For the Reporter
A field of nine including two top Canadian shippers is set for Sunday’s $50,000 Muckleshoot Derby at 1 1/8 miles.
The lineup features four stakes winners and three stakes-placed runners, with all carrying 122 pounds. The nine-furlong test also marks the first leg of the new Northwest Triple (below), a three-race series for sophomores offering a potential $100,000 bonus.
Coming off blowout victories at 6½ furlongs in the Coca-Cola Stakes and 1 1/16 miles in the Seattle Slew Stakes, Sippin Fire figures to be favored Sunday. The Harbor the Gold gelding already has three stakes wins and over $100,000 in earnings for trainer Steve Bullock and owner How We Roll #4, and easily passed his first route assignment in the Slew, scoring by 2 3/4 lengths under Rocco Bowen and earning a career-high 76 Beyer.
Smoothee Lee, second at 44-1 in the Seattle Slew, and Frieburg, runner-up at 9-1 in the Coca-Cola, get another shot at Sippin Fire in the Derby, as does Elliott Bay, last year’s state and track champion 2-year-old whose two career route races are both solid.
Weekend Wizard and Argosy Fleet journey south from Hastings Racecourse for trainers Craig MacPherson and Blaine Wright respectively.The former, a BC-bred by Rosberg, has come to hand smartly this season with form practically mirroring Sippin Fire. Owned by Riversedge Racing Stables, Weekend Wizard scored by 5½ lengths in the 6½-furlong Jim Coleman Province, and by six lengths in the 1 1/16-mile Chris Loseth Handicap, earning a lofty 88 Beyer in the latter. Sandwiched between was a rough trip fifth in the River Rock Casino Handicap.
Argosy Fleet could give Wright his third Derby win in six years, following Worldventurer in 2013 and a one-two finish by Riser and Aqua Frio last year. A $250,000 Mineshaft colt owned by Peter Redekop, Argosy Fleet began his career in Southern California with two sharp efforts for trainer Eddie Truman. Argosy Fleet started twice this summer at Hastings, finishing runner-up in the River Rock Casino and sixth as the 3-2 betting choice in the Chris Loseth.
• Sunday’s sizzling weather forecast is for a high of 97 degrees.
• Betting favorites are only 4 for 22 in the Muckleshoot Derby at Emerald Downs, although Riser prevailed last year as the 6 to 5 favorite.
• A Schoenhardt victory would give trainer Mike Puhich and owner Mike Waters an Oaks/Derby sweep, after Princessof the Nyl romped by eight lengths in 1:51.24 last Sunday. A Shackleford gelding, Schoenhardt is co-owned by Waters and Mark Dedomenico.
• 90-year-old trainer Bob Meeking aims for his third Derby victory. He won the 1970 Longacres Derby with Mincemeat and the 1996 Emerald Downs Derby with Find Our Star.
• Average field size is 7.0 runners in stakes races, average win payoff $9.60, and betting favorites 7 for 15.
• In track history, 117 races have been run at 1 1/8 miles with the No. 7 post-position at 19.0 percent (16 for 84) faring best.
The field for Sunday’s $50,000 Muckleshoot Derby, 3-year-olds, 1 1/8 miles, Race 7, 5:09 p.m.: 1-Check and Raise, Gary Wales, 122 pounds; 2-Freiburg, Eswan Flores, 122; 3-Elliott Bay, Jennifer Whitaker, 122; 4-Smoothee Lee, Austin Solis, 122; 5-Take Charge Deputy, Lorenzo Lopez, 122; 6-Sippin Fire, Rocco Bowen, 122; 7-Schoenhardt, Javier Matias, 122; 8-Weekend Wizard, Julien Couton, 122; 9-Argosy Fleet, Erick Lopez, 122.
Northwest Triple offers $100,000 bonus
The Muckleshoot Derby is the first leg of the Northwest Triple, a three-race series for 3-year-olds at Emerald Downs and Hastings Racecourse.
A $100,000 bonus is offered to any horse sweeping the Muckleshoot Derby, British Columbia Derby and Getaway Stakes, while a $10,000 bonus is offered to any horse finishing in the top three in all three races. Horses running in all three events earn a $1,000 bonus.
July 29: $50,000 Muckleshoot Derby, 1 1/8 Miles, Emerald Downs
Sept 8: $150,000 British Columbia Derby, 1 1/8 Miles, Hastings Racecourse
Sept 23: $100,000 Getaway Stakes, 1 1/16 Miles, Emerald Downs
Racing this week
Friday, July 27
6:30 p.m. (7 races)
$0.50 Pick 5 Carryover: $13,565
$0.20 Pick 7 Carryover: $5,164
Saturday, July 28
5 p.m. (8 races)
Twilight Saturday (through Sept. 22)
Breakfast at the Wire (through Aug. 25)
Sunday, July 29
2 p.m. (9 races)
$50,000 Muckleshoot Derby
Nominations close Sunday for the $200,000 Longacres Mile (Grade 3) and $50,000 Emerald Distaff, to be run Sunday, Aug. 12. Entries for the Mile, Distaff, Barbara Shinpoch Stakes and WTBOA Lads Stakes will all be drawn Wednesday, Aug. 8. … A $0.50 all stakes Pick 4 will be offered on the Longacres Mile, Emerald Distaff, Barabara Shinpoch and WTBOA Lads. … Trainer Blaine Wright celebrated his 44th birthday Wednesday. … On Friday, Aug. 3, Emerald Downs celebrates the 85th anniversary of the opening of Longacres (Aug. 3, 1933) with a commemorative program cover and special $1.10 admission price – same as was charged opening day in 1933.