Diamonds Dena-Career PP’s

thumbnail_Diamonds Dena

Several of you have asked if we could share the lifetime past performances (PPs) of Diamonds Dena so here they are: Diamonds Dena

Not bad, eh?

As you can see from the photo Diamonds Dena sure seems to be enjoying herself in the new environment with Larry and Sharon Ross. In fact, several of you were supplying Diamonds Dena and Archie Graham with goodies Thursday morning, and I swear if these two could talk they’d say they’ve arrived in Horsey Heaven!

‘Dena has resumed galloping and Larry and Sharon will begin to look for a race soon. I can hardly wait, considering she’s 6-for-8 lifetime at Emerald Downs! If you look closely at her PPs, you’ll also notice Diamonds Dena is a sharp 5-for-10 in races at one mile.

Archie Graham came out of his race well and the poor guy is giving it all, but keeps finishing 4th. A couple of things are being considered, perhaps a mild drop in class or a slightly shorter race?

Incidentally, Life Is a Joy, the 42-1 bomber that won Archie’s race last Sunday, has some “back class”. A review of his lifetime PPs reveal that ‘Joy began his career 3-for-3 with Jerry Hollendorfer and finished second and third to California Chrome in a pair of stakes in 2013.

Drats! Archie Graham 4th Again

It was a hectic weekend, folks!

We acquired a second horse–Diamonds Dena–while our existing horse–Archie Graham– finished fourth. Again.

Sunday’s race was frustrating. All things considered, Archie Graham wound up getting a decent trip from the 10-hole, and it was exciting to watch Archie Graham and Leslie Mawing rally into contention on the last turn. In fact, I really thought we had a good chance to get the money, but it just wasn’t to be. The three horses in front of us into the lane–Life Is a Joy, Private Boss and Hoody–battled all the way to the wire with Life Is a Joy prevailing in a 42-to-1 upset.

So for the second straight race Archie Graham finished fourth out of 10, not bad in the final analysis. But if there’s one thing I know about Emerald Racing Club, it’s that you folks are accustomed to winning!

I’ll let the dust settle and get an Archie Graham report from Larry and Sharon Ross and pass it along.

Diamonds Dena came out of her win Friday in good order and I’ll see what their thoughts are on a potential race for her too.

Also, Nina Hagen of El Dorado Farms and myself are trying to work out a date for our visit to the farm.

Have a great week everyone!



We Claimed Diamonds Dena!

As most of you know by now, Emerald Racing Club added a second horse to its roster Friday. We claimed 5-year-old mare Diamonds Dena out of Friday’s 6th race for $15,000.

Diamonds Dena absolutely loves Emerald Downs, as she proved again Friday with a 1 & 1/2-length victory over Ronda Rocks in a very respectable 1:36.97 for one mile. Diamonds Dena is now 6-for-8 at Emerald Downs (8-for-24 overall) and gives us a an older filly or mare that perfectly complements Archie Graham in our barn.

We taped a video with Sharon Ross filling out the claim slip, explaining why Diamonds Dena is a good fit with Emerald Racing Club. When making the video, we still weren’t sure we would make the claim as Sharon and Larry wanted to take a closer look at Diamonds Dena when she came over to be saddled for the 6th race.

This was the second claim we’ve dropped in the last two weeks. Last time, however, there were three claims in on the horse we tried to acquire, and we lost the subsequent shake and came away empty-handed.

This time, ours was the only claim on Diamonds Dena and all of us–Larry, Sharon, Jacob Pollowitz and myself–were excited to see the red tag placed on Diamonds Dena. We got her, we like her and we’re confident you’re going to like Diamonds Dena too!


Diamonds Dena wins Friday’s feature race at Emerald Downs!

Updated: Archie Graham Finishes 4th Again

Archie Graham gave it a good try, but came up a bit short and finished fourth in the 6th race Sunday at Emerald Downs. It was a decent showing, considering there were 10 horses in the race.

In fact, Archie Graham was only beaten about 3 lengths for the whole ball of wax, as He’s Cagey–winning his third straight race–prevailed by a neck over Tribal Money while the latter was a head in front of third place Hoody.

Archie Graham also raced five-wide on the last turn, so he lost a bit of ground too.

Like I said, it wasn’t a a bad showing, although I’m sure most of you were hoping for a victory today. Maybe Sophia McKee was the whole key to success? After all, I don’t recall back-to-back losses with SM at the helm of ERC!

Anyway, I watched Archie Graham closely after the race and he appeared to walk off OK. However, I’ll confirm Archie’s health with Larry and Sharon Ross on Monday and pass along their thoughts to everyone.

So after three starts for Emerald Racing Club, Archie Graham has one win, two fourths and $8,208 in earnings.

I suppose we could also find solace in the fact that Sunday’s race was exceptionally fast for a $10,000 claiming race at 1 1/16 miles. He’s Cagey was timed in 1:41.94, which was quite a bit faster than Find Joy’s winning time of 1:43.40 in the Kent Stakes for 3-year-old fillies later on the card.

Incidentally, He’s Cagey was claimed for $10,000 Sunday by owner John Parker and trainer Candi Tollett, and likely will move up a level meaning we won’t have to face him in the next race.

As for adding a second ERC horse. . .

I can tell you that we came close this weekend, and that we’re studying horses and their past performances with a fine tooth comb. We will come up with another horse soon!

Finally, another marvelous turn out for today’s race. You people are amazing!


Sunday Paddock Winners

Good Morning & Go Archie Graham!

Archie is in Race 6 today at 4:11 p.m.

Here are the paddock winners:

Gina Goodyear

Zee Straight-Weiss

Neva Sexton

Chris Trujillo

Michael Monelli

Cameron Cossettes

Andrea Talkington

Joy Carlson

Patti Klump

Steve Brustkern

Robert & Celia Handley

If you’re name wasn’t drawn and you still haven’t had a turn, you go to the head of the list next race!

PS–Archie Graham is No. 10 today, meaning he will be saddled on the north end of the saddling barn.

I think we have a big chance to at least finish in the top three today, and perhaps win. Hoody and Ain’t Tellin’ ensure an honest early pace, and horses rallying from off-the-pace fared very well Saturday.

A big key is what happens into the first turn. Breaking from the far outside, Leslie Mawing hopefully can maneuver Archie inside and tuck behind the leaders, otherwise we risk being caught wide into the first turn.If Archie can get good position early and save ground, we’ll be right there at the finish. Incidentally, Mawing rode two winners Saturday–both from off the pace–and seems to be back on his game.

Look forward to seeing everyone!


Archie Graham Race Sun., June 26!

Greetings Emerald Racing Club!

Archie Graham is entered in the 6th race on Sunday, June 26. Post time is about 4:30 p.m.

It’s a $10,000 claiming race–the same level which Archie won at on May 15–and down one level from his last race on June 5.

We drew the No. 10 post-position with Leslie Mawing the jockey.

I’ll try and handicap the race and send out my thoughts on Saturday.

Incidentally, the weather is going to be glorious on Sunday, 75 & clear. So let’s all come out and cheer Archie Graham to victory!

Here is the field for Sunday’s 6th race: 1-Drink Til You Drop, Isaias Enriquez, 120; 2-Walk Free, Eswan Flores, 122; 3-Deputy’s Command, Javier Matias, 120; 4-Just Gone, Leonel Camacho-Flores, 117; 5-Thunder, Ronald Richard, 120; 6-Ain’t Tellin’, Jose Zunino, 117; 7-He’s Cagey, Erick Lopez, 124; 8-Hoody, Juan Gutierrez, 120; 9-Tribal Money, Rocco Bowen, 120; 10-Archie Graham, Leslie Mawing, 124.

Vince Bruun

Field Trip June 18 & Archie Update

Happy Thursday Emerald Racing Club!

Just in case anyone missed the email. . .

Our field trip is Saturday, June 18 to Blue Ribbon Farm and Griffin Place, both located  in Buckley.

Debbie Pabst of Blue Ribbon Farm sent along directions to their farm (below).

We hope to begin at 9 a.m. and spend a little over 1 hour at each farm. The farms are located right next to each other, so once we’re done at Blue Ribbon Farm we should be able to move to Griffin Place and start there around 10:30 a.m.

Mary Lou Griffin of Griffin Place sent a brochure on their farm which I’ve attached in this email. She will have plenty of coffee and bathroom facilities, too!

Should anyone get lost please call me on my cell (253) 335-2657 and I’ll guide you to the farm.

Look forward to seeing everyone!

From the west on highway 410 — about 1 mile outside of Buckley at traffic light, turn right on Mundy-Loss Rd.  Continue through 4 way intersection to traffic light at 120th St E. — turn rt.  Follow 120th st about 1/2 mile over 1st speed bump then turn right onto gravel driveway with electronic gate and follow signs to 27007 by bearing right at the tree.  Pull all the way past the house and around the circular driveway.

From the east on highway 410 you will make a left at the Mundy-Loss traffic light from the protected left hand turn lane and follow the rest of the directions as above.


I spoke to Sharon Ross yesterday and, wouldn’t you know it, Archie Graham works Saturday morning at 9 AM! Sharon will text me immediately after the work and I will update everyone on how things went. Also, if anyone prefers to watch the workout instead of the farm visit, we understand. Just go to the area by the rail adjacent to the one-sixteenth pole, and you can watch the work with Larry and Sharon.

Speaking of the Ross’, Good Luck to Larry, Sharon and Jim & Mona Hour as Stryker Phd begins his march to an unprecedented third Longacres Mile in Sunday’s $50,000 Budweiser Stakes!

As for Archie Graham’s next race, Sharon said the weekend of June 25-26 is a strong possibility.

Also, Sharon said Archie Graham could use a few visitors at the barn. Time for some of us to get back there and feed the old boy some carrots!


Archie Graham Ran Well Considering. . .

As most everyone knows by now, Archie Graham finished fourth in Sunday’s 9th race at Emerald Downs. Not bad, but a step down from last month’s thrilling victory in his Emerald racing Club debut.

I’m here, however, to tell you that Archie did just fine Sunday. Allow me to digress. . .

From out 6th floor perch atop the grandstand, Jacob Pollowitz and myself have watched every single race the last seven years at Emerald Downs. For Thoroughbred racing fanatics like ourselves it’s mostly a labor of love, and on crystal clear days like Sunday when Mt. Rainier towered over the track, lucky might be a better adjective to describe my chosen profession.

Jacob and I  have many duties at the track, one of which is to post the running numbers during every race at Emerald Downs. That is, once a race begins and the horses begin to spread out around the track, it’s our job to list the top four horses in the race. I watch the race with binoculars and will blurt to Jacob something like “4-9-3-2” which means simply the No. 4 horse is currently in first place, No. 9 is in second, No. 3 is in third, and No. 2 is in fourth. Jacob types the numbers into the computer and within seconds they appear on both the Toteboard and TVs throughout the track. It’s a fluid situation, and sometimes we’ll have as many as seven or eight changes in running order during a given race.

Sunday, however, was something different at Emerald Downs. There was virtually no passing throughout the 10-race card; speed horses utterly dominated:

Race 1: Ace On the River wins from slightly off the pace while early leader Captain Shaddock finishes second.

Race 2: Gymnast Jadie hugs the rail and leads gate-to-wire, winning by 9 1/4 lengths and earning a career-best speed figure.

Race 3: Timberfaller sprints clear and turns aside even-money favorite Always Macho for a 1 1/2-length win and earns a career-best 70 Beyer.

Race 4: Daves Birthday Boy is hustled to a big early lead and holds sway, earning a career-high 61 Beyer.

Race 5: Fooled Again is gunned to the lead by Juan Gutierrez and romps by 3 1/2 lengths, just missing a career-best Beyer.

Race 6: Ducoti scores her 16th career win and earns her biggest figure in nearly two years with a gate-to-wire triumph.

Race 7: In the day’s first route race (one mile or longer) Secret Harbor leads coast-to-coast for a 2 1/4-length victory.

Race 8: Full credit to Barkley, still unbeaten after a neck victory over Mach One Rules in the $50,000 Coca-Cola Stakes for 3-year-old colts or geldings. The fact he was able to make up three lengths on Mach One Rules–a talented horse with a bias in his favor–bodes well for Barkley.

Race 9: Oldtimers Vision is a good 5-year-old gelding. On April 30, he ran the meet’s fastest mile, 1:35.27, and on Sunday he was allowed a dawdling lead–:24.84, :48.98 and 1:12.25 are slow fractions–and thus was able to repel a bid by Private Boss in the stretch for the victory. Oldtimers Vision and Private Boss ran one-two the entire mile while closers like Shared Life and Archie Graham were unable to make up any ground in the stretch.

What is a bias? Put simply, track bias occurs when a racing surface favors a particular running style or position. It can be caused by several factors, sometimes track maintenance, but a possible reason Sunday was the 94-degree heat. Who knows. I even recall in the old days at Longacres some fans insisted the tides would cause a speed bias.

Without doubt, though, Sunday was a virtual conveyor belt, a pronounced speed bias seen only a few times throughout a 70-day season, certainly one of the most pronounced speed-favoring surfaces Jacob and I have witnessed here. Sometimes the track will favor closers and horses that prefer to rally from behind will perform well–Sunday, May 29 is a good example–but for the most part Emerald Downs has a reputation for having a fair racing surface with perhaps a slight nod toward speed horses.

Considering everything, Archie Graham ran just fine Sunday. In fact, his 73 Beyer  was up three points from his May 15 race, but the combination of facing tougher horses and a speed favoring track were too much to overcome. A 4-year-old with 20 career races, Archie Graham has a come-from-behind style, and if jockey Leslie Mawing had attempted to hustle Archie into contention early, it would have been futile. Long story short, it just wasn’t our day. 

PS–Sharon Ross texted last night and said Archie Graham cooled out fine and should resume jogging later in the week.

I also want to express my gratitude to Sophia for expressing confidence in Jacob and myself to take over ERC duties and wish her well in her new job. I’ve met many people in a quarter-century in the Thoroughbred industry, and without question Sophia is numero uno when it comes to caring for Thoroughbreds before, during and after their racing careers.

Handing Over the Reins

Many of you may have heard that I have accepted another position and am leaving Emerald Downs.

Management of the Emerald Racing Club will be a team effort of Vince Bruun, Director of Media, and Jacob Pollowitz, Asst. Director of Media. Both you met at Club Orientation on Opening Weekend.

Jacob is our CSN co-host, makes expert picks in the program as Professor Pollowitz and works behind the scenes in the Press Box. He also picked out Archie Graham for the Club. Vince is a long-time horse racing media writer and director with more years experience in horse racing than I’ve been alive! They will be exceptionally skilled in continuing with the communication and education of the Club.

It has been my true pleasure to launch the Emerald Racing Club and go on the journey of horse ownership with you. My heart will always be with the majestic racehorses that powerfully stride down the homestretch. To that end, I will continue to work behind the scenes with the Prodigious Fund, Emerald Downs’ retired racehorse fund.

And I’ll be first in line to join the Emerald Racing Club next year as a member!

I’ve truly enjoyed the relationships I’ve developed with many of you and would like to invite you to stay in touch and I’d be happy to continue to be a resource for you if you have any racing-related questions, comments or concerns.

My personal email is and my cell is 253-508-9441.

Happy racing!




Archie Graham Wins Debut for ERC


You should still be basking in the glow of victory! Many thanks to trainers Larry & Sharon Ross, jockey Leslie Mawing, exercise rider Brian Allen, and the grooms; Arturo, Miguel and Angel! It really is a team effort to get each and every horse to the races and a superb job by everyone in the Ross barn.

Archie Graham won the 9th race Sunday, May 15 in breathtaking last to first fashion.

You can replay the race by clicking here. Full chart is here.

_10V0401 _10V0409 _10V0417

At the end of the day we all have our memories of the experience, but we also have the very official (and coveted) “Win Photo” taken by the track photographer.

You may order one from Reed Palmer Photography (official track photographer) for $10. This is a special promotional rate offered to Emerald Racing Club members. Email or call 503-380-0430 to request your photo.

For future reference (and wins), the track photographer is located on ground level of the Grandstand to your left before you exit the main gates. The photos are copyrighted, please don’t print from here.


You may now be asking yourself, what did we actually win?


We can turn to the chart to see:


For Archie’s first place finish the Club earned $6,325.

Of that 10% is paid to the trainer, 10% to the jockey, and 1% stake to the grooms in the barn.







There’s an additional $5 for Prodigious Fund (retired racehorse fund) and another fee for jockey insurance of $6.50. Those will all be detailed in our Horsemen’s account statement when we review May financials next month.

So all in all you won $4,985.25! (Plus your winning tickets!)

Archie Update

Archie came out of the race in fine fashion. He has walked the past three days and will be back on the track tomorrow for a jog. Sharon will evaluate how he feels and we’ll make a game plan for his next race.

Next Horse

The Club is actively shopping for it’s next horse. We had identified a horse on Saturday that we opted to pass on after seeing the horse in the flesh. This has happened multiple times thus far and while we are eager to acquire the second horse for the Club, but patience is required to find the perfect fit! Stay tuned!