(Auburn, WA) This Sunday at Emerald Downs there is a huge card featuring 4 $50,000 Stakes Races all in a row with a special “All-Stakes” Pick 4. The 4 races include the Emerald Express for 2-year-old colts and geldings going 5 and half furlongs, the Angie C Stakes for 2-year-old fillies and mares also at five and half furlongs. The ladies will run again in the Boeing Stakes for 3-year-olds and up fillies and mares going a mile. The Superfecta of Stakes races will conclude with the final local major prep for the August 14th Longacres Mile in the 1 and sixteenth Mt Rainier Stakes. Below is a snapshot of each race and the main contenders. Thanks to Joe Withee and Vince Bruun from Emerald Downs for their contributions in putting together this overview.
Bettors will likely be counting on this race to kick of their pick-4’s with the probably the biggest favorite of the 4 races when the Chilli Man breaks from the 2 hole of the EMD gates with jockey Joe Steiner aboard. The Chilli Man cruised to an 11 and half length win in his debut posting a hefty 81 Beyer figure.
Trainer Monique Snowden says, it’s been an exciting—and perhaps a bit stressful time—to train an exceptional prospect like The Chilli Man.
“From the beginning it has been quite the ride,” Snowden said. “There was just so much pressure on me and on him (in the debut). That was a big field but fortunately everything went right.
It may be not a question of The Chilli Man winning but by how far. This will be the shortest field of the 4 Stakes races with 6 going to the post and So Lucky as the likely 2nd favorite.
Angie C Stakes
The 2nd half of the 2-year-old’s is quite the opposite of the boys in the Express. 11 contenders for the 1st in the Angie C 21-year history will pop out of the stalls set for 5 and half furlongs. Among the top contenders are recent Emerald Downs maiden winners Paddy’s Secret, Constant Craving, Getting Joellenned and Camano Comet.
Trainer Frank Lucarelli holds a strong hand in the event with Paddy’s Secret, Constant Craving and Blazinbeauty set to run. Blazinbeauty finished second to Paddy’s Secret in the season’s first two-year-old race on June 11.
Assuming no late scratches, the 11-horse field breaks the previous Angie C record of 10 horses set in 2002, 2006 and 2009, and equals the last two years combined: My Heart Goes On prevailed by a head in a five-horse field last year, and Ethan’s Baby romped by 6 ¼ lengths in a six-horse field in 2014.
The older filly and mare division is wide open – thus, the 12 horses entered for Sunday’s Boeing Stakes. 12 is the maximum number to run in an Emerald Downs race and this would be the first time a filly and mare stakes race had 12 entries since the Pepsi-Cola Handicap of 1996.
This race coupled with the Angie C is where pick 4 bettors are hoping to find the upsets to counter potentially an odds on favorite winning the Express and 1 of 2 top choices in the Mt Rainier.
Possible favorites are Ethan’s Baby, a four-year-old filly who’s finished second in all three starts here this year, two of them stakes. Ethan’s Baby was named Washington State Champion at both ages two and three. Morning Coffee makes her Emerald Downs debut and seeks her first victory of the year. Last year, she won twice at Santa Anita and added two stakes victories at Hastings, in Vancouver, B.C.
Another contender could B C Z Middleton a 3-year-old who won the recent Washington State Legislators Purse on June 20th, the 20th year anniversary of Emerald Downs. Trainer Jeff Metz had two choices either the $75,000 Washington Oaks at 1 1/8 miles on July 24 or to again face older fillies and mares in the Boeing at one mile.
“Even though the Legislators Stakes was against older fillies and mares it was about not having to stretch out,” Metz said. “Luckily the division is pretty wide open, and I’m just thinking that since she settled so well in the Legislators that she could run that same kind of race going two turns.
“Once you get going 1-1/16 miles or 1-1/8 miles you need to be a little more of a long-striding filly and (B C Z Middleton) is built more like a sprinter. I think she’s training well and that last win was a real confidence booster. Now it’s just a case of how we break and get into that first turn. Then we’ll just take it from there.”
The Mt Rainier Stakes
Will Stryker Phd regain dominance in the older horse division or can O B Harbor remain undefeated in 2016? Those questions will be answered Sunday at Emerald Downs in the Mt. Rainier Stakes, the final older-horse test before the August 14 Longacres Mile.
Stryker Phd had his eight-race stakes winning streak broken in the June 19 Budweiser Stakes, won by O B Harbor. Stryker Phd, now age seven, with regular rider Leslie Mawing, is shooting for an unprecedented third consecutive Mt. Rainier victory as well as an unprecedented third consecutive Longacres Mile.
Stryker Phd rallied for third in the 11-horse Budweiser while spotting his rivals a degree of fitness. With two brisk five-furlong workouts since the race, the 7-year-old year-old seems set to move forward Sunday for trainer Larry Ross and owners Jim and Mona Hour.
O B Harbor has been sensational as a four-year-old, taking an April allowance race as well as the Governor’s and Budweiser Stakes. Trainer Chris Stenslie said O B Harbor has battled body soreness the last two seasons but, knock on wood, is doing great so far in 2016. She said her and owner Jody Peetz believe a key will be their horse’s ability to relax and not get too speed crazy early.
Seven of the last 10 Mt. Rainier winners went on to capture the Longacres Mile, including Stryker Phd in 2014 and 2015. Stryker Phd has been the betting favorite his last seven starts at Emerald Downs, however that streak could end Sunday. Stryker Phd was 3-2 in the Budweiser with O B Harbor second choice at 2-1.
Jose Zunino looks to have a good chance to find the Winner’s Circle twice in the Superfecta of Stakes races on
Sunday. Zunino will take the reins of one of the 2 favorites in the Mt Rainier on O B Harbor and will also pilot the 3-year-old B C Z Middleton in the Boeing,.
If a jockey could have only 1 ride in all 4 races no doubt most would take the ride on The Chilli Man in the Emerald Express. The man who got the call is Joe Steiner. Assuming The Chilli Man does his thing then Steiner could double up if he could get either Ethan’s Baby in the Boeing or Grace Bay in the Angie C across the wire first.
Anne Sanguinetti, third aboard E Z Kitty in the 2013 Boeing, makes her 2016 EmD debut aboard Chronologic’s ghost for trainer Manuel Badilla in the 2016 Boeing.
Leslie Mawing could also pull off multiple picture ceremonies as he will again be aboard Stryker Phd in the Mt. Rainer but also has chances on Paddy’s Secret in the Angie C and Curly Girly in the Boeing.
Riders that have mounts in all 4 Stakes races include:
*Leading jockey Rocco Bowen who has So Lucky in the Express, Getting Joellenned in the Angie C, Chocolatier in the Boeing and finishes with Coach Royal in the Mt. Rainier.
*Javier Matias has rides on Betrbegone in the Mt. Rainier Stakes, Guinevere’s Finale in the Boeing, Karula in the Angie C and in the Emerald Express, Mixo.
Other jockey’s with 3 rides out of the 4 races include Ronald Richard, Lionel Camacho-Flores and Eswan Flores.
Jockey Photo Gallery