Elliott Bat, voted track and state champion 2-year-old last year, makes his first start of 2018 Sunday in the $50,000 Auburn Stakes for 3-year-old colts and geldings at six furlongs.
A record field of 11 is entered in the Auburn, first of five open stakes for 3-year-olds culminating with the inaugural running of the $100,000 Getaway Stakes on Sunday, September 23.
Trainer Howard Belvoir said Elliott Bay is ready for Sunday’s assignment, but miffed that two allowance preps failed to fill last month.
“It’s interesting that we couldn’t get an allowance race to go, and then we have (11) horses in the Auburn,” Belvoir said. “My horse has been training great all spring, he’s ready to run. He’s bored with training.”
For the record, Elliott Bay has logged 12 official workouts this spring, including five at five furlongs and one each at six and seven furlongs.
By Harbor the Gold-Melba Jewel, Elliott Bay is 2-2-0 in five starts with earnings of $90,687 for Rising Star Stable II. Both his victories were in stakes races—by three-quarters of a length over Sippin Fire in the WTBOA Lads Stakes at six furlongs, and by 1½-lengths over Trump Itz in the Gottstein Futurity at 1 1/16 miles.
Elliott Bay drew the No. 10 post-position with regular rider Jennifer Whitaker the jockey. Interestingly, posts 10, 11 and 12 are a combined 0-26 in sprints the last two seasons at Emerald Downs.
Sippin Fire makes his first start since his 5½-length victory over Elliott Bay in the Washington Cup Juvenile Colts and Geldings. He skipped the subsequent Gottstein Futurity won by Elliott Bay.
A Washington-bred by Harbor the Gold-Bahati, Sippin Fire is 2-1-0 in four starts with earnings of $47,888 for trainer Steve Bullock and How We Roll 4.
Hastings shipper Boundary Bay, a full brother to 2016 Emerald Downs Horse of the Meeting O B Harbor, prevailed in a six-furlong allowance over the bullring April 22.
• Four of the 11 entrants are by Harbor the Gold: Elliott Bay, Sippin Fire, Boundary Bay and Winter Knight. Harbor the Gold is far and away No. 1 all-time with 56 stakes wins at Emerald Downs. Slewdledo ranks second with 27.
• The inaugural Auburn in 1996 drew 12 entrants, but that race was for 3-year-olds and up. The 2004 and 2011 Auburn both drew fields of nine.
• Entries for Monday’s $50,000 Hastings Stakes for older fillies and mares at six furlongs will be drawn Monday. Defending champion Citizen Kitty is the probable favorite.
The field for Sunday’s $50,000 Auburn Stakes, 3-year-old colts & geldings, six furlongs, Race 6, 5:07 pm: 1-Hey Sequoia, Patrick Henry Jr., 117 pounds; 2-Oldtoytrain, Gary Wales, 117; 3-Winter Knight, Jose Zunino, 117; 4-Sippin Fire, Rocco Bowen, 121; 5-Freiburg, Eswan Flores, 117; 6-Vicente’s Shadow, Erick Lopez, 117; 7-Whatwasithinking, Kevin Orozco, 119; 8-Choreography, Austin Solis, 117; 9-My Heart Awakens, Leonel Camacho Flores, 117; 10-Elliott Bay, Jennifer Whitaker, 121; 11-Boundary Bay, Julien Couton, 117.
Racing this week
Friday, May 25
6:30 p.m. (7 races)
$0.20 Jackpot Pick 7 carryover: $5,535
Saturday, May 26
2 p.m. (9 races)
Sunday, May 27
2 p.m. (9 races)
$50,000 Auburn Stakes (3 year olds, colts and gelding, 6 furlongs)
Armed Forces Day
Monday, May 28
2 p.m. (9 races)
$50,000 Hastings Stakes (3 & up, fillies and mares, 6 furlongs)
Memorial Day Outdoor Drawing
Saturday’s opener is the first quarter horse race of the meet, a $5,000 allowance for 3-year-olds and up at 350 yards. Eduardo Gutierrez Sosa and Hector Magallanes –the leading QH rider and trainer last year – combine with Favorite Hawk on Saturday. Once again, the biggest race for Quarter Horses is the $30,000 Bank of America Emerald Downs Championship Challenge Stakes on Aug. 26. … Nominations close Saturday for the $50,000 Governor’s Stakes for 3-year-olds and up on Sunday, June 3. At six furlongs, the Governor’s is first stop on the road to the $200,000 Longacres Mile (Grade 3) on Sunday, Aug. 12. … Alliford Bay scored an easy three-length victory in Monday’s $50,000 Vancouver Sun Handicap at Hastings Racecourse. Owned by Peter Redekop and trained by Blaine Wright, Alliford Bay ($2.30) ran 6½ furlongs in 1:17.22 and earned an 83 Beyer. … 2015 Governor’s Handicap winner Fleet Eagle is still going strong at age 9, scoring a two-length victory in a $18,000 claimer Monday at Presque Isle Downs in Erie, Penn. In the 2015 Governor’s, Fleet Eagle ran 6½ furlongs in 1:14.27, earned a 100 Beyer, and paid $81.40 to win. … Rocco Bowen, who begins the week with 21 wins and a 10-win lead atop the riders’ standings, celebrated his 29th birthday Wednesday. Bowen needs 13 wins to become the eighth jockey with 500 wins at Emerald Downs.