In the club’s three years of existence, the green and white silks of Emerald Racing Club have already visited the winner’s circle seven times at Emerald Downs.
Well, not actually the winner’s circle, but the area on the racetrack just outside the winner’s circle. After all, you can’t fit 200 people into a li’l old winner’s circle.
Anyway, we thought it would be fun to look back at all seven victories accumulated by Emerald Racing Club since its 2014 inception
The Emerald Racing Club’s first ever race was June 1, 2014 when 6-year-old Dancing Yodeler–claimed for $3,200 at Golden Gate Fields two months earlier–finished third in a $5,000 claiming race. Afterward jockey Felipe Valdez was startled when Dancing Yodeler was rewarded with a huge ovation after being unsaddled in front of the grandstand. ERC members were simply happy with Yodeler’s effort!
“A horse doesn’t usually get cheered like that for finishing third, ” Valdez said. “It was both surprising and awesome.”
A 6-year-old California-bred gelding, Dancing Yodeler thrived under Larry and Sharon Ross that season, and on July 13, 2014 made Emerald Racing Club history by surging to victory under jockey Leslie Mawing in a $3,500 claiming race.
It was a mob scene as waves of jubilant ERC members overcrowded the winner’s circle, thus beginning a tradition of win photos being taken on the racetrack!
Four weeks later and Dancing Yodeler struck again, this time rolling to an easy two-length victory in another $3,5000 claimer on August 9, running six furlongs in 1:09.40.
The 2015 season was even better for the Emerald Racing Club. Charlie Thomas, a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding with a touch of class, rolled past Rocky’s Quest to win a $15,000 claiming race on July 11 (below). Charlie Thomas’ next race might have been even better, as he finished second beaten a neck to Coach Royal–later voted the meet’s Top Claimer–in a $15,000 claiming race run in very fast 1:35.40 for one mile. Charlie Thomas earned a career-high 80 Beyer Speed Figure in defeat.
Emerald Racing Club had two horses in sharp form in 2015. On August 4, Tribal Waters rolled to a three-length victory in a $12,500 claiming race, the first of two straight victories for the 4-year-old Tribal Rule gelding (below).
I couldn’t locate a photo of Tribal Waters’ subsequent victory but I found something almost as cool. Dancing Yodeler was given a special retirement by Emerald Racing Club on August 15, and it’s a rare day when a lower level claiming horse is paraded before the fans. But Dancing Yodeler earned it by being a cool horse who was great for ERC on and off the track!
Archie Graham was around for practically all of 2016 and proved a great addition both on and off the track. Claimed for $8,000 at Golden Gate Fields in March, Archie Graham rallied for a tremendous victory in his Emerald Downs debut two months later. Ridden by Leslie Mawing, Archie rallied from eight and last to prevail by a head in 1:36 for one mile. In the photo below it’s difficult to even see Archie Graham, but there he is with his gray nose for the victory!
Archie Graham then finished fourth four straight times before rallying to a two-length victory on August 15. He finished the year with a second to He’s Cagey on September 4 and subsequently was sold to Jim Engstrom (Left Coast Thoroughbreds) and is back in the Ross barn for the 2017 season at Emerald Downs.
Next: On Wednesday, an update on acquiring horses for 2017 Emerald Racing Club.