McDove Finishes Sixth


Kiss My Lulu

McDove struggled Friday night at Emerald Downs. She never really got going and finished sixth in a seven-horse field of $15,000 claiming fillies and mares.

Kiss My Lulu, the 6-to-5 betting favorite, led all the way and won easily by 4 1/4 lengths in 1:16.93 for 6 1/2 furlongs. The official order of finish: 1st-Kiss My Lulu, 2nd-Listo, 3rd-Our Silver Lining, 4th-Trinni, 5th-Guardian One, 6th-McDove, 7th-Justitia.

McDove was next to last on the backstretch, raced four-wide through the turn, and made up virtually no ground in the stretch.

It’s a bit disappointing. McDove is a better filly than she showed Friday night–she was competitive with Exit Sixty Slew and Jerre to Carrie earlier in the season, and both of those horses are four-time winners at the meet. And she also finished right behind Kiss My Lulu back on April 22.

Sharon Ross and jockey Javier Matias expressed disappointment with McDove’s unwillingness to settle off the pace (which is called being “rated” in the vernacular) Friday. McDove was very aggressive early and wanted to rip, but she doesn’t have the natural speed to keep up in a race like Friday’s. Had Matias let McDove go early, she would have run out of gas in the stretch.

Also, McDove was racing with a different bit in her mouth Friday. She wore what’s called an elevator bit, which is used on horses that frequently leans into the bit or pulls against the reins. McDove’s been a handful for both jockeys and exercise riders this year, and the hope was that she would settle nicely with the different equipment.

Sharon is fairly certain McDove didn’t bleed Friday, so that’s good news.

We’ll have to let the dust settle and regroup. We should be able to get another race out of McDove this year, and hopefully we can get the racing secretary to work on filling a route race (one mile or longer) for fillies and mares in McDove’s category.

I’ll check in with Sharon tomorrow and send out an update Saturday night.

Thanks for hanging in there!




McDove Set For Friday Night

McDove officially is a go for Friday night. The Sunday race drew only two entries and was called off, so instead of running one mile on Sunday she runs 6 1/2 furlongs Friday.

McDove is actually the 3-1 second choice on the morning line (I thought we’d be a bit higher) with post time 9 p.m. The purse is $13,600, the claiming price $15,000.

As usual, track announcer Matt Dinerman is here to offer his analysis of our race. Take it away, Matt.

“Hi everyone! Only five weeks left until the 2017 Emerald Downs meet ends…time has flown by!!!

First of all, a BIG congratulations to each and every one of you for E Z Larry’s big win! He sure ran his heart out that day and big props go to Mike (Puhich) for a job well done, getting him ready to run his “A” race. ‘Larry is “feeling his oats” (no pun intended) at the barn and has been spoiled with treats and pets (by Vince, yours truly, and of course, many of you!) Make sure to tune in to the first race tomorrow night. Myt Fine, who finished second in E Z Larry’s race, is the 7-5 morning line favorite. If he wins, that makes ‘Larry’s race look even better!

Before discussing McDove’s voyage tomorrow, I wanted to let you all know that I observed her August 18th workout in person (5 furlongs in 1:01 flat) and she looked terrific. She quickened when asked down the stretch, had plenty left in the tank at the wire and galloped out strong on the clubhouse turn. The first part of her work was fairly slow…but don’t worry: that was 100% by design and she was just cruising.

TEACHABLE MOMENT: Time is not everything in a workout. What is most important is HOW a horse works. I would rather take McDove’s work (1:01 flat, nice and easy, with an energetic gallop out) over a filly who worked :59 flat and was all out at the wire, with not much left in the tank by the gallop out.

Now…time to talk about the race. Even though eight fillies and mares are entered for Race 6 tomorrow night, expect #4 Sugarseeker to scratch: she re-entered in one of the Washington Cup stakes races this Sunday.

Your girl #5 McDove is 3-1 on the morning line and she’s got a decent shot to win this race (in my opinion, anyway.) In fact, I made her my top pick! That’s a knock though, as my top picks have yet to win when handicapping a race on this blog. 🙂 Maybe we can turn that luck around!!!

What I like about McDove is that she can sit off what is projected to be a fast pace, so the race should set up well for her midpack/stalking style. #6 Justitia is a very fast filly and MUST have the lead; that is the only way she can win. #7 Kiss My Lulu, who is the 2-1 morning line favorite, also does her best running on the lead. #3 Listo won in a gate to wire romp on August 11, but I don’t think she is quick enough to go out with #6 Justitia or #7 Kiss My Lulu (unless she wants to be a sacrificial lamb, so to speak.)

Remember: McDove sprinted in her first start for the Emerald Racing Club on April 22 and finished third behind Jerre to Carrie, who went on to win four races in a row after winning that night, and Kiss My Lulu, who of course, is also entered back in this spot. So, even though many believe McDove may be best routing, she can also be effective sprinting. McDove will need to turn the tables on Kiss My Lulu, yes, but it’s not an impossible task considering the race shape will probably favor McDove’s running style over ‘Lulu’s.

#7 Kiss My Lulu is definitely the one to beat. She has finished first or second in 7 of her past 8 races. In her most recent afternoon appearance, she ran fourth and threw in a clunker, but keep in mind that she was facing a much tougher group: the top two finishers are in a stakes race on Sunday and the third place finisher would be the favorite if she were to compete in this race.

My top pick: #5 McDove. Second pick: #7 Kiss My Lulu. Third pick: #2 Trinni, who comes off a nice win at the 10k claiming level and takes a bump up in class for this. Her best race makes her competitive against this field.

I’m crossing my fingers and hoping all 200 of you will get the chance to add another win photo to your collection tomorrow night! GOOD LUCK!!!!”




McDove Race Friday, August 25

McDove returns to action Friday night at Emerald Downs.

That is, she probably returns to action Friday. Sharon Ross entered McDove in Friday’s feature race (Race 6) for $15,000 claiming fillies and mares at 6 1/2 furlongs. She drew the No. 5 post-position with Javier Matias our rider.

McDove is what’s called  a “conditional” entry, meaning we can scratch her no questions asked, IF we instead run in the one-mile race for $15,000 claiming fillies and mares on Sunday, August 27. We will enter that race Thursday. The one-mile distance would be the better distance for McDove, but longer races have struggled to fill all season for fillies and mares in McDove’s class range. So it would be no surprise if this one also failed to fill, and in that event we would remain in Friday’s race at 6 1/2 furlongs.

Sorry if this is a bit confusing. Basically by entering Friday’s race we ensured that McDove will run next weekend.



E Z Larry Victorious!



E Z Larry and Isaias Enriquez

That was more like it!

In his second race for Emerald Racing Club, E Z Larry led gate-to-wire and scored a one-length victory Friday in 1:03.91 for 5 1/2 furlongs. Ridden by Isaias Enriquez, E Z Larry paid $3.60 to win as the betting favorite.

The final time was pretty darned good, and I imagine Larry will easily top his previous Beyer figures of 44 and 48. A race later, Let’s Mambo won a $15,000 maiden claiming race for fillies and mares in 1:05.06–over a full second slower than E Z Larry’s winning time.

E Z Larry was not claimed, which was a relief since we were dropping way down to $8,000 claiming Friday.

E Z Larry earned $4,290, meaning we still have quite a ways to go to recoup our investment in the horse. But Larry should fit very nicely in a race for non-winners of two races lifetime, which is a pretty common condition at Emerald Downs.

So assuming E Z Larry comes out of the race in good shape, and he walked back to the barn just fine, we should be able to look for another race fairly soon.

There were a couple of anxious moments Friday. E Z Larry ran a very fast opening quarter-mile (:21.88 seconds) and opened a three-length lead on the turn for home. As I watched the race with trainer Mike Puhich we saw that Myt Fine and jockey Kevin Orozco were rallying strongly from the back of the back. Enriquez, meanwhile, took a confident peak back into the stretch, and E Z Larry was up to the challenge and turned aside Myt Fine through the lane for the victory.

E Z Larry and Myt Fine dominated the race. E Z Larry was the winner by one length, and Myt Fine was 6 3/4 lengths ahead of Trust in the Stars in third place. Galeforce Nine, the horse Matt Dinerman feared in his pre-race analysis, finished fourth, and Parker’s Prince and Buckpeak rounded out the order of finish.


E Z Larry (right) with Mike Puhich and groom Dani Griggs. Can you find yourself?


E Z Larry 5/2 Morning Line Favorite

E Z Larry-8-11

E Z Larry 5/2 morning line

As you can see, E Z Larry is the 5/2 morning line favorite in Friday’s 3rd Race at Emerald Downs. Post time is 7:36 p.m.

The race is 5 1/2 furlongs for 3-year-old maidens (non-winners) with an $8,000 claiming price.

I think we have a great chance to win. Isaias Enriquez–who rides morning line favorite Mach One Rules Sunday in the Longacres Mile–can get the weekend off to a great start with a victory in the ERC silks. Isaias was up for the five-furlong workout last weekend and was very happy with the horse’s performance.

Track announcer Matt Dinerman, also an excellent handicapper, takes a closer look at the race. Take it away, Matt!

“Hello all! Surely you’re excited about the Longacres Mile this Sunday, but the bigger race for you all is Friday night: The E Z Larry Classic.

That’s right…E Z Larry is back in! The good news is that ‘Larry is in a much easier spot this time, so it looks like he should be much more competitive. I think he fits in well with this group.

E Z Larry looks like the one to beat on paper, but the horse you should be worried about, in my opinion, is #4 Galeforce Nine. Both of his past sprint races were solid and he just ran third going one mile. The cut back from a route to a sprint is a very profitable angle for horse players. Essentially, horses that cut back in distance are very fit and show much better stamina after running in a longer race.

More good news, though: E Z Larry finished in front of Galeforce Nine in his first career start on July 2.

Trust in the Stars is another main contender. Like E Z Larry and Galeforce Nine, Trust in the Stars drops in class. In fact, earlier in the meet he was hitting the board against maiden 15k claimers. Just three starts ago, he only lost by a head at this maiden 8k claiming level going one mile. So, he has shown ability in past starts.

There is no confirmed front runner in this race, which makes things interesting. Who will go to the lead? #1 Parker’s Prince is probably going to be sent hard by his rider, Rocco Bowen, who is known to be aggressive out of the gate. Parker’s Prince went to the lead in his first two starts, so he has shown front running sprint speed in the past. If ‘Prince has the lead to himself, then I’d expect Galeforce Nine and E Z Larry to get a perfect stalking trip off the aforementioned pacesetter. Both ‘Nine and ‘Larry have very similar stalking running styles.

The Emerald Racing Club should hope that Parker’s Prince DOES NOT get loose on the lead. In your preferred racing scenario, someone goes out to pressure Parker’s Prince and E Z Larry can get the dream “stalk and pounce” trip.

Good luck!!!”

E Z Larry Race, Friday, August 11

E Z Larry is a go for Friday, August 11.

His race drew seven entrants and goes as Race 3, post time 7:30 p.m. The weather is expected to remain hot through next weekend, so racing at night should be comfortable.

As I said in yesterday’s email, E Z Larry’s workout Saturday morning went very well. He worked five furlongs in 1:00.80 (second fastest of eight at the distance) and that should have him ready to roll Friday. We’re also taking a significant drop in class, and I think we’re the horse to beat.

We’ll take a closer look at the race Wednesday, with analysis by Matt Dinerman.

Can’t think of a better way to begin Longacres Mile weekend than with a victory.

Here is the field for Friday’s Race 3 at Emerald Downs (maiden claiming, 3-year-olds, 5 1/2 furlongs, claiming price $8,000): 1-Parker’s Prince, Rocco Bowen, 122 lbs; 2-Myt Fine, Kevin Orozco ,119; 3-Trust in the Stars, Julien Couton, 122; 4-Galeforce Nine, Erick Lopez, 122; 5-E Z Larry, Isaias Enriquez, 122; 6-Snow Zone, Eswan Flores, 122; 7-Buckbeak, Luis Gonzalez, 122.