Sports

Horse of the Meeting honor to be decided | Emerald Downs

Winning Machine prevails in the Governor
Winning Machine prevails in the Governor's Handicap on May 20.
— image credit: Courtesy photo/Erin Palmer, Emerald Downs

Of all the year-end honors this season at Emerald Downs, Horse of the Meeting could be the most difficult vote on the ballot.

Class Included, Makors Finale and Winning Machine are the three favorites for the coveted award, and each horse figures to garner support when votes are tabulated next week.

History would seem to favor Winning Machine, since voters traditionally give a nod to the older handicap division. In fact, only three winners in 16 seasons came from outside the Longacres Mile division – 3-Year-Old Flying Notes in 2002 and Older Filly or mare Youcan'ttakeme in 2003, and 2-Year-Old Name for Norm in 1996.

Class Included, Makors Finale and Winning Machine each raced five times, won multiple stakes and earned between $105,000 and $112,000. All but Winning Machine won the championship race in their division, and Winning Machine only missed by a scant head to Taylor Said in The Mile.

Speaking of Taylor Said, in 1998 Wild Wonder was voted Horse of the Meeting even though his only start was a victory in the Longacres Mile. So some voters could opt for Taylor Said, or even 2-year-old Mike Man's Gold if he were to win his third stakes of the season in the Gottstein Futurity on closing day.

Here's a closer look at the top contenders:

Class Included

Owners and breeders: Michael and Amy Feuerborn; trainer: Jim Penney. 4-year-old Kentucky-bred filly by Include-A Classic Life.

2012 Emerald Downs record: 5-4-1-0-$112,575. Stakes Wins: $65,000 Emerald Distaff, $50,000 Boeing Handicap, $50,000 Hastings Handicap. Stakes placed: 2nd $50,000 Washington State Legislators Handicap.

Comment: In 15 career starts (12 at Emerald Downs, three at Hastings Racecourse) she has never finished worse than second, a remarkable achievement for any horse. Dominated her division this year and is a cinch to be voted Top Older Filly or Mare, but some voters may note a lack of depth in this division when casting ballots. The versatile filly won races this season at 5-½ furlongs, six furlongs, one mile and 1-1/8 miles.

Makors Finale

Owner and breeder: Karl Krieg; trainer Tom Wenzel. 3-year-old Washington-bred colt by Makors Mark-Coup de Foudre.

2012 Emerald Downs record: 5-4-0-0-$110,168. Stakes Wins: $65,000 Emerald Downs Derby, $50,000 Coca-Cola Handicap, $50,000 Auburn Handicap (dead-heat) $35,000 Chinook Pass Stakes (WA-Bred).

Comment: Became only the second 3-Year-Old Colt or Gelding to win four stakes in a season while winning gate-to-wire at distances of 6½ furlongs, one mile (twice) and 1 1/8 miles. Could duplicate the achievement of his father, Makors Mark, 2001 Emerald Downs Horse of the Meeting.

Winning Machine

Owner and breeder: Fleur De Lis Stables (Paul Goldberg and Raymond Kwik); trainer: Frank Lucarelli. 6-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding by Toccet-Dance With Carson.

2012 Emerald Downs record: 4-2-1-1-$105,102. Stakes Wins: $50,000 Governor's Handicap, $50,000 Budweiser Handicap Stakes placed: 2nd $200,000 Longacres Mile, 3rd $50,000 Mt. Rainier Handicap.

Comment: Came within a neck and a head of running the table in the older handicap division. Ran the best race of his career in the Grade 3 Longacres Mile, missing by a head in a tremendous effort at 8-to-1 odds. Demon Warlock in 2004 was voted Horse of the Meeting after finishing second to Adreamisborn in the Longacres Mile.

Past Emerald Downs' Horse of the Meetings

2010 and 2011 – Noosa Beach

2009 – Assessment

2008 – Wasserman

2007 – The Great Face

2006 – Flamethrowintexan

2005 – No Giveaway

2004 – Demon Warlock

2003 – Youcan'ttakeme

2002 – Flying Notes

2001 – Makors Mark

2000 – Edneator

1999 – No Curfew

1998 – Wild Wonder

1997 – Kid Katabatic

1996 – Name for Norm.

Other awards to be decided closing week: Top Washington-Bred, Older Horse, Sprinter, Older Filly or Mare, 3-Year-Old Male, 3-Year-Old Filly, Juvenile Male, Juvenile Filly, Claimer, Race of the Meet, Training Achievement, Riding Achievement, Durkan Award, Lindy Award.

Familiar rivals chase trainer's title

It wouldn't be an Emerald Downs season if conditioners Frank Lucarelli and Tim McCanna weren't competing for the training title.

After all, the pair has combined for 14 championships (McCanna 10, Lucarelli 4), 1,516 wins (McCanna 847-to-719) and has finished one-two in eight of the track's 16 seasons. While McCanna leads Lucarelli in both titles and wins, it's Lucarelli that holds a 43-39 edge heading into the meet's six remaining race days. If Lucarelli's lead stands, it would give the New York native his first successive titles. If not, McCanna would secure his fifth championship in six seasons.

A four-win cushion could prove the difference, as McCanna entered 13 horses this week to Lucarelli's three. However, eight of McCanna's runners will compete in four different races, Meaning, McCanna's chances to win are likely reduced to nine*the number of races he has entered in.

As for leading jockey, veteran Juan Gutierrez has all but clinched his first Emerald Downs' riding title with a 105-88 lead over Leslie Mawing. Gutierrez is No. 2 all-time with 983 wins at Emerald Downs and has an outside chance – he needs 17 wins in six days – to reach the 1,000 mark in 2012.

Rainier Ice heads stacked Saturday feature

It's been nearly two months since Rainier Ice's last race, yet the 4-year-old colt looks tough to beat in Saturday's $14,800 feature race, a $20,000/$18,000 claiming race for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs.

Coming off a fifth-place effort in the July 22 Mt. Rainier Handicap, Rainier Ice takes a drop in class in search of his first victory since winning his June 3 season debut for a $32,000 tag.

The drop is a mild surprise considering the son of Forestry finished only a half-length back from Winning Machine in the June 17 Budweiser Handicap. And in August, Winning Machine came up just short to Taylor Said in the $200,000 Longacres Mile (G3).

If Rainier Ice can't return to winning form, expect Wasserman, the track's all-time leading earner with $558,088, to put forth his usual honest effort for top honors. A 10-year-old by Cahill Road, Wasserman comes off three solid performances including a half-length victory last month over steady claimers Untilifindyou and Mr. Mad Max. A stone closer, Wasserman might be compromised, however, by what projects to be a fairly soft pace.

Likely front-runners could be Seminole Brave, an 8-year-old stakes winner, and Zagreus, a three-time winner this season. While both horses should benefit from the pace scenario, neither horse is without something to prove. Seminole Brave, a stakes winner at Hastings Racecourse, has back class but has only one win since 2009, and Zagreus must handle a class hike after winning at the $10,000 claiming level.

Notes

Week 22 honors: Jockey – Connie Doll (6-1-0-1); trainer – Frank Lucarelli (4-3-0-0); owner – Karl Krieg (1-1-0-0); groom – Crecencio Delgado-Reverie (Junior Coffey); Washington bred – Cielator (breeder Gerald & Gail Schneider). ...

In addition to setting a track record for biggest winning margin in a stakes race at Emerald Downs – 15 lengths in the Chinook Pass Stakes – Makors Finale was given a career-high 90 Beyer after running one mile in 1:34.75. ... Cielator earned the biggest Beyer by a filly or mare at the meet, 88, for her 5¾-length romp in the Belle Roberts Stakes. ... Other WA Cup X Beyers: Kooky Saluki earned a career-high 88 for his victory in the Muckleshoot Tribal Classic; Talk to My Lawyer got a career-high 75 for her win in the John & Kitty Fletcher Stakes; Roveing Patrol was given a 67 for her triumph in the Diane Kem Stakes; and Music of My Soul was given a 72 for his win in the Dennis Dodge Stakes. ... Music of My Soul, six furlongs in 1:09.25, got the biggest Beyer by any 2-year-old at the meeting, eclipsing the 71 Finallygotabentley was given for his maiden win on Sept. 3. ...

Jerre Paxton (Northwest Farms), No. 1 all-time with 29 stakes wins, achieved tremendous success earlier this week in the 2012 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. As the breeder, Paxton sold two yearling colts for $390,00 and $360,000, respectively. The former is a half-brother to two-time Emerald Downs' stakes winner Rainier Ice and is by Tapit out of Gone to the West. The latter is by Medaglia d'Oro out of Shampoo, a five-time Emerald Downs' stakes winner. ...

Trainer Tom Wenzel said 2-year-old fillies Goin to the Window, Blueberry Smoothie and Stopshoppingdebbie – all owned by Northwest Farms – remain in training and that Blueberry Smoothie would run in the $50,000 Barbara Shinpoch Stakes rescheduled for Saturday, Sept. 22. ... Dream Caller shoots for her fourth straight win in Saturday's second race, a $25,000 claimer for older fillies and mares at 6½ furlongs. Owned by Dr. Rodney Orr and trained by Chris Stenslie, the 4-year-old filly has won her last three starts by 3¾, 7½ and 2¼ lengths. ...

Up Your Plan could become the meet's first five-time winner with a victory in Saturday's third race, a $5,000 claimer for older fillies and mares at six furlongs. A 5-year-old mare, Up Your Plan is 4-5-0 in 10 starts this season for trainer Jose Navarro. ... Thirteen horses have won four races at the meet including several scheduled to compete in the Ashbaugh Beal Claiming Challenge on closing day, Sunday, Sept. 23. ... Friday's first race is a mixed 870-yard dash featuring three Thoroughbreds and three Quarter Horses. ...

Fiesty Lass makes her meet-leading 15th start in Saturday's fifth race for $2,500 claiming fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles. A 4-year-old Washington-bred by Kasparaov, Fiesty Lass is 2-2-5 in 14 starts this season for trainer Bonifacio Rayas.

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