Blaine Wright without question is enjoying one of the finest seasons in Emerald Downs’ history.
With 47 wins in 130 starts, Wright is clicking at 36.1 percent and has pretty much clinched a second straight training titles at Emerald Downs.
But even by Wright’s lofty standards, last week was special. He went 6-1-1 in nine starts with feature race wins Friday and Saturday and set a track record by saddling three stakes winners Sunday in the 2017 Washington Cup.
“When the stars align, they align,” said Wright. “DO I know what it means to win three stakes in day? Heck yeah, I do.
“We were able to spend some time at my father’s place in Yakima on Monday, and that’s when it kind of hit me. I was in awe.”
In the Juvenile Filly, John and Janene Maryanskis Bella Mia won her third stakes of the meet and tied a track record for a 2-year-old with her fourth victory overall.
Wright also won the WA Cup Sophomore Stakes with Pulpits Power and the WA Cup Filly and Mare with Exit Sixty Slew, the latter upsetting 1-5 favorite Citizen Kitty in the process.
Wright’s 10 stakes wins this season are third highest in track history, and his $743,170 in earnings also rank No. 3 all-time. There is only one stakes remaining, the September 24 Gottstein Futurity, so he can’t break the stakes mark, but there are some big races on the horizon. Riser and Top Quality are both headed to Vancouver for the $150,000 BC Derby and $100,000 BC Oaks on Saturday, September 9, and Wright said Aaron Gryder will ride both.
Riser, a double stakes winner this season at Emerald Downs, can earn a $25,000 bonus with a victory in the 1 1/8-mile BC Derby. The gray Ohio-bred already proved he could get nine furlongs in the Emerald Downs Derby, leading gate-to-wire in 1:49.41 and earning an 88 Beyer. Owned by Chappell Alpine Farms, Riser is 4-1-0 in eight overall starts with earnings of $106,095.Ten Broeck Farm’s Top Quality, winner of the Irish Day Stakes, comes off a third vs. older fillies and mares in the Emerald Distaff.
As for the Gottstein, Trump Itz, third in the Washington Cup Colts & Geldings, could put the exclamation point on Wright’s 2017 season.
Osoria-Perez finalist for national award
There is some great news at the Chris Stenslie stable this week.
Manuel Osoria-Perez, a 15-year employee at Emerald Downs and currently Stenslie’s top assistant, is one of three finalists to win a major Thoroughbred Industry Employee Award.
Osoria-Perez, 35, is a finalist in the Dedication to Racing category and will be honored October 13 at an awards ceremony luncheon at Keeneland. The winner will receive a prize of $10,000 with an additional $5,000 being awarded to their farm or stable. The two runners-up in those categories will win $2,500 each, with the same amount going to their farm or stable.
Osoria-Perez said Stenslie called him Wednesday with the news, and that he and wife Shannon are excited to make their first trip to Kentucky.
Jockeys Rocco Bowen (9 wins) and Julien Couton (6) combined to win 15 of the 27 races last week at Emerald Downs. Bowen and Couton also won four of the six Washington Cup races. … More Power to Him, third in the Emerald Downs Derby, left Thursday for Hastings Racecourse and gets a rematch with Riser in the $150,000 BC Derby on Sept. 9. … Washington Oaks winner Little Dancer breezed four furlongs in :51 4/5 Thursday and shoots for a $25,000 bonus in the $100,000 BC Oaks on Sept. 9 at Hastings Racecourse. Bowen, who also rides More Power to Him in the Derby, has the riding assignment for trainer Doris Harwood and owner Ron Schmid. … Fred and Cindy Desimone of Seattle visited the Saratoga winner’s circle Thursday when 2-year-old gelding Ultimateenticement prevailed in a $73,000 maiden special weight for New York-breds. The Desimones purchased the Drosselemyer gelding last year for $12,000.