Open Enrollment Time!


We still have room for you in the 2017 Emerald Racing Club!

Open enrollment began Thursday–meaning newcomers and returnees alike are now eligible to register for the Club. It looks like we have a great balance of newcomers and veterans in 2017!

I’m trying to email everyone individually as each account is processed, and returnees should begin hearing from me this week. Every couple of days I send Jan Baze in the racing office and Debbie Hopkins of the Washington Horse Racing Commission an updated list of ERC members for 2017. This lets them know when you’re clear to get your WHRC license. (Current licensing hours are 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday thru Friday).

Our main objective now is to acquire horses for the Emerald Racing Club. Nothing yet, but we’re looking hard.

Orientation will be Sunday, April 9, 12 p.m. at Emerald Downs. You all will be notified via email with the specifics of the event.

I’m generally at Emerald Downs Monday to Friday and you’re free to visit my office on the 6th floor. I’ll be happy to walk you back to the stables and show you where the Ross and Puhich barns are located and answer any other questions.

I hope you enjoy the remainder of President’s Day weekend!

Speaking of which, one good thing about lousy weather is that it allows me to catch up on my reading. And while thumbing through a defunct horse publication called Classic, I stumbled upon a quote attributed to 94-year-old Tom Clay, a lifelong horseman asked how he had endured a rough and tumble profession.

“People are always asking me the key to longevity,” he said. “The main thing, obviously, is to take care of myself. But I also give credit to the horses. They are tonic for the soul; the most honest creatures God put on this planet. Unless some damn fool spoils it, most any horse will give his best in a race, working on a ranch or on a trail.”

2017 Emerald Racing Club Registration

Happiness Is A Happy ERC!


Several of you have raised some excellent points regarding our new registration policy for 2017. In fact, I’ve received phone calls, emails and letters expressing disappointment that newcomers get first crack at registration, mainly wondering why we chose to institute a new policy without fair warning.

It’s a point well taken and one that should have been explained better when we began 2017 registration last week.

First of all, it’s a tribute to ERC founder Sophia McKee for creating something people are so passionate about and also trainer Sharon Ross for skilfully developing the horses while making the barn so accessible and enjoyable for club members. In short, Sophia created something so fun and affordable that people are returning in droves every year.

That’s great! I have been amazed and heartened by the enthusiastic membership of the Club; you folks support the horses win or lose. In discussing the future of the Club with Emerald Downs’ President Phil Ziegler, however, we examined the long-range goals and simply thought newcomers should be allowed a short window to be first up for 2017. One of the club missions is to hopefully develop new owners and new fans for Thoroughbred racing and Emerald Downs.

But we don’t wish to exclude anybody and have even discussed the possibility of separate clubs for newcomers and returnees. For this year, though, I’m pretty confident in saying there’s room for everybody who wants to return in 2017!



Announcing 2017 Emerald Racing Club!


Archie Graham returns to Ross barn, February 2, 2017

Emerald Racing Club Returns

For the fourth consecutive year Emerald Downs will have a racing club composed of 200 (maximum) Thoroughbred enthusiasts.

Registration for the 2017 Emerald Racing Club began Thursday and please note first-time club members have priority until February 15.

Cost remains only $500, with Larry and Sharon Ross and Mike Puhich our trainers for 2017. Simply complete the attached registration form below and you’re on board for 2017!

We can’t wait to get started and look forward to seeing everyone at the races!

Founded in 2014, Emerald Racing Club has compiled a 7-4-3 record in 24 starts including two wins last season by Archie Graham.

Here are just some of the benefits of becoming a member:

• Ownership in Thoroughbreds competing at Emerald Downs. Our 2017 season runs April 8 through September 17.

• Official Owner License issued by the Washington Horse Racing Commission ($108 value)

• Free admission for the entire season ($490 value)

• Owner Parking Pass ($490 value)

• Access to the restricted backstretch area to watch your racehorse train

• Paddock access on race day

• Guest passes to bring your friends and show off your racehorse!

• No hidden costs, no additional training fees or bills

Here is the official registration form:

2017 Emerald Racing Club Registration

Pictured: Archie Graham won two races for Emerald Racing Club in 2017 and is back with Larry and Sharon Ross for the 2017 season. Now owned by Left Coast Thoroughbreds, the 5-year-old gelding’s charming personality and considerable racing talent made Archie a big hit with ERC.


Diamonds Dena Finishes 4th

thumbnail_Diamonds Dena

Diamonds Dena At The Barn

Diamonds Dena never made a serious bid Friday and finished fourth in the fifth race for $10,000 claiming fillies and mares. And she was not claimed.

It was Dena’s second straight lackluster effort and now, with the season ending Sunday, we must find a buyer for our 5-year-old mare. As you know, the Emerald Racing Club Membership Agreement calls for our horses to be sold at the conclusion of the season, with the sale money added to the ERC purse account. Once we have a final total, we then can divide by 200 and let everyone know how much of their $500 they get back, or roll over to 2017, etc.

One prospective buyer surfaced immediately after Dena’s race Friday,and hopefully a deal can be made this weekend. The price seemed reasonable, given Dena’s back to back sub par outings. Stay tuned.

As for Archie Graham, we are exploring options to make it possible for our favorite gray gelding to return to the Emerald Racing Club next year. He would need to be sold and then bought back when the 2017 Emerald Racing Club begins again early next year.

In so many ways Archie been a perfect horse for our club–extremely sound, friendly and accommodating to visitors, and he has some racing talent too. It also would spare the annual frantic search for a horse and allow ERC members to visit Archie at the barn in February and March, and see how a veteran horse prepares for racing off a layoff.

Several of you already have approached me about finding a way for us to keep Archie Graham. Let us know what you think!

Archie Graham Finishes 2nd With Late Rally


Archie Graham turned in another solid effort Sunday at Emerald Downs, finishing second in the seventh race and earning $2,300 for his efforts. He’s Cagey, our nemesis all season, led gate-to-wire for a a 6 3/4-length victory in a very respectable 1:43.20 for 1 1/16 miles.

Although he didn’t get the victory, Archie Graham rallied from last and gamely edged Angel de Amour for second place money. So in seven starts for Emerald Racing Club, Archie Graham has two wins, one second,four thirds and $18,559 in purse earnings.And you’ve heard me say it all season, but this particular group of $10,000 claimers is as tough as I’ve seen at Emerald Downs.

Time for my little editorial on Archie Graham:

Archie has performed steadily all season for Emerald Racing Club. He’s a professional racehorse, giving us everything he had in seven starts while maintaining fitness and enthusiasm throughout. I know Larry and Sharon Ross have grown quite fond of Archie, ditto for regular rider Leslie Mawing, and me too.

What’s more, Archie Graham has been a delight at the barn, kind and affectionate with his many visitors and fans, and enthusiastic in his training. In short, he’s been a lot of fun.

Way to go, Archie!

We also learned Sunday that Diamonds Dena is a go for Friday night. She runs in Race 5 (about 8:30 p.m.) for $10,000 claiming older fillies and mares at one mile. Javier Matias is the rider. More on that race later in the week.

Enjoy Labor Day everybody!




Archie Graham Paddock, Sunday Sept. 4


Hi Emerald Racing Club,

Paddock for Archie Graham, Race 7, 4:45 p.m., Sunday, September 4. We have extra room because we’re on the far (north) side of the paddock.

Kay Ray

Andrew Gohl

Sal Viggsano

Milt Tremblay

Alexa Darin

C.J. Koenig

Gerald Boures

Michael Monelli

Virgil Maas

Ron Barber

David Pitts

Tom Chin

Gary Grant

Annie George

Zee Straight-Weiss

Kevin Murphy

Tammy Miller

Chris Trujillo

Stacy Hanks

Also, Diamonds Dena worked a very easy half-mile Saturday in :53.40 seconds. Entries for her race will be drawn Sunday morning.

Look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow!

Archie Graham Wins!


Archie Graham leads to the wire!

Well, that was fun!

Archie Graham rallied from the back of the pack and scored a 1 1/4-length victory Sunday in the 7th race at Emerald Downs. Ontheshadyside and Golden Dynamo dead-heated for second place while Calex, Kiss Sin Goodbye and Life Is a Joy rounded out the order of finish.

Wearing the green and white silks of Emerald Racing Club, Leslie Mawing rode Archie Graham to the triumph in 1:43.23 for 1 1/16 mile. For those that wagered, Archie Graham paid $6.20 to win, $2.60 to place and $2.20 to show.

Archie Graham earned $6,325 to push his total to $16,329 in six races for Emerald Racing Club.

As usual, whenever an Emerald Racing Club horse wins, the winner’s circle was moved onto the actual racetrack to accommodate Archie Graham and the Emerald Racing Club. What a great scene, and nice work by everybody for cheering Archie to victory!


Look at all those happy Emerald Racing Club people!

Sharon Ross said Archie Graham looked good back at the barn, so let’s hope he gets a chance for his third win of the meet.

Great job Larry, Sharon, Leslie and Emerald Racing Club!

Diamonds Dena, meanwhile, is being treated with antihistamines for her pesky hives. She’s also dealing with a bit of body soreness, and had a chiro adjustment Saturday. If all goes well, Dena will breeze an easy half-mile next weekend and then, if all is still well, we’ll look for a race the following week.

For those planning on visiting the barn, a few reminders:

The best time to visit is 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Archie Graham remains in his usual stall, but Diamonds Dena has been moved to the opposite side of the shed row into a high-traffic area. Dena’s new stall allows her better access to fresh air, but also is situated in a precarious area for visitors. Therefore please check with Sharon before going to see Diamonds Dena. You can still visit her, but it’s important that we remain safe and not interrupt training!

Also, no visitors Tuesdays.

Have a great week and let’s win another race soon,

Bummer! Diamonds Dena Finishes 6th


Ronda Rocks (blue blinkers) prevails over Winninginfashion 

Gosh folks, I don’t know what to say.

I was really excited to watch Diamonds Dena run tonight for the Emerald Racing Club. She was 2-1 on the morning line and had just beaten most of the horses she was facing Friday.

So there was good reason for optimism.

But nope. Not tonight. No way, no how.

Diamonds Dena broke lousy from the gate, dropped far back, and failed to muster a rally when jockey Erick Lopez asked her for run. We finished a well-beaten sixth as Ronda Rocks–whom Diamonds Dena beat July 8–held off Winninginfashion for the victory.

Mind you, I don’t mind losing, it’s part of the game. And I’ve been around horse racing a long time–38 years to be exact–and learned long ago to never assume anything in this sport. Thoroughbreds are animals-not machines-and they have their ups and downs just like humans.

Nevertheless, I’m baffled. Dena was 3-for-3 here this year and she wasn’t moving up in class for tonight’s race; $15,000 fillies and mares is her level. But things were amiss from the moment the gate opened. Normally, ‘Dena has tactical speed and drops about four lengths behind the leaders before picking up the pace on the last turn. Tonight, she could barely keep up with Cup of Soup, a deep closer, and it was obvious pretty early that tonight wasn’t her night.

Back to the drawing board. . .

It’s possible that Diamonds Dena might have sustained some sort of mishap leaving the starting gate. Incidentally, it was an abnormally long load as Winninginfashion was a handful while loading and ‘Dena was forced to wait a long time for the break. So something might have been amiss, as no question ‘Dena dropped farther back than normal for her.

I’ll check with Larry and Sharon, and perhaps Erick Lopez passed something along to them as well. ‘Dena did not get claimed, so assuming everything checks out OK we’ll get another crack at the group she faced Friday. I’ll also find out a possible next race for Archie Graham, too.

Happy Longacres Mile Weekend!




Diamonds Dena Race On Friday, Aug. 12!


Great News!

We finally get see Diamonds Dena in action. She runs in the 6th race on Friday, August 12, post time about 9 p.m.

It’s pretty much the same condition Dena won at last month–a $15,000 claiming race for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 mile.

We’re in post-position No. 3 with Erick Lopez the jockey. (The photo above is Dena and Erick winning at Emerald Downs on July 8.)

I’ll send out the morning line, etc., on Wednesday.

Sharon said that Archie Graham came out of Friday’s race fine and we’ll have to wait and see what’s next for him.

Great to see so many of you at El Dorado Farms on Sunday. I counted between 45 and 50 people which is pretty darned good considering the cloudy weather, Seafair weekend and many other options. A million thank yous to Ron and Nina Hagen and their tremendous staff out at El Dorado. Nina is especially amazing, it’s easy to see why so many winners are bred on their farm!

I took some photos but I can’t get them to upload. I’ll keep trying.


Last Call For El Dorado Farms!

In case you missed the email here are directions to El Dorado Farms (from Emerald Downs) for Sunday, August 7.

We plan to begin at 11 AM sharp and go to 1 PM.

Please come if possible and bring a guest too!

The address is 41818 228th Ave SE, Enumclaw, WA 98022

1-Take Auburn Way North which becomes Highway 164

2-Keep going past Muckleshoot Casino

3-Take left on 400th ST, proceed about 2 1/2 miles

4-Turn right on 228th Way, go 1 mile to stop sign

5-Proceed thru stop sign and take first left into El Dorado Farms. It’s an automatic gate but you need to get really close to the gate for activation

6-Park in the stallion paddock.

If anyone gets lost please call my cell phone (253) 335-2657 and I’ll help!

Look forward to seeing everyone . And here’s hoping that during the show, we get a text from Sharon alerting us that Diamonds Dena race fills for Friday!