The Dreaded Red Tag

Charlie Thomas ran a game race to finish 5th today. Here is the link to his chart if you can’t read the image below. And the link to his replay is here. (Select May 30, race 8).Chart_Charlie_5-30-15

Charlie broke slowly, and then tracked in last before making a mild run at the leaders to finish 5th. From the Value of the Race noted above we earned $372 for the finish.

While Charlie gave a good effort, he appeared to be “climbing” which means his legs were reaching up, instead of extending out in a smooth stride. His head was also high, instead of stretched low to run indicating he wasn’t 100% comfortable. Compared to his workout last week in which he lowered his head and ran smoothly, today he seemed to be bothered – perhaps by the dirt in his face, or the shorter distance of the race.

Upon returning to be unsaddled, Charlie received the dreaded “red tag” meaning he had been claimed.

The red claiming tag hangs from Charlie's bridle.

The red claiming tag hangs from Charlie’s bridle.

On the chart above you can see it reads:

1 Claimed Horse: Charlie Thomas

New Trainer: Frank Lucarelli

New Owner: Sabers Drawn Racing

Sabers Drawn Racing is Scott Centers and William “Andy” Evans – who also race The Bear Clan horses.

Immediately after the race, Charlie was taken to the test barn where the groom from Frank Lucarelli’s barn put a halter on him and led him to a stall in his new barn. The $15,000 claiming price was deposited in the Emerald Racing Club account.

Given that we claimed him for $10,000, that is a nice gain and is the risk you run when running in claiming races. We acquired him by claim, and lost him by claim. So goes the claiming game.

Hilary got some great photos of Charlie throughout his effort.

_MG_8551 _MG_8560 _MG_8573 _MG_8577 _MG_8588 _MG_8603 _MG_8630

Thank you to all of you that stood and applauded Charlie’s effort. That is a sign of great respect for these wonderful athletes that take us to the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.

Additional photos here.






Paddock List and Information For Saturday

Thank you to all those that have responded to the RSVP!

Seating in the Trackside Tent will accommodate approximately 150+ and is first come, first serve.  Remember that section 15 in the Grandstand will also accommodate you with your owner license. Again, just non-alcoholic beverages will be provided, but there will be a cash bar and mutuel teller in the Tents.

The lucky fifteen going to the paddock are:

  • Linda Watkins
  • Devin Ganwich
  • Marty Smith
  • Michael Riddle
  • Michael Monelli
  • Terry Hall
  • Jay Richards
  • Jessica Toon
  • Wayne Campbell
  • David Pitts
  • Neva Sexton
  • M. Vicky East
  • Annie George
  • Lana Nugent
  • Steve Priem

Meet at the entrance to the Paddock immediately after the running of the 7th race. One of our customer service staff will escort the fifteen of you into the paddock for Charlie’s race. Wear your lanyards in a visible place.

For the rest of you…you can see Charlie being saddled from the outside of the paddock. The best view will be on the North side, so you’ll have to cross the horse path up by the track and then walk down on the other side. You can see from the photo, it’s on the far side where there aren’t many people.

paddock high

After he is saddled, cheer him on from your favorite (lucky) spot!

Jockey Leslie Mawing will be wearing our silks and Charlie will have a red saddle towel for post position # 1.


IF Charlie Thomas should win…queue outside the Winner’s Circle and then we’ll bring you all down on the racetrack for the all important win photo.

Alas, there is no sure thing in horse racing and as owners, as long as he returns to the barn safe and healthy, that’s all we ask for.

For those of you unable to attend you can watch the race LIVE on under Racing>Live Streaming OR you can download the Horse Races NOW app on your iPhone or Droid and watch the race live.

Won’t be free to watch him run? You can relive every moment watching the race replays at Racing>Race Replays.

Charlie Thomas to Race Saturday, May 30

Charlie Thomas trains Wednesday morning.

Charlie Thomas trains Wednesday morning.

Charlie Thomas will race Saturday, May 30 in the 8th race, approximate post time 5:25 pm. Jockey Leslie Mawing will be aboard and Charlie will be breaking from the 1 hole as the morning line favorite at 5/2.

Entries are available at under Racing>Entries.

Also a reminder that you can add Charlie Thomas and Tribal Waters to your Virtual Stable on so you get an automated email whenever the horses have a workout, entry or race result. Saves you having to wait on me getting a blog up! That link is a little hard to find, so here’s the direct source.

Saturday, May 30


We have reserved Trackside Tent 1 as a central location for Emerald Racing Club members and their guests. We will have hosted non-alcoholic beverages and a NO host bar (that means you pay for your own fun!). Concessions are available for purchase throughout the track.

To access the Trackside Tent, walk through the Grandstand out to the Track Apron, turn right and you’ll see the white canopy of the tent. We are in the first tent closest to the building. Wear your lanyard!

There is also free seating in the Grandstand Reserved Seat Section 15. If you require additional Will Call beyond your two guest passes please contact Dana Claxton, Horsemen’s Liaison at 253-288-7753.


If you’d like to be placed in the random drawing to go to the paddock, RSVP by 5 pm Friday by clicking this link and supply your name. This is for Emerald Racing Club members only. Your friends and family will have to stand on the other side of the fence and take pictures of you looking fabulous!

We will be taking 15 ERC members to the paddock and I will post the list here later Friday night along with instructions on where to meet.

Tribal Waters

Tribal Waters entered for Saturday but his race only had 3 in it and did NOT go. There is no race in the condition book for him next week that satisfies his conditions so we’ll have to see if there’s an “extra”.

Track photographer Erin Palmer got some great photos of the horses Wednesday. Enjoy!

_V2U5440 _V2U5459 _V2U5484

If you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to email me at

Happy Racing!

Workout and Farm Recap

Workout Recap

Charlie Thomas and Tribal Waters both worked a 1/2 mile this morning.

Charlie Thomas was the quicker of the two with jockey Leslie Mawing aboard, cruising the 1/2 mile in 49 seconds flat, 29th of 53 for the distance. Tribal Waters had Joe Steiner aboard and went 49.40 to be 34th of 53 for the distance.

You can find workouts at >Racing>Workouts and then select today’s date.

Or click here for direct link.

Farm Recap

Many thanks to the farms for allowing us to visit the last two weekends. We got some great photos at El Dorado and we have them on Flickr: Farm photos here.

el dorado foal

Race Update

There are races for both Charlie Thomas and Tribal Waters in the condition book (races 9 and 12) for Saturday, May 30. If both come out of their workouts in fine fettle, then we will be entering Wednesday, May 27. Entries will be finalized that afternoon and we’ll be able to say definitively if the horses got in for Saturday.

IF the horses get in, we’ll have an RSVP list to allow for random selection for the paddock and that list of ERC members will be posted on Friday.





The Extra Races

In yesterday’s blog we covered in depth the condition book and the races in the book. Based on that, we projected Charlie’s first start to be on May 30 going 6 1/2 furlongs.

However, the racing office has the flexibility to write “extras.” Extras refer to the extra races that are written to supplement the races in the condition book.

On Wednesday the racing office took entries for Saturday, May 23 and after entries are taken, an “overnight” is produced. This is a preliminary entry list. On the back of the overnight are a list of extra races that are noted as X1, X2, X3 etc. These are extra races that are available to enter in for the following entry day.

There we found X5:

OVERNITE 5-23-15-2

X5 is a $12,500 Claiming race going one mile. This would be an ideal race for Charlie as we know he prefers a route and we claimed him last out for $10,000. This would theoretically be easier company for him that the race we spoke about yesterday.

This morning Sharon entered Charlie Thomas to run in X5 for Sunday, May 24.

As the entry day continues on, the racing office marks the entry board so we know if our race is a “go”.

entry board

From the photo above you can see the Xtra 5 was “off 2”. That means that only two horses entered the race and the racing office is not using the race. There weren’t enough horses to fill the race.

The numbers highlighted in yellow are the races that will be used for Sunday, May 24 and refer to the condition book races and the extras. These will make it into the Official Racing Program on Sunday and an Overnight was produced as soon as entries closed today.

If we refer to the overnight for Sunday, May 24 we can now see that because of lack of interest in our race, it was not written back as an extra for Monday. As a consequence, we have to wait until next week and see if our race has enough entries to make the card!



Charlie’s First Race and El Dorado Farm Tour

The number one question on everyone’s mind is when will Charlie race?

We already established that Charlie Thomas was “in jail” for 45 days after the claim, which made him eligible to race on May 18. So how do we determine when he will race?

For that, there is the condition book. The condition book is the primary tool for the trainer to determine when the horse will run. It is a set of races planned out by the racing secretary, Bret Anderson, and then printed for the horsemen and published online.

The condition book truly is the realm of the trainer, and a good trainer knows how to read the book and tailor their training to point to a particular race.

The condition book only covers a couple weeks at a time so that the racing secretary can adjust the races written based on the needs of the current horse population.

For example, Condition Book #1 covered 7 days from April 18 – May 3. Condition Book #2 covered 9 days from May 8 – May 25.

We are now into Condition Book #3. You can find the condition book in hard copy at the racing office or online at >Horsemen>Condition Book.

The easiest place to start when looking at the condition book is the index. The index below is from page 8 in Condition Book #3 and is a quick glance at the races ahead that are in the book for colts and geldings (fillies and mares are listed in the index on page 9).

CB3 8

Charlie is a four year old so we can skip the two year old and three year old races and go straight to the “three year olds and upward”.

There we see a number of dates listed across from the category of race and distinguished in two columns: short and long. Short refers to any race under 1 mile and long refers to any race a mile and over.

Next we look at the category of race. Charlie was claimed for $10,000 in California, so it’s safe to say that his first race at Emerald Downs will be for a slightly higher value, perhaps $12,500 claiming or $15,000 claiming.

As we continue down the list, you’ll see the first six races for three year olds and upward start with a “M”. This designates a maiden race. Charlie has won a race so he is not a maiden and doesn’t qualify.

Next come the conditional claiming races. The “C” designates it as a claiming race, then the number designates the claiming price, and finally the “NW” and a number designate conditions.

For example, C7500NW2 means a claiming race for $7,500 non-winners of 2.

There are no conditional claiming races listed for Charlie so we keep going down the list and we come to the wide open claiming races. We call them “open” claiming races because there are no conditions attached.

Here we find C15000, a $15,000 claiming race with a short race on May 30 and a long race on June 14.

From the index we now know the basics that there are potentially two races in this condition book that we would want to point Charlie to. Next we find the date of the race in the following pages.

CB3 13

The ninth race in the condition book for May 30 shows the $15,000 claiming race going six and a half furlongs. This is the “short” date.

If you look at the full condition book here, there are 16 races “in the book” for that date to choose from. Entries are taken Wednesday, May 27. The racing office will then build the official race card with the races that have the most entries, i.e. betting interests for the wagering public. Those races will be used for the Saturday, May 30 card.

So after that long explanation we get back to the question “when will Charlie race?”

We will know on Wednesday, May 27 if enough horses entered the race in order to make it a go. If the race is used, then Charlie would race Saturday, May 30.

However, this doesn’t take into account the “Xtras” but that’s a topic for another blog!

Farm Tours

Saturday, May 23, 10 am and 11 am

El Dorado Farms

41818 228th Ave. SE

Enumclaw, WA 98022

(360) 825-7526

El Dorado Farms is owned by Ron and Nina Hagen. El Dorado Farms has also earned WA Breeder of the Year award, most recently in 2009. They are a full service facility, standing stallions Music Of My Soul, Abraaj, Car Talk, Coast Guard, Private Gold and Raise the Bluff. They breed, raise and sell Thoroughbreds. They also provide rehab and layup facilities and have a nurse mare program.

Tours will begin at 10 am and 11 am. They will have mares, sucklings, minis, vet work with ultra sound for breeding follicles and looking for pregnancies, plus ovulations.

There is also the possibility of a live breeding if a mare needs to be bred (as determined by the ultra sound and their teaser stallion Mongo Man).


You’ll also see a lot of kittens, chickens and other critters at El Dorado!

Tribal Waters Update

Tribal Waters has finally arrived! TW arrived late Monday night after an extremely long van ride up from Golden Gate. He walked yesterday and we will have the vet go over him to make sure he’s in good health. He is stabled next to Charlie and will train over the track later this week.



A note from the farm

Have a great time tomorrow at the farms! Griffin Place wanted to pass along the following note and be sure to follow them on Facebook Griffin Place, LLC. They posted some fun new photos in advance of your visit!

“To those of you in the Emerald Racing Club take note: If you are on the Farm Tour, you will want to take a good look at these two so you don’t get them mixed up. The cat on the left, “Cougie” is the good one. She will make sure you feel welcome. The one on the right looks cute but don’t be fooled. He bites and has other lovely habits. Should you encounter him, do not pet, do not feed. Run. Or you can just avoid them both which would be a perfectly rational option. Seriously, we look forward to meeting you and showing you the farm.”


First Weekend of Farm Visits

Farm Visits

This weekend is the first of two weekends for farm visits.

Please note that Saturday, May 16 is Preakness Day and the farm tours are scheduled in the morning to allow for everyone (including the farms) to get back to the track to watch the races!

The first tour is a self-tour at 9:15 am at Griffin Place. Griffin Place has provided a wonderful guide to their farm. Click here for GP Farm brochure.

The second tour is at 10:45 am, right next door at Blue Ribbon Farm.

NOTE: Unlike last year, the farms are not open all day. Please plan on arriving as close to the scheduled time as possible for the visit. There is also limited parking, so if you’d like to carpool from the racetrack, comment here and perhaps someone else would like to ride with you.

On Saturday, May 23 El Dorado Farms in Enumclaw will be having their farm tour so if you can’t make this Saturday, pencil in for next weekend.

Dress appropriately! Farms are dirty places!

It probably won't be this bad at the farm, but be prepared!

It probably won’t be this bad at the farm, but be prepared!

Saturday, May 16, 9:15 am

Griffin Place

26925 120th St. E.

Buckley, WA 98321

(360) 829-9911

Griffin Place is located on the same street as Blue Ribbon Farm. Griffin Place has a strong history of breeding, raising and selling top class horses. They were WA’s Leading Breeder by money won in 2000. That year, two of their homebreds, Rings a Chime and Best Judgement became WA Champions. Rings A Chime was their first G1 Stakes winner, and WA Horse of the Year. Her dam, Outofthebluebell was voted Broodmare of the Year. Expect to see lots of broodmares with their babies at this farm. Griffin Place does not stand any stallions.

Griffin Place shares a driveway with Blue Ribbon Farm.  So once you go through the metal automatic gate, just go all the way straight back for Griffin Place.  There are two lanes going off from the driveway, one on each side.  Do not take either one. Just go straight back and you dead end at their house. Parking will be set up in the field in front of the house and they will try to have people out there to guide visitors.

Mare and foal in paddock at Griffin Place.

Saturday, May 16, 10:45 am

Blue Ribbon Farm

26719 120th St. E.

Buckley, WA 98321

(360) 829-6573

Blue Ribbon Farm has earned the Top Breeder Award for the last four years in a row and stands the stallions Atta Boy Roy and Nationhood. They also breed and race their own horses and provide foaling services. Blue Ribbon Farm is owned by Rick and Debbie Pabst.

To enter the farm, turn right up their driveway – you’ll see a roundpen (horse pen) out front and the house. The number is on the mailbox.

Charlie Thomas Update

Charlie is tentatively scheduled for a workout on Sunday, weather and track conditions permitting. He’ll go out “second after the break”, which would be approximately 9:15 am.

Everyone is welcome to come out and watch his workout and we will be out there to point him out. We’ll meet on the track apron (paved part of track with benches) in front of the Grandstand.

Tribal Waters Update

Tribal Waters got bumped from the last shipment to Washington due to Shared Belief shipping up to Pegasus Training and Rehabilitation Center. We are still working with the shipping companies to determine when the next shuttle is coming up from California.

Tribal Waters will continue galloping at Golden Gate.


If you don’t have plans to go to the farms Saturday morning (or you plan to go on the 23rd) be sure to check out our Preakness Pancakes morning program. It’s free pancakes, bacon, orange juice and coffee 9 am – 11 am. We’ll have track announcer Robert Geller as host and he’ll have special guests stopping by throughout the morning. You just enter the main Grandstand gates and head out towards the track. Then follow your nose…to the bacon!

Then stick around for the Preakness Stakes!

Welcome Tribal Waters

Congratulations, you are the new owners of Tribal Waters!

Tribal Waters

Tribal Waters

Tribal Waters is a four year old, bay gelding by Tribal Rule (sire aka “Dad”) and out of Rio Tejo (dam aka “Mom”).

Tribal Waters was purchased privately this week and will be on a horse van to Emerald Downs tomorrow.

Because we purchased him privately, he is not subject to the 45 day “jail rule” that Charlie is subject to.

He has 10 lifetime starts, 2 wins, 1 second, 1 third and lifetime earnings of $38,827. All of his starts have been in sprints and his body type is more “sprinter” than “route” horse. Once he arrives we’ll do conformation comparisons between him and Charlie as their builds are very different.

Past Performances: Tribal Waters

Because Tribal Waters has never raced at Emerald Downs, he is eligible for the Ship and Run Incentive Program. That program provides $400 for a horse whose most recent start was made outside of Washington and that has not previously started at Emerald Downs. It will be deposited into the Emerald Racing Club account upon his first start. The program is designed to alleviate some of the expenses of racehorse ownership.

Charlie did not meet the eligibility for the incentive because he raced at Emerald Downs last year.