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Harwood holds pair of aces in Sunday's $50,000 Auburn Handicap | Emerald Downs

Del Rio Harbor, left, and Noosito, shown competing in the 2013 Daily Racing Form Dennis Dodge Stakes, square off Sunday in the $50,000 Auburn Handicap for 3-year-old colts & geldings - Courtesy photo/Emerald Downs
Del Rio Harbor, left, and Noosito, shown competing in the 2013 Daily Racing Form Dennis Dodge Stakes, square off Sunday in the $50,000 Auburn Handicap for 3-year-old colts & geldings
— image credit: Courtesy photo/Emerald Downs

For the Reporter

The track's all-time leader in stakes wins with 61, trainer Doris Harwood will be heavily favored to up that total Sunday in the $50,000 Auburn Handicap for 3-year-old colts and geldings.

Harwood sends out Del Rio Harbor and Noosito in the 6½-furlong Auburn, which is the first of four open stakes this season for sophomores at Emerald Downs.

Del Rio Harbor and Noosito figure to dominate wagering in the Auburn. Both are stakes winners, although Del Rio Harbor is a bit more proven after racking up three stakes wins as a 2-year-old and earning honors as the track's Top Juvenile Male. The chestnut gelding could enjoy a fitness edge Sunday as well, having he scored a 1¼-length allowance victory in 1:03.65 for 5½ furlongs on May 4.

"Del Rio Harbor is such a pleasure to have in my barn," Harwood said. "All he does is sleep and eat and goes to the racetrack and does whatever I ask him to do, willingly. He's been very difficult to beat. He hasn't done anything wrong."

Owned and bred by Bar C Racing Stables and Desert Rose Racing, Del Rio Harbor is 5-1-0 in seven starts with earnings of $120,709. He drew the No. 1 post-position with Isaias Enriquez named to ride at high weight of 122 lbs.

Noosito will make his first start since a third to Del Rio Harbor in the Gottstein Futurity last September. Owned by Last Rose Stable, the full brother to Noosa Beach was 2-0-2 in four starts as a 2-year-old, earning $52,878 and dropping two-of-three head-to-head match-ups with Del Rio Harbor.

Noosito drew the outside No. 5 post, with Leslie Mawing named to ride at 120 pounds.

"Noosito has been a bit of a challenge," Harwood said. "He got a bruise before the last allowance race, so we didn't get the first out before the stake. To me, Noosito is still growing. Is he his very best right now? I think he can get better.

"However, I do have him as ready and as fit for this race as he can be."

• The Auburn Handicap, race eight on a nine-race program, goes at 5:49 p.m.

• Trainer Chris Stenslie and owners Jody Peetz and Scott and Tina Saxwold scored the second biggest upset in Emerald Downs stakes history with 50-1 Showme Yourfriends in the 2011 Auburn Handicap. The same connections combine with Stikine Slough this year.

• Jockey Rocco Bowen and trainer Jeff Metz, who combine with Redsolocup, are a combined 17-5-6 in 40 starts at the meet.

The field for Sunday's $50,000 Auburn Handicap (from the rail out, with handicap weights): Del Rio Harbor, Isaias Enriquez, 122 pounds; Redsolocup, Rocco Bowen, 116; Mebossman, David G. Lopez, 115; Stikine Slough, Felipe Valdez, 118; Noosito, Leslie Mawing, 120.

Special schedule this week

There is no live racing this Friday only at Emerald Downs, although the facility will be open for simulcast wagering from around the country.

Racing resumes with the regular 2 p.m. first post on Saturday and Sunday, and Emerald Downs offers holiday racing on Monday with first post 2 p.m.

Notes

Weekly honors: Jockey – Jose Zunino (10-4-0-2); Trainer – Don Munger (3-2-1-0); Owner – Preston Boyd (2-2-0-0); Groom – Hugo Chavez (Tim McCanna); Washington-bred – Clemens Brook (breeder Ramer Holtan). ... Why Not Be Perfect earned a career-high & Emerald Downs' season high 96 Beyer for his 1¼-length victory in Sunday's Governor's Handicap. The 7-year-old Kentucky-bred ran 6½ furlongs in a stakes record 1:13.72, and the $59.60 win payoff was second largest in the 74-year history of the race and sixth largest stakes payoff in track history. ... Governor's runner-up Jebrica earned a 93 Beyer, equaling the mark he received while finishing fourth in the 2013 Longacres Mile. ... Washington-bred of the Week Clemens Brook tied her career-high with a 77 Beyer in Friday's feature race for $20,000/$18,000 claiming fillies and mares. The 7-year-old Petersburg mare ran six furlongs in 1:09.11and is 12-for-29 lifetime. ... 5-year-old gelding Memphis Beach earned a career-high 81 for his 3½-length win in Saturday's seventh race for older $20,000 claimers. Trained by Dan Markle, Memphis Beach ran six furlongs in 1:08.55. ... In a racing oddity, the track's top three jockeys were a combined 3-for-49 last week: Rocco Bowen and Isaias Enriquez were both 1-for-16 and Leslie Mawing was 1-for-17. ... With 24 wins in 15 days, trainer Jeff Metz is on pace to demolish Tim McCanna's single-season record of 66 wins set in 2008. At his current pace, Metz would finish with 120 wins. ... Metz said he watched Why Not Be Perfect's race on the Emerald Downs' website while eating dinner in a restaurant near Prairie Meadows racetrack in Altoona, Iowa. ...

Bowen, the meet's leading rider with 23 wins, celebrates his 25th birthday Friday. ... 2-year-old racing begins in Saturday's first race as six 2-year-old colts & geldings race 4½ furlongs for a $25,000 claiming price. Roy Lumm and Neil Knapp have two runners each in the race. ... Saturday's nine-race card features 69 horses or 8.6 runners per race, topped by an 11-horse field of older fillies and mares in race six. ... Owner Barbara Schmid was two-for-two last week, scoring gate-to-wire victories with 7-year-old gelding Buds a Flyin and 4-year-old filly Wind a Flyin. Schmid is 3-1-0 in four starts overall. ... Doris Harwood needs 12 wins to become the fifth trainer in track history to win 500 races. ... I Think So ($6.80), a 4-year-old filly owned by Mark Dedomenico and Glen Todd, won Monday's $50,000 Strawberry Morn Handicap for fillies and mares under Alex Bisono at Hastings Racecourse. And Taylors Deal ($6.60), a 5-year-old owned by Todd and Troy Taylor, improved to 7-for-11 lifetime with a 1 ¼-length victory under Mario Gutierrez in the John Longden 6000 at Hastings. ... Entries for Monday's Memorial Day card at Emerald Downs will be drawn Friday.

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