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.


Directions to Pegasus Training Center

Please note we will begin at 10 a.m., Saturday, July 1.

As I mentioned in the email, the location is 37 miles from Emerald Downs.

If you have any problems please call my cell at (253) 335-2657 and I’ll help guide you in. They have plenty of parking available.

Lousy news: No go for McDove on Sunday, but Monday is a possibility.

pegasus map



Distinguishable Claimed For $25,000

Distinguishable-Friday, June 23

Distinguishable (No. 6) in the stretch run Friday

In case you missed the email last night, Distinguishable finished fifth and was claimed for $25,000 by trainer Manny Ortiz and owner Carrie Brogden, a partner in Select Sales Agency of Lexington, KY.

There actually were two claims in for Distinguishable, with trainers Ortiz and Tim McCanna each depositing claim slips prior to the 15-minute cutoff before last night’s 6th race. When multiple claims occur for the same horse, they draw peas in the paddock to determine who gets the horse, in this case Ortiz and Brogden.

I emailed Brogden to confirm that Distinguishable was claimed as a broodmare, and hopefully will hear from her soon. As we’ve discussed before, Distinguishable is very attractively-bred (By Distorted Humor-Officiate) and sold for $250,000 as a yearling in 2014, and she obviously makes a fine broodmare candidate.

As for last night’s race, I thought Distinguishable ran very well. She finished fifth, but she did the dirty work, pressing the early pace as Ila Veiw wound up tying the fastest 6 furlongs by a filly or mare in track history with a 1:07.90 clocking. Ila Veiw set remarkably fast factions–:21.53 for the quarter-mile, :43.80 for the half-mile and :55.55 for five-eighths–and kept right on going.

As I wrote in the email last night, if Ila Veiw isn’t in the race Distinguishable would have won. That’s just an opinion, of course, but trainer Mike Puhich felt the same way. The horses that wound up passing us for second, third and fourth place all lagged back early, while Distinguishable was out there challenging Ila Veiw on the turn for home. Full credit to the winner, she was dynamite.


Anyway, sorry to see Distinguishable go. She was classy and wonderful with visitors, and one gets a bit emotional when that red tag is placed on the horse. Incidentally, that $25,000 claim tied the biggest of the season at Emerald Downs.

As Mike Puhich said in our post-race gathering, any time you turn a profit you have to look at the big picture. We purchased Distinguishable for $10,000, and in three starts she earned $8,680 in purses. Combine that with the $25,000 for the claim and we got a grand total of $33,680 for our $10,000 investment. There were training bills, of course, but the final tally is easily in the black.

The plan now is to claim another horse (or horses.) I promised never to be mad if one of our horses was claimed, but I also feel what’s fair is fair, and Puhich and Larry and Sharon Ross have their eyes wide open. We also still have McDove and she is getting close to another race following her great effort June 3.


The trip to Pegasus Training Center is Saturday, July 1. I will email the time and directions early in the week. You can figure around 8 a.m.


Incidentally, I saw something today at Santa Anita that was a first in nearly four decades in racing. A nicely bred 4-year-old named Award It was entered in a $25,000 claiming race for fillies and mares and listed as a hermaphrodite–which I always understood was an organism that has reproductive organs normally associated with both male and female sexes. However, they made this distinction to warn any would-be claimers that Award It is not able to be bred, so in this case spending $25,000 as a potential broodmare would not have worked.





Friday Race Update

Hi Everyone, Matt Dinerman here again!

I just wanted to add a little bit to my analysis on Distinguishable’s race Friday night.

Kiss My Lulu is now scratched out of the sixth race tomorrow night, so that is one less rival to worry about. Trainer Blaine Wright has opted to run Kiss My Lulu in a race on Sunday afternoon. As of late Thursday afternoon, there are now seven fillies and mares signed on to compete in Distinguishable’s race.

This, in my opinion, is a major defection. You’ve got one less speed demon to worry about, so it might effect the pace scenario. Ila Veiw and Our Silver Lining are both quick, so they’ll be ensuring a fast pace. I still believe Distinguishable is going to sit in a stalking position, but we will see.

REMINDER: Distinguishable runs in Race 6. Post time is at 9 PM.

Looking forward to seeing everyone!

Distinguishable 4-1 Morning Line

The more I look at Friday’s race, the more psyched out I get. I’m not saying Distinguishable can’t win–after all, she’s 4-to-1 on the morning  line–but it isn’t going to be easy.

We are the third choice in an eight-horse field of $25,000 claiming fillies and mares that is top to bottom tough. Moreover, the race appears loaded with speed, not an ideal scenario considering Distinguishable is a front-runner. Kiss My Lulu and Ila Veiw are both confirmed speedsters, while Distinguishable, Parkers Delight and Our Silver Lining also have good early lick. Arlington Lady, Fly Far Away and Trinni are stretch-runners that could be rallying into a fast pace.

Reminder we’re in Race 6 at 9 p.m. It’s the featured Muckleshoot Casino Purse with a purse of $15,200, and wouldn’t it be fun to have Javier Matias, Mike Puhich and a couple of ERC members interviewed by Joe Withee after the race? In any event, the weather is going to be splendid and hopefully everyone has a lot of fun.

I thought it might be fun to get Matt Dinerman’s opinion of the race. In addition to being America’s youngest track announcer at age 24, Matt also is an excellent handicapper whose selections appear every race day on emeralddowns.com. I asked Matt to first envision on how he sees the race shaping up in terms of pace, and then to select the top three finishers.

Here is the field with the morning line odds followed by Matt Dinerman’s analysis: 1-Arlington Lady, Erick Lopez, 12-1; 2-Fly Far Away, Julien Couton, 8-1; 3-Kiss My Lulu, Juan Gutierrez, 6-1; 4-Ila Veiw, Eswan Flores, 5/2; 5-Parkers Delight, Jose Zunino, 3-1; 6-Distinguishable, Javier Matias, 4-1; 7-Our Silver Lining, Eliska Kubinova, 15-1; 8-Trinni, Rocco Bowen, 5-1

“Hi everyone! Matt here. I’m really looking forward to calling the green and white Emerald Racing Club silks this Friday night. Like Vince said, there is a lot of speed in this race. Let’s go over each quick filly and mare:

#3 Kiss My Lulu is a ‘need the lead’ type, meaning if she doesn’t race on the lead, she stops. So, there’s one way for her to go. She’ll be out in front.

The runner breaking right to her outside, #4 Ila Veiw, has also done her best work when on the lead, so I expect her to be keeping Kiss My Lulu company on the front end.

#7 Our Silver Lining has dueled on the lead in prior starts, but she has tactical speed, meaning she can be effective stalking the pace (AKA sitting RIGHT behind the leaders) before making her run down the stretch. The good news for Our Silver Lining is she is drawn OUTSIDE of the other speedsters. Her jockey (Eliska Kubinova) can look over, see what others are doing and then place her where she sees fit. It wouldn’t be surprising if she sits right on the leaders’ tails, though I can’t see her being farther than a length and a half away from the pace. If she was drawn inside, Eliska would probably have to be a little more aggressive out of the gates and go to the lead to make sure not to get trapped in traffic. But because she is drawn outside Eliska knows she’s going to get a clear trip, so she has options.

Now….#6 Distinguishable has speed herself. In her first start for ‘The Club,’ I’m sure you all remember she went to the lead and never stopped. Last time out, she stalked the pace and finished third. I think Distinguishable is a lot like Our Silver Lining; she can stalk if need be but her best weapon is her speed. She is naturally quick and if you take away that natural quickness, she is not going to be in a good, fluid stride and she won’t run her very best race. I expect Javier to let Distinguishable get in a natural, quick stride, put her in a stalking spot and then ask her to run by the leaders down the stretch.

Vince is right; this is not an easy spot. You’ve got a lot of nice quality fillies and mares in here. My top pick is Parker’s Delight, who is going to get a perfect stalking trip off the speed and will get the first jump on the closers if the pace collapses. My second pick is Kiss My Lulu, making her first start for the Blaine Wright stable. Blaine is exceptionally good at improving runners once he claims them. In fact, he wins at a 32% clip with runners making their first start for him after a claim! My third pick is your girl Distinguishable. This is a really tough field she is running against, but she is training GREAT at Pegasus and the fact she has tactical speed gives me the confidence that Javier can put her in a good spot based on how the race is shaping up and, hopefully, put up a solid effort.

Sometimes, horses that come off of HUGE efforts “bounce” in their next start, meaning they regress significantly. This could be the case with Ila Veiw, who ran her eyeballs out three weeks ago in an allowance race, losing the contest by a head after getting a clear lead and setting the pace before getting tagged in the final strides. The thing is, this time she is going to have company out on the front end and it will be awfully hard to duplicate that last run. So, from a horseplayer perspective, she is a play against for me, especially at a short price. HOWEVER, if she CAN repeat that last effort, she’s tough.

Good luck to The Emerald Racing Club on Friday night! We look forward to seeing many members at the track. Hopefully, we’ll see you all in the winner’s circle too!”






Distinguishable Returns Friday, June 23

Distinguishable returns to action Friday night at Emerald Downs. She runs in a $25,000 claiming race for fillies and mares at six furlongs.

It goes as the featured Race 6 at 9 p.m.

The race actually drew eight horses, which is surprising since the same condition only had five entries two days ago. No complaints, though as it will be nice to watch Distinguishable race again, especially after her bleeding episode last month. She has trained well in the interim at Pegasus and will return to her same stall at Emerald Downs early this week, probably Tuesday.

The field for Friday’s race (fillies & mares 3-year-olds and up which have have never won two races, not including maiden wins or claiming races $22,500 or less): 1-Arlington Lady, Erick Lopez; 2-Fly Far Away, Julien Couton; 3-Kiss My Lulu, Juan Gutierrez; 4-Ila Veiw, Eswan Flores; 5-Parkers Delight, Jose Zunino; 6-Distinguishable, Javier Matias; 7-Our Silver Lining, Eliska Kubinova; 8-Trinni, Rocco Bowen.

It’s a tough race, about what you would expect at this level. Kiss My Lulu and Ila Veiw both have serious speed, but at least Distinguishable drew outside of those two. I’ll have a race analysis later in the week.


McDove, meanwhile, breezed a half-mile in :50 flat Sunday morning with Javier Matias riding. Sharon Ross said it was a “maintenance” drill to keep up the fitness level between starts. McDove had a tough race 15 days ago, so we’re probably still a little ways from another race for her.