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).
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 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.