Coming off a dream season in 2016, Yakima-based sire Demon Warlock is off and running again at Emerald Downs in 2017.
Lovethisbar, a 3-year-old filly by Demon Warlock-Royal Snowflight, romped by 4¼ lengths in Sunday’s second race, chalking up win No. 1 of the meet for one of Washington’s most underrated sires.
Despite a relatively small number of starters, Demon Warlock finished fourth with 17 wins at Emerald Downs last year – including five wins by 3-year-old filly Copy Begone and three by 4-year-old filly Seattles Best Copy.
For Tim Floyd, who co-owned Demon Warlock when the son of Demons Begone finished runner-up to Adreamisborn in the 2004 Longacres Mile, his decision to stand Demon Warlock at stud a decade ago has been a rewarding one. Especially after a season like Demon Warlock had last year at Emerald Downs, when only Harbor the Gold, Parker’s Storm Cat and Private Gold sired more winners.
“It’s true that it’s one of the most difficult things to do in racing.” Floyd said of developing a successful stallion. “I’ll probably never do it again.”
Standing for $1,500 at Roche Farm in Yakima, 17-year-old Demon Warlock is back in Washington after a stint in Arizona, where he sired Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses.
Since Demon Warlock’s runners seem to thrive at Emerald Downs, it’s an understandable decision. Floyd prefers to spread his runners out, and has three Demon Warlocks with trainer Jeff Metz and another eight (including one Quarter Horse) with Roddina Barrett.
Metz, leading trainer at Emerald Downs three of the last four years, said he enjoys training the Demon Warlocks for Floyd. Their greatest success was when Redsolocup defeated three-time Washington champion sprinter Absolutely Cool in the 2015 Washington Cup. A 6-year-old gelding by Demon Warlock-Trainingat the Bar, Redsolocup returns Sunday in the $18,500 allowance/optional claimer at 5½ furlongs.
“They’re not always the biggest horses but they try hard,” Metz said of Demon Warlock’s offspring. “They usually have speed and longevity, and those are two great traits for any racehorse.”
Winter Warlock gave his then freshman sire his first stakes victory in the 2010 Premio Esmeralda at Emerald Downs, and finished runner-up twice that year to track and Washington champion Couldabenthewhisky. In 2014, Seattles Best Copy raced to a 20-1 upset in the Northwest Farms Stakes on Washington Cup day, and Another Winter has piled up five wins running short and long the last two years at Emerald Downs.
But perhaps Demon Warlock’s greatest moment as a stallion occurred last April 22, when Copy Begone, Demonsdarlin and Mara’s Warlock gave Demon Warlock the top three finishers in race four at Emerald Downs. Siring the win, place and show horse in the same race happens about as often as major league pitcher tossing a perfect game.
“What’s really nice about the Demon Warlocks is they’re so competitive, they get a lot of checks,” Floyd said. “Every trainer tells me the same thing, that they’re so gentle and easy to train. And he never throws a crooked horse.
“Because he’s been so lightly used (as a stallion) he might have five or six more good years.”
Floyd’s interest isn’t limited to offspring of Demon Warlock. He co-owns Kaabraaj, a 5-year-old Abraaj gelding that broke the track and state record with a 1:06.86 clocking for six furlongs last year at Emerald Downs, and later finished fourth in the Bing Crosby Stakes (Grade 1) at Del Mar. Sidelined by knee chips, Kaabraaj will be geared up for a summer campaign at Santa Anita.
Floyd also campaigns a small string of Quarter Horses including 2016 Emerald Downs Bank of America Championship Challenge winner Sorelli, a 5-year-old Brookstone Bay mare co-owned by Kelly Dougan. Trained by Barrett, Sorelli returns to action April 23 in the Merial Sun Downs Distaff Challenge trials at Sun Downs in Kennewick.
So Lucky returns to action Sunday
Track and state champion 2-year-old So Lucky makes his 2017 debut Sunday in a $20,500 allowance race at 5½ furlongs.
Carded as Sunday’s third race for 3-year-olds which have not won a race since April 1 or which have never won two races, the race is designed as a prep for the $50,000 Auburn Stakes on Sunday, May 14.
A Washington-bred by Coast Guard-Miss Pixie, So Lucky was 4-1-0 in five starts as a 2-year-old, earning $103,835. A possessor of blinding speed, he won the Emerald Express by 3 lengths, the WTBOA Lads by 5¼ lengths, and Washington Cup 2-Year-Old Colts & Geldings Stakes by 9 lengths.
The lone defeat was a second in the season-ending Gottstein Futurity won by Blazinbeauty, but So Lucky had a right to tire after setting fractions of :22.61, :45.666 and 1:10.50.
Trained by Howard Belvoir for Pegasus Too and Rising Star Stable, So Lucky drew the No. 2 post with 2016 riding champion Rocco Bowen taking the call.
Swag Stables & 20/10 Stables’ Keller’s Gold, a double stakes winner in Portland and runner-up to So Lucky in the Washington Cup, heads Sunday’s opposition.
Moneydontspenitself, a $115,000 Keeneland purchase that defeated Keller’s Gold in his lone start as a 2-year-old, also returns to action for owner Where we At and trainer Kay Cooper. Atta Boy Bear, recent maiden special weight winner at Golden Gate, also appears to have promise for trainer Frank Lucarelli and co-owners REV Racing, Andy Evans and Lucarelli.
The field for Sunday’s third race (3-year-olds, 5 ½ furlongs): 1-Arrastrando Cobija, Leonel Camacho-Flores, 119 lbs; 2-So Lucky, Rocco Bowen, 122: 3-Atta Boy Bear, Erick Lopez, 119; 4-Keller’s Gold, David Martin*, 117; 5-Moneydontspenitself, Javier Matias, 119.
Trainer Edwin Cornier is 5-for-9 lifetime (4-8 at Portland Meadows, 1-1 at Emerald Downs). A 40-year-old Brooklyn native, Cornier spent 5½ years working with trainer John Shirreffs in California, and might have been en route to the Kentucky Derby with Santa Anita Derby winner Gormley. Cornier, however, decided to go out on his own last fall and currently owns and trains a string of five runners at Emerald Downs, including four horses by Cyclotron that were acquired from trainer Bruce Headley in a package deal. One of those, 6-year-old mare Aparri, led gate-to-wire to win Sunday’s sixth race in 1:02.64 for 5 ½ furlongs and tied her career best with a 75 Beyer. … 4-year-old gelding All for Me earned a career-high 76 Beyer Sunday with a winning time, :56.38, that topped last season’s fastest five-furlongs of :56.45 set by Swiss Script. … Co jockey of the week Kevin Orozco celebrated his 21st birthday Wednesday. … Washington-bred Westley is on a serious roll at Golden Gate for owner/breeder Bryan Smith and trainer Blaine Wright. A 6-year-old gelding by Houseofroyalhearts-Mira’s Magic, Westley has won two straight six-furlong allowance races on the Tapeta surface, earning Beyers of 91 and 90. … This weekend’s weather won’t have people breaking out shorts and t-shirts, but should be better than opening weekend. Saturday’s forecast is partly sunny and 58 while Sunday is mostly sunny and a high of 63. … Saturday’s ninth race for $18,500 allowance/optional claimer at 5 ½ furlongs drew a good field of eight 3-year-olds and up: Togrammashousewego, Ladies Man, Grinder Sparksaglo, Grand Palais, Redsolocup, Face Valued, Man of Stature and Silvertown. … Redsolocup makes his first start at Emerald Downs since a $49.40 upset in the 2015 Washington Cup. … Trainer Dino Condilenios ships in Silvertown from Hastings Racecourse, where the 4-year-old Speightstown gelding was stakes-placed four times last year. … Grindersparksaglo finished second to Stryker Phd in the 2016 Muckleshoot Tribal Classic and won the 2016 Inaugural Handicap at Portland Meadows. … Sunday’s fifth race, an $18,000 maiden special weight for 3-year-olds, includes first-time starter Magnum G T., and is notable since Silver Screen Girl was the first horse ever bred to 2009 Washington Handicap Horse of the Year Atta Boy Roy when he entered stud in 2013. … Chatty Carl bids to become the meet’s first two-time winner in Sunday’s sixth race. Owned and trained by Jeff Metz, the 3-year-old Thorn Song gelding rallied for a one-length victory $8,000 maiden claimers last Saturday.