Harwood saddles four in $50,000 Coca-Cola Handicap | Emerald Downs

Noosito, scoring a big victory in the May 25 Auburn Handicap, could become the third progeny of Harbor the Gold-Julia Rose to win the $50,000 Coca-Cola Handicap in Sunday
Noosito, scoring a big victory in the May 25 Auburn Handicap, could become the third progeny of Harbor the Gold-Julia Rose to win the $50,000 Coca-Cola Handicap in Sunday's 19th edition of the one-mile race for 3-year-old colts & geldings.
— image credit: Courtesy photo/Erin Palmer, Emerald Downs

For the Reporter

Trainer Doris Harwood has feasted on the Coca-Cola Handicap in recent seasons at Emerald Downs. The track's all-time leader with 62 stakes victories, Harwood has saddled four of the last six winners of the race, including a gate-to-wire victory last year by Music of My Soul.

Sunday, Harwood saddles four of the nine runners in the $50,000 Coca-Cola Handicap for 3-year-olds at one mile, including probable betting favorites Noosito and Del Rio Harbor.

Coming off a five-length romp in the 6½-furlong Auburn Handicap, Noosito could become the third full brother to win the Coca-Cola. A Washington-bred by Harbor the Gold-Julia Rose, Noosito has identical bloodlines to Noosa Beach (2009) and Music of My Soul (2013), who both led all the way in the Coca-Cola.

In the Auburn, Noosito got the jump on Del Rio Harbor and poured it on for a decisive score over Mebossman. The victory squared the in-stable rivalry with Del Rio Harbor at two wins apiece, a match-up that began last year in the WTBOA Lads Stakes.

"Noosito ran like (Noosa Beach) was my first thought of his last race," Harwood said. "Down the lane, when he separated himself and just had that acceleration at the end of his first race of the year, I thought, 'wow.'

"He didn't surprise me with his talent, but that he was ready to show it off in his first race back, that was kind of surprising. I thought he had the ability, but I didn't expect that he was going to wipe them out like he did."

Del Rio Harbor, the track's Top 2-Year-Old Male and a triple stakes winner last year, seeks to rebound in the Coca-Cola. In his only previous two-turn race, Del Rio Harbor scored impressively in last year's Gottstein Futurity.

"Del Rio Harbor is so kind," Harwood said. "He's nice for the exercise rider. He's nice all the time. But when Isaias Enriquez asked him not to go through the hole (in the Auburn), he just came back to him, and he took a couple lengths out of the horse. So he ran third and I think he should've run second, and I think that's what it cost us."

Gallyn Mitchell rides Del Rio Harbor Saturday, with Enriquez slated to ride Kenai King.

All four Harwood runners are Washington-breds by Harbor the Gold.

"Kenai King is bred for the distance, he's already run three races, and he's fit. His owners wanted to see where he fits with the top 3-year-olds and I told them that I think he's earned an opportunity to show if he fits with the stakes group. Trick or Retreat is in the same category as Kenai King. He's looking to see where he fits. He's coming off a nice maiden win.

"I've had three horses in a race before, but I don't think I've had four," Harwood added. "I can't watch them all at the same time, so I'll have to watch a lot of reruns. Once they come down the lane, I'll be able to focus in a little more on each of my horses."

• The Coca-Cola Handicap, race nine on a 10-race program, goes at 6:20 p.m.

• Ideal weather conditions are forecast for the Coca-Cola Handicap, with a high of 76 on Sunday no chance of rain. The last "off" track was in the 2001 running when Jumron Won scored by 1¼-lengths on a muddy strip.

• He's Zuberrific has never raced farther than 6 ½ furlongs but the Matty G gelding worked one mile in 1:38 2/5 Monday for trainer Terry Gillihan.

The field for Sunday's $50,000 Coca-Cola Handicap (from the rail out, with handicap weights): Mebossman, David G. Lopez, 117 lbs.; Trick Or Retreat, Isaias Enriquez, 114; Noosito, Leslie Mawing, 121; Redsolocup, Anne Sanguinetti, 115; He's Zuberrific, Eliska Kubinova, 116; Charlie Thomas, Felipe Valdez, 116; Kenai King, Rocco Bowen, 117; Del Rio Harbor; Gallyn Mitchell, 121; Slice of Red, Juan Gutierrez, 114.

He's a Cruiser goes for five straight Saturday

These are some high-flying times for He's a Cruiser at Emerald Downs. Saturday, the razor-sharp 5-year-old gelding seeks his fifth straight win, headlining the $12,700 feature race for $15,000 claimers at six furlongs.

Saturday's race is his most difficult assignment yet. The seven-horse field is a combined 85-for-131 in the money at Emerald Downs, including 31 wins.

During his win streak, He's a Cruiser has scored for claiming prices of, in order, $5,000, $7,500, $10,000 and $15,000. And distance doesn't seem to matter – two wins were at six furlongs, two at one mile.

The way he's going, He's a Cruiser is making a serious bid for the meet's Top Claimer. It's a surprising development, considering the gelding once endured a stretch in which he lost 12 of 13 starts.

"He's maturing, that's by far the biggest reason," trainer Vince Gibson said when asked what caused the gelding's turnaround.

A Washington-bred by Raise the Bluff-Designer's Gold, He's a Cruiser has compiled a 7-5-7 mark in 27 starts lifetime with earnings of $66,039 for Maureen Hallett and Pam Gibson.

In his most recent win, He's a Cruiser and jockey Leslie Mawing bulled their way between rivals and scored by 1-¼ lengths in 1:08.83 for six furlongs. The 73 Beyer was a career-high.

"I've had (He's a Cruiser) since he was a baby and I always knew he could run," Gibson said. "He's had the ability all along, but he was a nut when he was young. He's much more mature, he and Leslie are a great team."

Assessment, already a winner this season at Saturday's condition, along with sharp recent winners Hard Slider and Doctor Bruce S., are the chief opposition Saturday.

The field for Saturday's $12,700 feature race, claiming price $15,000, 3-year-olds and up, six furlongs: Assessment, Gallyn Mitchell, 124 pounds; He's a Cruiser, Leslie Mawing, 124; Hard Slider, Juan Gutierrez, 120; Leadership, Javier Matias, 120; Freedomofthehills, Rocco Bowen, 114; Doctor Bruce S., Isaias Enriquez, 120; Ryans Argument, Jose Zunino, 120.

Emerald Racing Club enters Anelina

Anelina makes her Emerald Racing Club debut Saturday in race six at Emerald Downs. The 5-year-old mare faces six foes in the $7,500 claiming race at six furlongs.

A New York-bred by Lion Heart, Anelina was claimed for $6,250 on May 10 at Golden Gate Fields, and she joins 6-year-old gelding Dancing Yodeler to compose a two-horse stable for the 128-member Emerald Racing Club. Dancing Yodeler, scratched last Sunday due to inclement weather, finished third in his first start for ERC on June 1.

Leslie Mawing will don the green and white silks aboard Anelina for trainers Larry and Sharon Ross. Mawing and the Ross' combined with Stryker Phd to win last Sunday's Budweiser Handicap, and the 5-year-old gelding is a leading contender for the $200,000 Longacres Mile (Grade 3).

"We're hoping some of that good karma carries over to Anelina," said Emerald Downs Director of Marketing Sophia McKee. "The weather report is great for Saturday, and it should be a lot of fun to get Anelina going."

Speaking of Karma, Larry Ross celebrates his 62nd birthday Saturday*he was born June 21, 1952 in Montreal – and Anelina notched her second career victory at Pleasanton, Calif., June 21, 2012.

Guaranteed grand in 123Racing pool

Again this weekend, Emerald Downs is guaranteeing $1,000 in the 123Racing pool on Saturday and Sunday. The $2 minimum wager, which is sort of like a Pick 6 that totals win, place and show payoffs, is offered on the final six races daily. On a seven-race card, for example, 123Racing begins on the second race, while on a nine-race card, 123Racing begins on race four.

Last Sunday's pool was $2,822, and paid $1,317.60 to first place, $659.60 to second and $220.80 to third. Saturday's pool, $2,138, paid $997 to first, $499.20 to second and $84.40 to third.


Weekly honors: Jockey-Felipe Valdez (5-2-0-0); Trainer-Monique Snowden (1-1-0-0); Owner-Where We At (2-2-0-0); Groom-Jose Espinoza (trainer Larry Ross); Washington-bred-Stryker Phd (breeder Char Clark Thoroughbreds & Todd Havens). ... Stryker Phd tied his career-high with a 97 Beyer in Sunday's 3¼-length victory over Mr. Bowling in the $50,000 Budweiser Handicap for 3-year-olds and up. The 5-year-old Bertrando gelding ran one mile in a stakes record 1:34.15, and has Beyers of 96, 97, 96 and 97 in his last four starts at Emerald Downs. The previous 97 was in a runner-up effort to Herbie D in the 2013 Longacres Mile. ... Speaking of Herbie D, the now 6-year-old gelding is unraced since the 2013 Mile and last worked April 19 at Hastings Racecourse. ... In his first start in over a year, Disruption earned a career-high 83 Beyer for Saturday's 1¼-length victory over I Keep Saying in a $21,000 allowance optional-claimer, and also earned Monique Snowden Trainer of the Week. Disruption, a 4-year-old Florida-bred Street Boss gelding, ran 6½ furlongs in 1:14.14 and is 3-3-0 in seven starts with earnings of $67,830. ... Heidi Nelson, owner of Disruption, bought a $75,000 Henny Hughes 2-year-old Tuesday at the OBS Two-Year-Olds in Training and Horses of Racing Age Sale. The unnamed colt is expected to arrive at Emerald Downs in the near future. ... 2-year-old filly Seeking the Light, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Heatseeker, was assigned a 57 Beyer for Saturday's 3¾-length victory in :50.88 for 4 ½ furlongs, a good figure for a juvenile in June. ... Congratulations to anybody on the Stormin Parker bandwagon this season at Emerald Downs. Trained by Rosie Simkins, the 3-year-old Parker's Stormcat gelding has connected at odds of 17-to-1 and 10-to-1, and also earned a career-high 68 Beyer for Saturday's 3¾-length victory in 1:08.82 for six furlongs. ... In addition to leading the Emerald Downs' jockeys standings, Leslie Mawing is moonlighting Wednesdays at Les Bois Park and is 5-6-7 in 31 mounts at the Idaho track. ...

City by the Bay runs Sunday in the $50,000 Oaks for 3-year-old fillies at Pleasanton. The unbeaten City Zip filly defeated Chu and You in the $50,000 Seattle Handicap here June 1. ... The first foal out of Emerald Downs' 2009 Top Older Filly or Mare Clair Annette is in training with trainer Chris Stenslie. Co-owned by Jody Peetz and Connie Bouslaugh, the unnamed Harbor the Gold 2-year-old is nicknamed "Little Clair." ... Finallygotabentley, sixth in the May 18 Governor's Handicap, runs Friday in a $60,000 allowance/optional claiming race on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita. Owned by Northwest Farms, the 4-year-old Bernardini colt is now trained by Carla Gaines. ... Tom Wenzel, who trained Finallygotabentley at Emerald Downs, also said Governor's Handicap third-place finisher Absolutely Cool is turned out at owner Karl Krieg's farm in Oak Harbor. ... 2010 Emerald Derby winner Saratoga Boot goes for his third straight win Saturday in a $10,000 claiming race on the turf at Canterbury Park. Trained by Mike Chambers and still owned by Gary Hughes, the 7-year-old Storm Boot gelding earned a career-high 97 Beyer in a 9¼-length victory June 7 vs. 7,500 claimers in the mud. ... With 27 days (or 36 percent) of the 74-day meet complete, Mawing owns a 38-34 lead over Rocco Bowen in the jockeys' standings, with defending champion Isaias Enriquez third with 25 wins. On the trainers' side, defending champion Jeff Metz leads 2011-12 champ Frank Lucarelli 29-17. ... In the owners' standings, Saratoga West (Metz) owns a 14-7 lead over Ron Crockett Inc. and Sue & Tim Spooner. ... Emerald Downs has run seven Quarter Horse races to date, and Jose Zunino and Luis Flores-Gonzalez top the rider standings with two wins each and Robbie Baze and Baxter Andruss lead trainers with two QH wins apiece. ... 2013 EmD Top Claimer Kind of Naughty worked a half-mile in :47 Wednesday for Lucarelli. The 5-year-old Songandaprayer mare is unraced since a runner-up finish to E Z Kitty in the Kachina Handicap New Year's Day at Turf Paradise.

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