Wasserman, Whitaker take top honors at Emerald Downs

As expected, Wasserman cleaned up when Emerald Downs announced its list of 2008 award winners Sunday as the curtain came down on the 91-day meeting.

Wasserman was voted Horse of the Meeting, Top Washington-bred, Top Older Horse and Top Sprinter.

In addition, Jennifer Whitaker, Wasserman’s regular rider, received the Top Riding Achievement award for becoming the first woman to win the $300,000 Longacres Mile, and the 73rd running of the Grade III classic was voted Race of the Meeting.

Members of the media, Emerald Downs officials and racing office personnel, voted the year-end awards.

A 6-year-old Cahill Road gelding, Wasserman won five of eight starts—including a record-tying four stakes—and ran the fastest time at four different distances. The capstone, of course, was his thrilling neck victory in the Longacres Mile. For the season, Wasserman earned $245,478 for owner/trainer Howard Belvoir—second most in track history—and now is the all-time leading earner at Emerald Downs with $422,412.

Wasserman was the second straight Washington-bred by Cahill Road to win the Longacres Mile and Horse of the Meeting honors, following in the footsteps of The Great Face in 2007.

Trainer Tim McCanna also received multiple honors. In winning his eighth training title in 13 years, the 46-year-old Spokane native outdid himself with a record 66 wins, which was 11 better than his own previous record set in 2000 and 2003. His record-setting campaign was voted Top Training Achievement.

Seth Martinez, riding here for the first time, captured a hard-fought riding title with 122 wins, five better than two-time defending champion Ricky Frazier, whose 117 victories were most ever by a runner-up. Martinez, a 29-year-old New Mexico native, tied a track record with six victories on July 27, and he won the riding title despite missing the first 18 days of the meeting.

Gallant Son, winner of three stakes including a devastating six-length triumph in the Gottstein Futurity was the solid choice as Top Juvenile, and the colt’s owners – Chris and Dianna Randall of Bellevue – were the meet’s leading owners with 15 wins and also ranked first in earnings with $365,457.

Top Juvenile Filly honors went to Ladyledue, a Washington-bred by Slewdledo who won both her starts—the Diane Kem and Knights Choice stakes—by a combined 12¾-lenghs.

Doris Harwood once again led the trainers with seven stakes wins with and has a remarkable 19 added-money scores over the last two seasons. Northwest Farms’ Shampoo, trained by Harwood, was voted Top Older Filly or Mare after a consistent season in which the Gulch filly won the Boeing Handicap and finished a game second to California invader Lemon Kiss in the $100,000 Emerald Distaff.

The $100,000 Emerald Derby was another memorable race as Gallon and Thiscatsgotcharm battled head-and-head through an elongated stretch drive that included several bumps. Thiscatsgotcharm won the photo, but Gallon was awarded the victory via disqualification, and it caped a fine overall season that also included a victory in the Tacoma Handicap. Gallon was voted Top 3-Year-Old for trainer Jim Penney and owners Mike and Amy Feuerborn of Maple Valley.

Doris Konecny’s Enumclaw Girl, winner of the Irish Day Handicap and U.S. Bank Stakes got the nod as top 3-Year-Old Filly, a remarkable achievement for the Washington-bred daughter of Katowice, who raced just once as a 2-year-old in 2007.

Top Claiming Horse was an extremely tough category as there were two five-time winners and a slew of four-time winners at the meet. Clair Annette, an exceptionally fast Washington-bred by Beau Genius, took down honors for trainer Connie Boslaugh and owner/breeder Nina Egbert. The 5-year-old mare lost her season debut, but that was the only time she trailed a horse all season. Clair Annette won her next four starts in gate-to-wire fashion.



Award Winner

Horse of the Meeting: Wasserman (unanimous)

Top WA-bred: Wasserman (unanimous)

Top Older Horse: Wasserman (unanimous)

Top Older Filly or Mare: Shampoo

Top 3-year-old Male: Gallon

Top 3-year-old Filly: Enumclaw Girl

Top Sprinter: Wasserman

Top Claimer: Clair Annette

Top Juvenile Male: Gallant Son

Top Juvenile Filly: Ladyledue

Race of the Meeting: The Longacres Mile

Top Training Achievement: Tim McCanna (66 wins-record)

Top Riding Achievement: Jennifer Whitaker (Lga Mile)

Martin Durkan Award: Roy Lumm

Lindy Award: Travis Cunningham

Leading Rider: Seth Martinez (122 wins)

Leading Trainer: Tim McCanna (66 wins)

Leading Owner: Chris & Dianna Randall (15 wins)