Mighty Noosa Beach to make 2011 debut Sunday in Governor’s Handicap

Noosa Beach, Emerald Downs' 2010 Horse of the Meeting, makes his season debut in Sunday's $50,000 Governor's Handicap.

Noosa Beach, Emerald Downs’ 2010 Horse of the Meeting, makes his season debut in Sunday’s $50,000 Governor’s Handicap.

The 5-year-old gelding was gold at Emerald Downs last year, going 6-1. Already this year, Noosa Beach has notched a stakes win, easily outdistancing the field at the George Royal Stakes at Hastings Racecourse in Vancouver, B.C., on April 22.

Trainer Doris Harwood – who together with her husband, Jeff Harwood, bred Noosa Beach from sire Harbor the Gold – expects even more from the bigger and stronger Noosa Beach, who has improved every year since hitting the race track at age 2.

“He’s gained 50 pounds since last year. He’s just getting better,” Doris Harwood said. “He did well at 2 … he was also successful at 3 and really developed into the horse that he is at 4.”

Noosa Beach, ridden by Ricky Frazier, had a breakout 2010, setting an Emerald Downs record with five stakes wins and capturing the 75th running of the Longacres Mile. The super gelding has amassed a career record of 17 wins and $398,222 in purse winnings.

Veteran Gallyn Mitchell replaces the injured Ricky Frazier in the saddle for Sunday’s 6 1/2-furlongs stakes on the Auburn dirt.

“He breaks well and places himself forward,” Doris Harwood said. “I think Ricky Frazier put it best when he said that if he (Noosa Beach) breaks on top and if someone is front of him, they’re going too fast. And if he gets in front, they’ll never catch him. He breaks well for a big horse, and the break is crucial.”

Harwood has additional race plans for Noosa Beach.

“I really like to take it one race at a time, and he’s started out great,” she said. “He started in stakes race and won easily against a pretty competitive field. We want to run at Emerald Downs, but there are also a couple of other races we want to run him in.

“We kind of have dreams of maybe going to the Breeders’ Cup and running him on that dirt track. And there are some bigger purses in Canada, and it wouldn’t hurt anybody’s feelings if we left for Canada. It might give some other horse a chance to win some stakes races.”