Sports

Class Included carries momentum into Sunday's Legislators Stakes | Emerald Downs

Class Included (No. 1) edged Elusive Noise in the $50,000 Hastings Handicap for fillies and mares back on May 13. - Courtesy photo/Erin Palmer, Emerald Downs
Class Included (No. 1) edged Elusive Noise in the $50,000 Hastings Handicap for fillies and mares back on May 13.
— image credit: Courtesy photo/Erin Palmer, Emerald Downs

Perhaps the most consistent racehorse at Emerald Downs the past two years, Class Included looks to continue her success on Sunday in the $50,000 Washington State Legislators Stakes at 6½ furlongs.

The atakes is Race 9 on a 10-race card, and the final sprint stakes of the meeting for older fillies and mares.

Coming off a head victory over Elusive Noise in the Hastings Handicap at six furlongs, Class Included has won three straight races, including two stakes at Emerald Downs.

Based on an overall record of 6-5-0 in 11 starts and earnings of $219,323, Class Included was assigned high weight of 122 pounds, and continues her quest to become the first horse since Shampoo in 2007-08 to sweep honors as Top 3-Year-Old Filly and Top Older Filly or Mare.

Kay Cooper, chief assistant and daughter of Washington Hall of Fame trainer Jim Penney, said before the season that she was optimistic that Class Included would transition smoothly into her 4-year-old year.

"It's always a big step for a horse to move on to the next age group," Cooper said. "(Class Included) proved that she loves the sport and loves to compete."

Her willingness to compete will be tested once again, as her frequent for Elusive Noise – the only horse to best Class Included twice – and an intriguing new challenger named E Z Kitty look to stand in her way.

E Z Kitty, first in the John and Kitty Fletcher Stakes last September, comes in off a 3¼-length score at 5½ furlongs on May 20, a race that produced an 81 Beyer Speed Figure – two points higher than Class Included's Beyer from the Hastings.

The field for the 17th running of the Washington State Legislators Stakes: Sweet Nellie Brown, Javier Matias, 117 pounds.; Playful Argument, Joe Crispin, 116; Class Included, Juan Gutierrez, 122; E Z Kitty, Leonel Camacho-Flores, 117; Rewritten, William Antongeorgi, 116; Special Holiday, Leslie Mawing, 117; Elusive Noise, Gallyn Mitchell, 118; Stephanie Plum, Eliska Kubinova, 112.

Saturday is Belmont Stakes day

I'll Have Another goes for Triple Crown glory in the $1,000,000 Belmont Stakes in New York on Saturay. The Belmont is Race 11 with post time approximately 3:40 p.m., and anchors both a $1,000,000 guaranteed all stakes pick six (races 6-11) and a $1,000,000 guaranteed all stakes pick four (races 8-11).

Advance wagering will be available Friday on the entire Belmont Stakes card, and a special $1 minimum daily double will be offered on Friday's $200,000 Brooklyn Handicap and the Belmont Stakes.

Gates will open 8 a.m. Saturday

Stella Artois' Belmont Bash at Downs

To celebrate I'll Have Another's attempt to capture the Triple Crown, Emerald Downs hosts the Belmont Bash, presented by Stella Artois, from 12 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday in the Trackside Tent. The event, which will include live music and food & drink specials, is open to the public for race fans of all ages.

Seattle's Zucker goes for glory

The Seattle area will have has a couple of rooting interests Saturday in the Belmont Stakes. Ivan Puhich, who grew up in Renton, is Mario Gutierrez' jockeys' agent and is being flown via private plane to watch his rider attempt to attain Triple Crown glory aboard I'll Have Another.

And Dan Zucker, a 47-year-old Seattle businessman, is part owner of the promising 3-year-old Street Life, the lightly raced son of Street Sense that will break from the No. 1 post and is 12-to-1 on the Belmont morning line.

Trained by Chad Brown, Street Life comes off a fast-finishing third in the Grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes at 1-1/8 miles. So with Street Sense on top in the pedigree and Birdstone on the bottom, it's logical to conclude that Street Life would relish the chance to race 1½ miles in the Belmont.

"He's eating well, he looks great, and he's sitting on the best race of his life," Zucker said of Street Life. "We're expecting a top effort."

For Zucker, who cut his racing teeth at New York harness tracks like Yonkers and Roosevelt Raceway, having a horse compete in the Belmont Stakes*and possibly even spoil the party for I'll Have Another*is a dream come true.

"Every owner dreams to go to the Kentucky Derby, and I always dreamed of going to one of the Triple Crown races," Zucker said. "To be part of the Belmont, and with a horse that has a chance to unseat a horse for in seat the Triple Crown, it's awesome."

Zucker said New York City is gripped with Triple Crown fever.

"I think there's something in the name I'll Have Another, because his name and colors are everywhere," Zucker said. "These are hard times and everyone's looking for a hero, and the industry is looking for something to hang its hat on. It's a lot of pressure.

"I'm pulling for Street Life, of course, but if we don't win I hope its I'll Have Another."

KJR to air live Friday at Downs

Radio hosts Mike Gastineau and Elise Woodward will step outside the KJR studio on Friday to broadcast their daily talk show – live on 950 KJR AM and 102.9 FM – at Emerald Downs. From 3-7 p.m., Gastineau and Woodward will discuss all things horse racing, including a preview of Saturday's Belmont Stakes.

Notes

Week 8 honors: Jockey – Leslie Mawing (19-6-6-2); trainer – Junior Coffey (2-2-0-0); owner – Nelson Family Racing (2-2-0-0); groom – Juan Carlos Martinez-Rivas (Bill Tollett); Washington bred-Makors Finale (Owner/breeder Karl Krieg). ... The Paddock Preview Show, hosted by Jacob Pollowitz, returns to Emerald Downs on Sunday, from 1:05 to 1:20 p.m., featuring interviews with jockeys and horsemen in the paddock area on stakes days throughout the season. Sunday, jockey Gallyn Mitchell, the track's all-time leader in wins and stakes wins, discusses his mount on Elusive Noise in the $50,000 Washington State Legislators Stakes. ...

Jockey Leslie Mawing, who left Auburn on Wednesday to attend a family wedding, will not ride on Friday or Saturday, but will return Sunday to ride in 9-of-10 races including the stakes. ... Allison Ridge looks to become the meet's first four-time winner on Saturday, when she takes on five other fillies or mares going 6½ furlongs in the 10th and final race. ... Stormy Lucy, trained by Frank Lucarelli for owner Frank Gaunt, will take her three-race winning streak to Betfair Hollywood Park, where the 3-year-old filly will race Saturday in the $150,000 Honeymoon Handicap (Grade 2) going 1 1/8 miles on the turf.

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