Downs.