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Stopshoppingdebbie puts perfect record on the line in Sunday's stakes | Emerald Downs
For the Reporter
California Chrome isn't the only superstar Thoroughbred in action this weekend.
A day after the California-bred colt seeks racing immortality in the Belmont Stakes, Emerald Downs serves up its own version of equine perfection when Stopshoppingdebbie places her undefeated record on the line Sunday in the $50,000 Washington State Legislators Stakes for fillies and mares at 6½ furlongs.
A field of six is entered in the 19th running of the Washington State Legislators, but horseplayers undoubtedly will view the event as a one-horse contest featuring Stopshoppingdebbie. Assigned high weight of 123 pounds, Stopshoppingdebbie comes off a scintillating four-length victory in the Hastings Handicap in which she equaled the stakes record of 1:08.20 for six furlongs.
"She really has matured, she's twice as nice as she was last year," said Rocco Bowen, Stopshoppingdebbie's regular rider. "She's so smooth. You don't even feel it when she switches leads. The only thing you feel is when she switches gears."
A Northwest Farms homebred by Curlin-Taste the Passion, Stopshoppingdebbie is 6-for-6 with lifetime earnings of $156,273. She is 3-for-3 in sprints, 3-for-3 in routes, and with no apparent weaknesses. The only close call was a head victory last July in the 1 1/16-mile Kent Handicap, in which she was attacked early and late, and then forced to re-rally to edge her stable mate Goin to the Window.
In the Hastings, Stopshoppingdebbie won easily, despite losing ground around the turn.
"I think she proved to us a couple weeks ago that she's the best horse on the grounds," Bowen said. "You still have to handicap the field. In this game you can never take something for granted. In case something happens, you have to have a Plan B, but thankfully we haven't had to go to Plan B yet."
In addition to Stopshoppingdebbie, trainer Tom Wenzel sends out Blueberry Smoothie and Goin to the Window, who have compiled four seconds and five thirds while competing against Stopshoppingdebbie the last two years.
Madame Pele, a strong second in the Hastings, also has a chance to dethrone Stopshoppingdebbie. A 4-year-old Salt Lake filly conditioned by Washington Hall of Famer Jim Penney, Madame Pele is a stakes winner at 6½ furlongs, scoring a 1 ½-length victory in the Mesa Handicap this spring at Turf Paradise.
• Bowen and Wenzel are a combined 7-for-13 in Emerald Downs stakes races including 5-for-5 with Stopshoppingdebbie.
• With a victory Sunday, Stopshoppingdebbie would become only the 10th horse to win six stakes races at Emerald Downs.
• The Washington State Legislators Stakes, race eight on a nine-race program, goes at 5:39 p.m. The Press Box Podcast airs from 5:10-6:10 p.m.
• Stephanie Plum, nominated to the Washington State Legislators, runs in Saturday's $18,900 allowance/optional claiming feature at six furlongs.
• The field for Sunday's 19th running of the $50,000 Washington State Legislators Stakes (from the rail out, with handicap weights): Tabled With Gold, Ronald Richard, 115 pounds, Blueberry Smoothie, Javier Matias, 117; Finding More, Eliska Kubinova, 115; Goin to the Window, Juan Gutierrez, 117; Madame Pele, Gallyn Mitchell, 118; Stopshoppingdebbie, Rocco Bowen 123.
Belmont Stakes simulcast
Emerald Downs is the place to be Saturday as California Chrome goes for the Triple Crown. Emerald Downs' gates open at 8 a.m., with the 14-race Belmont Park beginning at 8:35 a.m.
The 146th Belmont Stakes is scheduled as Race 11 at 3:52 p.m. (Pacific).
The Belmont card features 10 stakes worth over $8,000,000 in purses and includes several special wagers: $500,000 Guaranteed Pick 5 begins on Race 1; $1,000,000 Guaranteed Pick 6 begins in Race 6; $1,500,000 Guaranteed Pick 4 begins on Race 8.
Guys Weekend on tap
Celebrate everything guys love this weekend at Emerald Downs as the track presents its first ever Guys Weekend on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The three-day extravaganza features a myriad of activities for the guys: thunderboats, dragsters, an appearance by the SeaGals, and scores of giveaways, including a Russell Wilson autographed football.
With live racing all three days, Emerald Downs plays host to some of the local greats from in and around the Seattle area. Saturday, Seattle Sonics all-time great power forward Shawn Kemp, Denver Nuggets point guard Aaron Brooks, University of Washington Husky greats Nesby Glasgow, Eldridge Recasner and Sonny Sixkiller, former Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Ben Obomanu and Yes drummer Alan White will be in attendance.
The guest list also includes broadcast personalities David Grosby (KIRO Radio), Paul Silvi (KING-5), Eric Radovich (UW PA Announcer) and Jeff "The Fish" Aaron (Fox Sports 1380), with Radovich and "The Fish" expected to fill in for track announcer Robert Geller, each calling a live race on Saturday's card.
Along with many other local vendors and icons, members of the Seattle Mist — a lingerie football team from the Legends Football League — will be at Emerald Downs visiting with attendees throughout the weekend. Speaking of football, race fans will have an opportunity to enter to win several prizes.
Guys Weekend kicks off Friday with the meet's first of three Brewer's Nights, beginning at 6 p.m. with $2.50 16-ounce craft pounders, then a spin of the Wheel of Good Fortune to determine beer prices each race thereafter. Presented by Northwest Brewing Company and serenaded by DJ Ottomatic, Brewer's Night will have its very own beer garden and will offer several prize drawings throughout the evening.
In the North Park, KZOK 102.5 FM will oversee a slew of activities including a dunk tank, speed pitch and Thunderbird slap shot. For $5, participants will have three tries at the dunk tank with all proceeds going directly toward the Prodigious Fund.
KCPQ's Aaron Levine of Q It Up Sports will give Geller a breather to announce Race 3 — a $4,000 NW3 for 3-year-olds and upward running one mile. On Sunday, more media-types will step to the microphone as horse owner and retired KOMO-TV anchor Dan Lewis and Seattle Times writer Scott Hanson will each play Geller for one race apiece.
Weekly honors: Jockey-Isaias Enriquez (18-5-6-1); Trainer-Joe Toye (5-3-1-0); Owner-Mike & Amy Feuerborn (2-1-1-0); Groom-Noe Regalado (trainer Frank Lucarelli); Washington-bred-Trackattacker (breeder Dr. Duane & Sue Hopp). ... 2-year-old gelding Trackattacker earned a 74 Beyer for his track-record performance in last Sunday's second race. A Washington-bred by Harbor the Gold-Eclatante, Trackattacker ran 4½ furlongs in :49.98 while defeating Moby by nine lengths, and earning a bigger figure than any 2-year-old got all last year at Emerald Downs. Del Rio Harbor, EmD's Top Juvenile of 2013, earned a 73 while winning the 2013 Gottstein Futurity last September and Sea Speaker, whose track record Trackattacker broke, got a 72 while setting the previous mark of :50.0 for 4 ½ furlongs on August 25, 2007. ... In Sunday's Seattle Handicap for 3-year-old fillies, City by the Bay earned a 74 Beyer while remaining undefeated with a three-quarter-length victory over Chu and You in 1:14.76 for 6½ furlongs. ... In the claiming game, both Memphis Beach and Holy Dazzle changed barns for $20,000 last week, and overall claims are up nearly 20 percent this year at Emerald Downs. Through Sunday, 40 horses have been claimed for an aggregate $221,000, compared to 34 claims for $204,000 through the same date last year. Jeff Metz has claimed seven horses and lost three at the claim box, while Rigoberto Velasquez has claimed six horses and lost five. ... Super Ninety Nine, bred by Northwest Farms and younger brother of 2009 Emerald Downs' Top Older Filly or Mare Elusive Horizon returns to action in a $63,000 allowance race Friday at Santa Anita. The 4-year-old Pulpit colt has been off since finishing third in the 2013 Santa Anita Derby. ... EmD paddock handicappers Vic Cozzetti and John Lindley were in fine form Sunday, giving out a $1,099 Pick 5 on a suggested $18 ticket. The winners included Lean Cozzene ($26.40) and Hard Slider ($11.20). ... Hard Slider's victory capped a big weekend for Lucarelli, who saddled Trackattacker to his track record win Sunday and 4-year-old filly Spot On Babe to her third straight win at the meet in the Friday feature. Spot On Babe is tied with Vegas Burn, He's a Cruiser and Cha Cha Latte for most wins at the meet with three apiece. He's a Cruiser shoots for his fourth straight win Saturday in the seventh race for $15,000 claimers at six furlongs. ... Among trainers in the Top 10, Alan Bozell ranks No. 1 in highest average $2 win payoff at $17.90. ... Ronald Richard and Jose Zunino lead jockeys in highest average $2 win payoff at $18.90 and $18.10. ... Hastings Racecourse honors its United States neighbors Saturday with the $50,000 Emerald Downs Handicap for 3-year-old fillies at 6½ furlongs. Ole's Miss, upset winner of the Ross McLeod Stakes last month, is the probable favorite for trainer L.T. McCarthy and 2013 Longacres Mile-winning jockey Amadeo Perez. ... Trainer of the Week Joe Toye has won with four of six starters, including the ageless 10-year-old Sun City, now with 22 career wins and nearly $200,000 in earnings for Terra Firma Farm (Joe & Kari Toye). A daughter of Snowbound, Sun City spends winters in Phoenix and summers in Seattle, posting 12 career wins at Turf Paradise and 10 at Emerald Downs. ... Trainer Terry Gillihan celebrates his 58th birthday Saturday. ... Fleur De Lis Stable has transferred 2012 Longacres Mile runner-up Winning Machine from Lucarelli to trainer Howard Belvoir. Champagneandcaviar, Winning Machine's younger sister and Emd's champion 3-year-old filly of 2012, is entered in a $35,000 allowance race Saturday at Golden Gate Fields. ... Owner of the Week Mike Feuerborn said Scat Daddybaby has resumed training but will miss the $50,000 Budweiser Handicap on Sunday, June 15. The 4-year-old Scat Daddy gelding won a $21,000 allowance race on April 20 in 1:08.20 for six furlongs.