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.