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 sophiamckee@adrenaline360.net 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 reedp@emeralddowns.com 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!

Paddock List and Details for Sunday, May 15

Paddock List

The lucky dozen going to the paddock are:

  • Bernadine Fomich
  • Terry Hall
  • Julia Fincher
  • Tina Pyatt
  • Jeff Campbell
  • Jan Reed
  • Alexis Hancock
  • Gary Maynard
  • Erika Hoffmire
  • David Pitts
  • Terry Kostatelos
  • Curtis Soares

Meet at the entrance to the Paddock (by where the jockeys cross into the paddock) immediately after the running of the 8th race. One of our customer service staff will escort you into the paddock for Archie’s race. Wear your lanyard! Your loved ones will need to stay outside the paddock and get fabulous photos of you and your racehorse!

For the rest of you…you can see Archie 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 Archie will have a black saddle towel for post position # 6.


Emerald Racing Club silks

The race has come up quite salty and competitive with some very consistent runners coming out to challenge him.

IF Archie Graham should win…queue outside the Winner’s Circle on the South side 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.


There is no designated area for the Emerald Racing Club for Sunday. You may pick your favorite spot to watch the races with your friends and family. However, be aware that section 15 on the 3rd floor of the Grandstand is free seating for horsemen (that’s you!). Wear your lanyard and license to be seated in that area.

Also, there is free seating in the Clubhouse Reserved seating on level five. Once you get off the elevators head North and then walk towards the track and you’ll see the stadium seating. It is climate-controlled, so may be a great option if it is cool on Sunday.


Watch From Home

For those of you unable to attend you can watch the race LIVE on Emeralddowns.com 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 emeralddowns.com Racing>Race Replays

Media Coverage

The following is from our Media Department and went out in our Barn Notes this week:


The Emerald Racing Club will make its 2016 debut Sunday when 4-year-old gelding Archie Graham takes on seven other older horses in a $10,000 claiming race at one mile.

With 200 members in tow, the Emerald Racing Club could be in line for a big season. After all, the syndicate has assembled a sparkling 5-3-1 record in 15 starts over the past two years.

As for Archie Graham, the gray son of Grazen has a 3-3-3 record in 18 career starts including a third-place effort on March 24 when trainer Larry Ross claimed the gelding for $8,000 at Golden Gate. Since his last race, Archie Graham has posted three workouts at Emerald Downs including a swift five-furlong breeze in :59 4/5 (5/32) on April 30.

Archie Graham to Race Sunday, May 15

Archie is in! Archie will run in race 9 on Sunday, May 15. The race is a $10,000 claiming race going one mile.

He will be in post position 6 in a field of 8. Leslie Mawing will have the mount.

All this information is on the “overnight” which is the precursor to the official racing program. The overnight is produced immediately after the entries are drawn. You can find it on Equibase here.

For admission to the races, you can get in with your owner’s license and then use your two horsemen guest passes for two additional friends or family members. If you require additional admission passes, we will be leaving them under “Emerald Racing Club” at the Will Call admission gate. So be sure to invite your friends!

A part of being an owner on race day is going into the paddock. Given the number of members, we cannot accommodate you all so we will have a random draw in advance (and then rotate throughout the season). If you plan to attend the races on Sunday and would like to be included for paddock consideration, EMAIL emeraldracingclub@gmail.com before 2 pm on Saturday, May 14 with your NAME. I will post a blog that evening with the people that will have paddock access as well as instructions on where you’ll need to be.

Happy racing!


Scoping, EIPH and Lasix

Archie Graham was scoped after his last workout. “Scoping” refers to an endoscopic exam by which a vet is able to examine a horse’s airways. A long, flexible camera tube is slid into the horse’s nostril to view their airways.

(see video of a horse getting scoped below, if viewing via email, you won’t see video. Go to www.emeraldracingclub.com for video to play)

Vets are able to use this tool to determine if a horse has any condition that may inhibit it’s ability to breathe.

In Archie’s case, we were checking to see if he had any bleeding. Bleeding, or EIPH (exercised induced pulmonary hemorrhage) is caused when the blood pressure builds in the lung capillaries and the capillaries burst, resulting in blood in the lungs. EIPH can affect performance, but also lead to respiratory infections.

According to some studies, it is estimated that 90% of racehorses have experienced EIPH. During a race or fast workout, a racehorse will consume 19 gallons of oxygen/minute, heart rate increases to 220 beats/min, 3 pints of blood are pumped through the heart per beat, and 75 plus gallons of blood are pumped through the horse’s lung every minute.

To prevent this condition, anti-bleeder supplements have been developed and the medication, Lasix, is permitted on race day. Lasix is the same medication that is used in humans as a diuretic. It has a similar effect in racehorses. A horse administered Lasix will eliminate water weight through urine prior to a race. The Lasix then reduces the blood pressure in the lungs and reduces the risk of bleeding.

In Archie’s case, we know he runs on Lasix (as seen on the charts) and we plan to administer Lasix on race day. We cannot know if he has actively bled in the past, but for his well being, we work to prevent the condition.

There has been much discussion and debate about the administration of race day medication (Lasix and Bute). One segment is WHOA (Water, Hay, Oats Alliance) that doesn’t believe in administration of race day medications, and the other segment that does believe there is a benefit in the administration of such drugs.

As an owner, you have to decide where in that debate you feel comfortable. That decision should be made after thorough research of both sides and active discussion with your trainer and vet on the best decision for your individual horse based on their well being and personal needs.

Archie Graham Race Update

Archie will be entered on Wednesday in Extra Race 2 to be run on Saturday, May 14. The race is a $10,000 claiming race for three year olds and upward going one mile. You can view the extra on the bottom of the Friday Overnight here.

We will know Wednesday afternoon if the race has filled and is being used.

Should Archie run on Saturday, I will post a blog detailing the paddock process for the day, where you can view the races and how to request will call through the Horsemen’s Liaison.

Happy racing!

Archie Graham’s Papers

There’s often mention of a horse’s foal papers. But what, exactly, are they?

Each Thoroughbred is registered as a foal with The Jockey Club. It is the official Thoroughbred breed registry (many other breeds have similar organizations, i.e. American Quarter Horse Association, Arabian Horse Association, etc).

The papers are the horse’s official record, a birth certificate of sorts. It also includes a description of the horse’s markings.

papers_frontFrom Archie’s registration, we can see that his marks are noted as:

Medium star and connected bordered stripe, becoming flesh colored on bridge of nose, widening above nostrils, ending between nostrils, into left nostril; flesh colored lower lip.

Median cowlick at top of eye level.

Left hind: three quarters irregular stocking, higher to a point in front, lower on outside and in back.

Cowlick behind poll on both sides; cowlick at throat latch, cowlick in jugular groove on left side.

Patches of white hairs throughout coat.


Archie’s connected medium star and stripe.

Once the horse comes into the track with the intent to race, they will also get a tattoo on the inside of their upper lip.

The markings and tattoo are used by the identifier to verify each runner prior to coming to the paddock to race. This is done at the test barn where the horses queue up prior to walking over to the paddock.

face markings leg markings

Cowlicks (swirls of hair) are as unique as fingerprints to a horse and are formed as the horse develops in the womb. So you could have two identical black horses, with no white markings, but distinguish between the two by cowlicks. This is why they are noted along with the white markings.

Example of a cowlick

Example of a cowlick

In horse racing, the horse’s papers accompany the horse to each track it races at. If a horse is a two-year old and it is their first time at the track, they cannot enter a race until their papers are on file with the race office.

In Archie’s case, when we talk about him being “in jail” that means that Golden Gate is holding his papers until the 45 day period is up. Once it is up, the physical papers will be mailed to the Emerald Downs racing office, making him eligible to enter a race.

The back of the foal papers keep a record of the horse’s wins.

papers_backAdditional documentation continues with the record of the transfer of ownership when the horse is claimed or sold.


And finally, any nominations of the foal accompany the horse. You may be surprised to learn that Archie was nominated to the Breeders’ Cup as a foal!


Archie Workout

Archie had a good 5/8 work on Saturday, getting the distance in 59.80 which was 5 of 23 for the distance that morning. Link to equibase workouts here.

He came out of the work breathing hard and we had him scoped after the work to check his lungs for bleeding. A few of you were even lucky enough to watch it and look down the scope into his lungs.

Sharon will see how he recovers this week and we’ll make a determination on what race he will be pointed to.