In addition to Thoroughbreds, every year Emerald Downs presents has a special day of weiner dog racing, but Sunday represents a first: camel and ostrich racing in Auburn.
Presented by Hedricks Promotions of Nickerson, Kansas, the ostriches will compete between Sunday’s second and third races while the camels are scheduled between races four and five. Each race is one-sixteenth of a mile, with celebrity riders in the saddle.
Ostrich riders: Rocco Bowen, Lance Bullock, Abbie Johnson, David Martin and Jose Zunino. Camel riders: Roddina Barrett, Rocco Bowen, Tena Birdwell and Matt Dinerman.
Late entry to Sunday’s Governor’s
The Governor’s Stakes got some added juice Thursday when Peter Redekop’s lightning fast 7-year-old was a last-minute supplemental nomination to Sunday’s $50,000 race at six furlongs.
Winner of 11-of-26 career starts and $564,430 in earnings, Distinctiv Passion is a five-time stakes winner including four stakes in Southern California topped by a gate-to-wire score in the 2015 Los Angeles Stakes.
Claimed for $62,500 by Peter Redekop this spring at Santa Anita, Distinctiv Passion led all the way for a one-length victory in the April 23 Swift Inaugural at Hastings Racecourse, and would have been favored in last Sunday’s George Royal Stakes in Vancouver.
But a reported leg infection necessitated a late scratch, and Redekop and trainer Philip Hall called an audible and paid a $1,250 fee to supplement and ship to Emerald Downs, where Blaine Wright will handle saddling chores in the Governor’s.
Although the late addition of Distinctiv Passion could foil Prime Engine’s plans on the front end, trainer Mike Puhich said the 5-year-old Northern Afleet gelding remains razor sharp. In fact, Puhich said Prime Engine’s half-mile work in :47 2/5 Wednesday at Pegasus Training Center was the best drill he’s seen in his nine years there.
“He’s doing as good as he was before his race last month,” Puhich said. “He’s doing great.”
Prime Engine delivered the race of the meeting to date while blowing the drawers off a good allowance field by 3¾ lengths in a scorching 1:01.10 for 5½ furlongs. The 95 Beyer is highest of the meet.
Prime Engine drew the No. 1 post-position, which is 4-for-21 in the Governor’s at Emerald Downs, including a victory by the Puhich-trained Hoist in 2014. Although his overall record is a moderate 4-3-0 in 13 starts, Prime Engine has delivered some remarkable races here, beginning with a 5 ½-length victory in the 2014 Gottstein Futurity and including a six-length blowout in the 2015 Emerald Downs Derby.
Barkley probably won’t mind the late addition of Distinctiv Passion. Last year’s Top 3-Year-Old did well to finish second vs. Prime Engine last month, overcoming a severe bump at the break that easily cost him several lengths to edge Mach One Rules in the final stride for second.
• The Governor’s Stakes goes as Race 8 at 5:39 p.m.
• O B Harbor set a stakes record 1:13.59 winning last year’s Governor’s en route to Horse of the Meeting honors.
• The Governor’s has been shortened a half-furlong for 2017 and the older handicap division now features two sprints instead of only one.
• David G. Lopez, rider of Canadian invader Sabado Alegre, currently tops the standings with 10 wins at Hastings Racecourse.
• The older handicap division also features the $50,000 Budweiser Stakes, 6½ furlongs, June 18; $50,000 Mt. Rainier Stakes, 1 1/16-mile, July 16; $200,000 Longacres Mile, one mile, Aug. 13; $50,000 Muckleshoot Tribal Classic (s), Aug. 27.
The field for the $50,000 Governor’s Stakes for 3-year-olds & up: 1-Prime Engine, Eswan Flores, 118 pounds; 2-Mach One Rules, Isaias Enriquez, 118; 3-Togrammashousewego, Rocco Bowen, 118; 4-Barkley, Javier Matias, 118; 5-The Press, Jennifer Whitaker, 118; 6-Distinctiv Passion, Juan Gutierrez, 120; 7-Sabado Alegre, David Lopez, 118.
Invested Prospect odds-on in Hastings
Weekend stakes activity also features Saturday’s $50,000 Hastings Stakes for older fillies and mares at six furlongs, with John and Janene Maryanski and Riverbend Farm’s Invested Prospect looming a very short price.
In fact, Emerald Downs’ line maker Rob Rao installed Invested Prospect 1-to-2 morning line favorite, making the 4-year-old Abraaj filly the shortest morning line favorite of the meeting. And considering the Blaine Wright trainee is 7-for-7 sprinting, including an easy five-length win against many of these same foes three weeks ago, the price could even be shorter than 1-to-2.
Citizen Kitty – older sister of Invested Prospect—could have the best chance for an upset Saturday. Third in the 2016 Hastings, Citizen Kitty rallied to finish second in the allowance won by Invested Prospect and three of her four career wins are at six furlongs.
Invested Prospect and Citizen Kitty are both out of No Constraints, Washington’s champion 2-year-old filly after winning two stakes here in 2007.
• The Hastings Stakes goes as Race 7 at 5:09 p.m.
• Speed horses have fared well in the Hastings with 10 gate-to-wire winners in 21 runnings, and 14 of the last 16 winners led at the stretch call (eighth pole). The only exceptions are Class Included in 2012 and Estellara in 2016.
• A victory by Princess Kennedy would give jockey Rocco Bowen and trainer Tom Wenzel their third Hastings win in four years: Stopshoppingdebbie won in 2014 and Kikisoblu in 2015.
• Princess Kennedy is a two-time Emerald Downs’ champion: 2-Year-old Filly in 2015 and 3-Year-Old Filly in 2016.
• B C Z Middleton, Perhaps a Pie, Princess Kennedy and Invested Prospect are all Emerald Downs’ stakes winners.
• The Hastings is first of four open stakes for older fillies and mares in 2017. The others: $50,000 Washington State Legislators Stakes, 6½ furlongs, June 17; $50,000 Boeing Stakes, one mile, July 16; $65,000 Emerald Distaff, 1 1/8 mile, Aug. 13.
The field for the $50,000 Hastings Stakes for fillies and mares 3-year-olds & up: 1-Sweet Tashi, Eliska Kubinova, 117 pounds, 20-1; 2-Protective Shield, Javier Matias, 117; 20-1; 3-Citizen Kitty, Eswan Flores, 117, 4-1; 4-Princess Kennedy, Rocco Bowen, 117, 6-1; 5-Invested Prospect, Juan Gutierrez, 117, 1-2; 6-Listo, Isaias Enriquez, 117, 15-1; 7-Perhaps a Pie, Kevin Orozco, 117, 12-1; 8-B C Z Middleton, Jose Zunino, 119, 15-1.
Don Munger will be honored with an obituary in the program throughout the weekend and Emerald Downs will observe a moment of silence before Sunday’s races. A horsemen’s service honoring Munger is tentatively set for 1 p.m., Monday, June 5, at the WTBOA sales pavilion. … In a coincidence, Seattle Stakes winner Alliford Bay and Auburn Stakes winner Sharkzilla both ran six furlongs in 1:08.92. … Party Pooper’s 87 Beyer in Saturday’s $20,000 claimer for older horses, was largest by a claiming horse this season at Emerald Downs. … Rocco Bowen’s eight wins last week were twice as many as any other rider and he enters Week 7 with a 26-19 lead on Kevin Orozco in the jockeys’ standings. Incidentally, Bowen celebrates his 28th birthday Tuesday. … Saturday’s nine-race card begins with the first two Quarter Horse races of the season. The opener is a $3,200 maiden claimer for 3-year-olds and up at 300 yards and race two is a $3,600 allowance for 3-year-olds and up which have never won two races at 300 yards. Trainer Roddina Barrett and jockey Osvaldo Gonzalez, who topped last years’ QH standings with eight and six wins respectively, combine with A Lucky Demon in race one and Switch the Style Up in race two. … Emerald Downs’ opens 7 a.m. Saturday on Preakness Day, with the first Pimlico race simulcast at 7:30 a.m. Post time for the 142nd Preakness (Race 13) is 3:38 p.m. and there is a special Pimlico daily double on Friday’s Black Eyed Susan (Race 11) and the Preakness Stakes. Advance wagering on the entire Saturday Pimlico card is available all day Friday. … Hastings Racecourse offers holiday racing Monday, featuring the $50,000 Ross McLeod for 3-year-old fillies and $50,000 Jim Coleman Province for 3-year-olds. … Friday’s Emerald Downs’ card includes a $12,424 carryover in the $0.50 Pick 5.