E Z Larry 5th in ERC Debut

In his first race for the Emerald Racing Club, E Z Larry finished fifth in the third race on Friday at Emerald Downs. All things considered it was an OK effort by our 3-year-old gelding, but certainly not great.

E Z Larry was facing tougher horses than he raced against 19 days ago in his debut. But after reaching a striking position on the the turn he got a bit tired and was never a threat to win. Boo Boo Bear, the 6-to-5 favorite, was the winner under Rocco Bowen in 1:09.99 for 6 furlongs.

Here is the official Daily Racing Form chart (sorry for the blurriness, I will email it out in a higher resolution).

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As you can see, E Z Larry was the fifth choice in the wagering at 8.30-to-1. In fact, the race went almost exactly to form: the betting favorite won, the second choice finished second, the third choice finished fourth, the fourth choice finished third, and the fifth choice finished fifth. Kid Trickey, Trust in the Stars and Snow Zone all went off at very high odds and finished sixth, seventh and eighth.

“The three horses that looked toughest on paper finished one, two, three,” trainer Mike Puhich said. “It was a pretty tough race, quite a bit tougher than his first race.”

Boo Boo Bear’s winning time was only one-fifth of a second slower than Wine At Nine’s time in the Friday feature race, and Wine At Nine is a tough 5-year-old gelding with four wins this season, so Larry’s competition Friday certainly was legit.

But still, we were a little bit disappointed with Friday’s race. Mike said that jockey Isaias Enrqiuez offered no excuses, other than a bump at the break and racing a bit wide on the turn, E Z Larry had a good trip. Isaias added that E Z Larry was trying, but he just wasn’t able to really get going and make an impact.

Puhich texted me that E Z Larry cooled out fine after the race, so that’s good news.

Where does this leave us? The good thing about owning a maiden is that it’s easy to find another race. Unlike with McDove, where we’ve been handcuffed by a dearth of $20,000 fillies and mares, there is no such shortage with maidens. In our post-race huddle, Puhich said his goal is to get three wins this season with E Z Larry, and I appreciate his boldness.

My thought is that a drop in class will help immensely–back down to $15,000 maiden claiming at least–and see if that does the trick. Remember, E Z Larry has only raced twice and I’ve witnessed hundreds of horses that took a little time to get their careers going. The horse that beat us tonight, Boo Boo Bear, was making his seventh start of the year and his 10th overall, so sometimes you have to hang in there with a horse.

E Z Larry in the paddock

E Z Larry is a good-looking animal with decent breeding and a willing attitude. So while Friday’s race wasn’t the grand slam we had hoped to hit, it’s too early to lose faith.

I’ll check in with Mike again Saturday and update any further developments.

We will have our Breakfast at the Wire group outing on Saturday, July 29. We were originally going to have it on July 22, but with E Z Larry running Friday it would have been a quick turnaround to come back to Emerald Downs on Saturday morning.

If anyone would like to attend tomorrow’s Breakfast at the Wire, the free show is from 8 to 10 a.m., with entry via the paddock gate. At 10 a.m., you are welcome to tour the jockeys’ room with valet Al Padilla.

E Z Larry 9-2 in Friday Race


E Z Larry-July 19

E Z Larry on Wednesday

Time for track announcer Matt Dinerman to take a look at Friday’s race in which E Z Larry makes his first start for Emerald Racing Club.

The race is a $25,000 maiden claiming race for 3-year-olds and up at 6 furlongs, with a $13,600 purse. It goes as Race 3 at 7:35 p.m.

1-Mixo, Javier Matias, 120 lbs, 3-/1; 2-Storminside, Eswan Flores, 120, 7/2; 3-Rainrebel, Julien Couton, 120, 8/1; 4-Kid Trickey, Kevin Orozco, *115, 12/1; 5-Boo Boo Bear, Rocco Bowen, 120, 5/2; 6-Snow Zone, Osvaldo Gonzalez, *115, 15/1; 7-E Z Larry, Isaias Enriquez, 120, 9/2; 8-Trust in the Stars, Juan Gutierrez, 120, 6/1.

Take it away Matt. . .

“Hello all! It’s time to get excited for E Z Larry!

Before we get into ‘Larry’s race…I am sorry about what happened to McDove. The good news is that I went back to the barn and she looks really good. Physically she looks very healthy and she was very happy, meaning mentally she is OK too. I understand Vince sent you all an e-mail to explain what has been done with her to get her lungs cleared out. She will be OK and will go on to race another day!

Eight runners to go six furlongs in the third race tomorrow night, E Z Larry’s race! E Z Larry is making his second lifetime start. Sometimes, horses take a step forward in their second career race, so keep that in mind (in fact, ‘second time starters’ was Vince’s handicapping angle in our ‘Angles With Experts’ segment.) Mike Puhich has decided to put blinkers on E Z Larry. He looked green (inexperienced) in his first start, so my guess is those blinkers are being added to try to keep him a little more focused this time. ‘Larry was claimed by the ERC for 15k and is in for a 25k tag this time. The field he faces this time is tougher than what he saw in his career deubt.

When I first heard you had claimed E Z Larry, I was very pleased. E Z Larry has the breeding to be nice; his sire (He’s Tops) has done good work as a sire and his dam (Maker Happy) produced E Z Starmaker, who was a VERY impressive maiden winner last year. He had a few snappy workouts leading up to his debut and, after his first race, he gave me the impression he had a horse who had some ability.

There are three first time starters in this race. The one who scares Vince and I the most is #2 Storminside. He comes from the Blaine Wright barn; Blaine has had an outstanding meet, winning at an eye-popping 37% clip. Storminside is a Kentucky bred by Hansen (who is a son of one of the top stallion’s in the world,  Tapit) and has had some quick works in preperation for this race. Expect him to show speed. Incidentally, Larry and Sharon Ross have a first time starter in the race: #4 Kid Trickey. As much as we all like Larry and Sharon, it would be fine with us if Kid Trickey runs second to E Z Larry tomorrow.

The horses with the most experience that are main threats to E Z Larry are #1 Mixo and #5 Boo Boo Bear. Mixo has hit the board in the majority of his races and has finished behind some really nice horses, including 2015 champion two-year-old So Lucky. Boo Boo Bear is another one that has finished behind solid racehorses in past starts.

I try to be as impartial as possible while calling races…however…if I had to call E Z Larry as the winner of the third race, I’d be pretty darn excited for you all.”


Time to Regroup


McDove on the far left (No. 9) breaks from the starting gate

Well, that didn’t go well at all.

McDove finished last in the $50,000 Boeing Stakes and was eased through the stretch by jockey Kevin Orozco. According to trainer Sharon Ross, McDove bled during the race.

Despite losing a ton of ground early, McDove was in third place going into the far turn when she suddenly began dropping back, quickly fading to the back of the field. At that moment I was concerned about her well being and hoped nothing was seriously wrong.

“McDove bled about 8 on a scale of 10,” Ross said. “There had to be a reason she ran so poorly. Her legs are fine.”

The race was a fiasco from the outset, our worst fears realized when Protective Shield (No. 8) floated McDove very wide around the first turn. The Equibase chart says McDove was four wide, but I beg to differ and would argue that we were at least six wide.

But racing wide wasn’t the big issue Sunday. I’ll check with Sharon tomorrow and see how McDove is doing physically. We’ll have to let the dust settle, regroup, and see what’s next for our filly. If the bleeding is manageable, we can think about another race, obviously at a lower class level.

Full credit to Citizen Kitty, the 5-year-old Washington-bred mare that won the Boeing Stakes by 4 1/2 lengths. I know her owners, Bruce and Cass Maller, and they are very classy people, gracious in either victory or defeat.


Citizen Kitty wins the Boeing Stakes

E Z Larry, meanwhile, is in Race 3 on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. He had an easy half-mile work this morning in :48.80 and schooled in the paddock before Sunday’s first race. Everything went well and I’m looking forward to watching him run Friday.





McDove Sunday, E Z Larry Friday


Kevin Orozco

E Z Larry’s race is a go for Friday. The race–a $25,000 maiden claiming race for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs with a $13,600 purse–drew eight entries.

They were still drawing Friday’s races, so I don’t know the race number yet, but I will post that information tonight along with a recap of the Boeing Stakes.

I just talked to Mike Puhich and E Z Larry will be schooling in the paddock with the horses for the first race. So if you’re at the track, come and take a look. He’s a good-looking chestnut gelding and will be with groom Danni Briggs.

As I handicapped the Boeing, by far my biggest concern is McDove’s post-position. She drew the far outside No. 9 post, which would be great if the Boeing was a sprint (any race shorter than one mile). But in one-mile races at Emerald Downs the run from the starting gate to the first turn is very short, and horses stuck on the outside often get hung out very wide and lose a tremendous amount of ground. In fact, in one-mile races this season at Emerald Downs post-positions 9 & 10 are a combined 0-for-10. That statistic had me waking up in a cold sweat last night.

So to me, the biggest key for McDove will be to break alertly and quickly angle over and tuck inside behind the leaders. If Kevin Orozco can manage that, McDove’s chances improve greatly. Incidentally, a couple of you asked why Orozco won’t get the the usual five lb. apprentice weight break on McDove in today’s race. There are no weight allowances in stakes races, so McDove will carry 117 lbs.

While McDove is facing tougher fillies and mares today, she does have upside. The first two filly and mare stakes this season were won by Citizen Kitty and Profound Moment, the two morning line favorites in the Boeing, but those races were at 6 and 6 1/2 furlongs. Neither Citizen Kitty nor McDove have thrived at longer distances. Pyscho Sister, a quality invader from California, has won on turf and synthetic surfaces but is unproven on dirt.

Princess Katie and Princess Kennedy are both proven distance horses, but neither has run particularly well this year. So in a race full of question marks, McDove has a chance.

We won’t have a post-race gathering today. Stryker Phd runs in the Mt. Rainier Stakes immediately after the Boeing, so Sharon Ross has her hands full today. I will get some comments after the dust settles and pass them along tonight.

McDove 8-1 Morning Line

The morning line is out for Sunday’s $50,000 Boeing Stakes and McDove is listed at 8-1. There are four horses with lower morning line odds, including 5-2 favorite Profound Moment, and there are four horses with higher morning lines.

So McDove is right in he middle, which sounds about right to me.

The Boeing Stakes is Race 7 but note post time is now 4:41 p.m., 30 minutes earlier than was listed yesterday.

Here is the field for the Boeing Stakes: 1-Princess Katie, Amadeo Perez, 119 lbs, 6-1; 2-Citizen Kitty, Julien Couton, 123, 3-1; 3-My Heart Goes On, Eswan Flores, 119; 15-1; 4-Profound Moment, Javier Matias, 123, 5-2; 5-Pyscho Sister, Kevin Krigger, 117, 7-2; 6-Princess Kennedy, Rocco Bowen, 119, 10-1; 7-B C Z Middleton, Jose Zunino, 119, 15-1; 8-Protective Shield, Juan Gutierrez, 119, 12-1; 9-McDove, Kevin Orozco, 117, 8-1.

Track announcer Matt Dinerman and myself will post our handicapping thoughts on the race Saturday.

Emerald Racing Club has a special priority seating section: Section 19 on the 3rd floor. This section has 180 seats with 23 handicap seats at the top. You do not need tickets, just your lanyards. The ushers will be instructed to seat only those with lanyards and their guests. We also have free admissions for Emerald Racing Club guests at will call.

seats 23

The green seats between the red, white & blue banters



McDove Runs In $50,000 Boeing Stakes

McDove July 14-2

McDove with a young admirer Thursday

McDove is officially a go for Sunday’s $50,000 Boeing Stakes for fillies and mares at one mile. It’s Race 7 at 5:09 p.m.

McDove drew the far outside No. 9 post-position with Kevin Orozco our jockey at 117 lbs. Javier Matias understandably is riding Profound Moment, winner of last month’s Washington State Legislators Stakes, but Orozco will be a fine replacement. He currently ranks second in the jockeys’ standings with 36 wins and also rides Stryker Phd for Larry and Sharon Ross in Sunday’s Mt. Rainier Stakes.

Going from a claiming race to a stakes race is asking a lot for any horse, and Sunday’s task is formidable for McDove. She will face not only the best older fillies and mares at Emerald Downs, but also invaders from Canada and California too.

On the other hand, she gets to race around two turns, and those races simply are not filling in her claiming range at Emerald Downs. I need to reiterate that Larry and Sharon Ross know what they are doing; their combined 47 stakes wins rank No. 3 all-time at Emerald Downs. They wouldn’t have entered McDove in a stakes if they felt she was badly out-classed.

“She’s training super and loves the distance,” Sharon Ross said. “She deserves a shot.”

The morning line comes out Friday, and I’ll write more about the race then.

EZ Larry July 14

E Z Larry back at Emerald Downs

E Z Larry is back from Pegasus and also is doing very well. The $25,000 maiden claiming race for Sunday got five entries, one away from filling, but trainer Mike Puhich said the race is being offered back for Friday, July 21. Entries for that race will be taken Sunday.

McDove Probable For $50,000 Boeing Stakes

It’s beginning to look like McDove will make her next start in the $50,000 Boeing Stakes at one mile on Sunday, July 16.

The Friday, July 14, race didn’t fill, and although there is a $20,000 claiming race at one mile for fillies and mares in the condition book on Sunday, July 16, it’s also doubtful to go.

So we’ll run McDove in the Boeing Stakes. It’s asking a lot, of course, to jump from a claiming race to a stakes race, but she needs to run and frankly there aren’t any world beaters nominated to the Boeing.

Here is the list of nominees: Boeing Stakes

Citizen Kitty, winner of the Hastings Stakes, and Profound Moment, winner of the Washington State Legislators Stakes are probably the horses to beat, and Chronologic’sghost and Pyscho Sister will be formidable if they ship up from California.

But the Hastings was 6 furlongs and the Washington State Legislators was 6 1/2 furlongs; the Boeing is one mile in distance and that will help McDove. I’m not saying she will win the race, but she definitely can hold her own with these fillies and mares.

Meanwhile, McDove worked an easy five furlongs in 1:02 3/5 Saturday and is ready to roll.

Entries for the Boeing will be drawn Thursday morning and we’ll have much more to say about the race later this week.

E Z Larry is doing nicely up at Pegasus, and I will email a video of him training there later today.

I also emailed June billing information for Distinguishable and McDove this morning.

Equine Art 2017


The Equine Art Committee invites Emerald Racing Club members to stop by the Equine Art Show on the weekend of July 14-16. The show is located on track level and open during racing hours Friday, Saturday and Sunday–and if you wear your ERC lanyard you will receive an art show poster, suitable for framing ($5 value).

The Art Show has a long history with Northwest racing, and all of the art displayed is for sale. Also, a portion each item sold supports the Washington Thoroughbred Foundation (thoroughbredfoundation.org).

Courtesy of Larry and Karen Saxon, the Equine Art Committee provided coffee on our farm tours this spring.



Everyone’s invited to Breakfast at the Wire on Saturday, July 22. The free show is from 8 to 10 a.m. and features prominent trainers, jockeys and owners along with a tour of the jockeys’ room.

The Emerald Racing Club had a great time the last couple of years at BATW.  Entry is via the paddock gate. We’ll send out a reminder and more details next week.