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.



McDove Misses In Thriller


Exit Sixty Slew (red) & McDove battle through the stretch

McDove ran a wonderful race and did everything but win Saturday at Emerald Downs.

With Javier Matias donning the green and white silks of Emerald Racing Club, McDove took the early lead, was resilient when challenged on the last turn, and battled head and head the length of the stretch vs. a sharp filly named Exit Sixty Slew.

Unfortunately, Exit Sixty Slew had her head down at the wire and prevailed in a photo finish, thus becoming the first horse to win three races this season at Emerald Downs.

The race was the $15,600 Stella Artois Purse for fillies and mares, with a $20,000 claiming price.


Exit Sixty Slew in front. . . .barely

Ridden by Rocco Bowen, Exit Sixty Slew ran one mile in 1:36.66 and paid $3.80 as the betting favorite. She was claimed, too, as trainer Blaine Wright and owners Below The Rim Stable and Medicore Racing claimed Exit Sixty Slew from Saturday’s race for $20,000.

McDove ran fabulously in defeat, easily finishing second, while First Heritage, Diamond Cut and Cup of Soup rounded out the order of finish. It was a bit surprising to see McDove grab the early lead away from Exit Sixty Slew, but trainer Sharon Ross said Javier Matias rode the horse well.

“Sometimes they break sharp and want to roll,” she said. “Javier’s a good rider with a great clock in his head, and he knows how to adapt during a race.”

McDove led by a length and half while setting fractional times of :24.31 for the quarter-mile, :47.76 for the half and 1:11.55 for three-quarters (six furlongs). Exit Sixty Slew challenged from the outside on the last turn and appeared headed for another convincing victory, but McDove wouldn’t go away, and the two 4-year-old fillies raced side by side the length of the stretch in a virtual match race.

Although the photo didn’t go our way, it was very neat to see the Emerald Racing Club reward McDove with a big round of applause after the race. She earned $3,120 for her efforts.

“McDove ran a great race,” Sharon Ross said. “Sometimes you run great and get beat, it happens in horse racing.”

For ERC veterans, Saturday’s contest was reminiscent of the 2015 stretch duel between Charlie Thomas and Coach Royal, and just as exhilarating.

We’ll let the dust settle, regroup and then explore options for another race for McDove. In two starts, she has one second, one third and $4,800 in earnings.






McDove 5-2 Third Choice

There is a slight change in post time for McDove’s race Saturday at Emerald Downs. She is entered in Race 4, post time 3:19 p.m., which is 19 minutes earlier than I reported Wednesday.

What happens is our simulcast coordinator, Eric Berry, studies the post times at other race tracks and then tries to slot our races so that they don’t conflict with other tracks. Sometimes that means adjusting post times a few minutes one way or the other.

Anyway, Mcdove’s race is 3:19 p.m.

Here is the morning line for our race: 1-Diamond Cut, Juan Gutierrez, 7-2; 2-Cup of Soup, Eswan Flores, 10-1; 3-Exit Sixty Slew, Rocco Bowen, 9-5; 4-First Heritage, Kevin Orozco, 2-1; 5-McDove, Juan Gutierrez, 5-2.

McDove is 5-2, which means the morning line maker thinks she will go off the third choice in the wagering at 5-2 (2 1/2 to 1)–just slightly higher than Exit Sixty Slew, the morning line favorite at 9-5, and First Heritage, the second choice at 2-1. Again, the public has the final say and determines the actual odds by how much they wager on each horse, but it’s safe to say this looks like an evenly matched field.

As I handicapped the race, it appeared obvious that Exit Sixty Slew is going to have the lead to herself on Saturday, always a dangerous a scenario in horse racing. Exit Sixty Slew has shown keen speed in both victories this season, but those were sprints and the idea is to keep her within striking distance early and then catch her in the stretch. That would be our dream scenario Saturday, lay just off of Exit Sixty Slew and then sweep past in the stretch for the victory! Mind you, however, we leave the actual strategy to Javier Matias and Larry and Sharon Ross.

The race is one mile, two furlongs farther than McDove ran in her first race here April 22, and the added distance should be a positive factor Saturday.


Distinguishable cleared a major hurdle Friday morning at Pegasus, and it appears she will race again for ERC. She breezed four furlongs in :52 flat, scoped clean afterwards, and trainer Mike Puhich said all systems are go.

“Realistically we could look for a race, but we might want to work her one more time just to make sure,” Puhich said. “Things are progressing nicely for her.”

I will email video of Distinguishable’s work later tonight.


Michelle Reagan of the The Gift Horse said the Emerald Racing Club t-shirts will arrive next week and available for pick up beginning Friday, June 9.

ERC T-shirt

McDove Race This Saturday

McDove is back in action Saturday at Emerald Downs. We finally got a race to fill and she runs in Race 4, post time 3:36 p.m.

The race is a $20,000 claiming race for fillies and mares 3-year-old and up at one mile, with a $15,600 purse. We drew post-position No. 5 with Javier Matias our jockey.

Needless to say, we’re very excited to watch McDove race again. Her first outing was pretty good, a third-place finish at 6 1/2 furlongs on April 22, and this time she stretches out to one mile in distance. McDove, the feeling has been, would be better around two turns. Her sire (Proud Citizen) was runner-up in the 2002 Kentucky Derby (1 1/4 miles) and her dam (Dove Cry) is by a sire (Dove Hunt) whose 11 career victories were all in races one mile or longer. McDove’s most recent victory on February 2 was in a one-mile race.

Here is the field for McDove’s race: 1-Diamond Cup, Juan Gutierrez, 119 lbs; 2-Cup of Soup, Eswan Flores, 119; 3-Exit Sixty Slew, Rocco Bowen, 119; 4-First Heritage, Kevin Orozco, 114; 5-McDove, Javier Matias, 119.

As you see, there are only five horses in the race but some good ones. Exit Sixty Slew already has two wins this season, albeit against slightly softer competition, and she appears to possess the most early speed in the race. Diamond Cut has raced mainly on turf in Arizona and California, but has earned $143,568. Cup of Soup was a tough competitor at this level here last year and has four wins in 12 starts at Emerald Downs. First Heritage has five career wins and was just claimed for $15,000 by Blaine Wright, currently the leading trainer at Emerald Downs.

I’ll have some more handicapping notes and post the morning line Friday.

After the race, we can meet behind the winner’s circle (below) and Sharon Ross can analyze the replay. She also can tell us what Javer Matias had to say and answer any questions.

Saturday’s first race is 2 p.m.

Distinguishable continues to gallop well at Pegasus Training Center and will have a four-furlong workout Friday morning.



No Race Sunday!

Distinguishable had a mishap Friday morning and trainer Mike Puhich said she will be scratched from Sunday’s race.

I will offer more details in today’s email, but don’t worry, Distinguishable is in no distress and is resting comfortably in her stall. She should be back in action soon.

Distinguishable’s workout went well, too. She worked an easy three furlongs in :35.80 under Isaias Enriquez, and the jockey said everything was going well, but Distinguishable coughed several times on the walk back to the barn and Puhich immediately decided to scratch. Thoroughbred racing has its share of ups and downs, and it’s no fun giving you folks lousy news like today’s.

McDove, meanwhile, was given the morning off, but is doing well and we could have a race next Friday.

Distinguishable Runs Sunday

Distinguishable is officially entered in Race 5 Sunday at Emerald Downs. Post time is 4:09 p.m.

The condition is a simple one: a $15,000 claiming race for fillies & Mares 3-year-olds and up which have never won three races. Period. The purse is $11,300, the distance 6 furlongs.

We drew the No. 4 post in a field of eight, but we have a new rider Sunday–Isaias Enriquez. Javier Matias, who rode Distinguishable in her first two starts this season, will ride It’s My Knight for trainer Doris Harwood in Sunday’s race. I have no qualms with Enriquez, a former riding champ at Emerald Downs, but I will find out what happened and report back.

Enriquez will get a feel for Distinguishable Friday as Mike Puhich plans to work her three furlongs at 6:30 a.m. In horse racing vernacular this is called a “blowout”, a short drill immediately on top of a race to have the horse nice and sharp for the contest. It also will allow Enriquez to get a feel for our filly.

If anyone wants to watch the workout, meet me at the paddock at 6:15 a.m. I know it’s early, but it will be the first time Distinguishable has actually had a timed workout at Emerald Downs. I’ll take some pictures and post them Friday along with an analysis of the race.

I apologize again for these last minute changes, but when the extra race was posted, Puhich said if we don’t run Sunday we might be waiting at least another two weeks for a race.

McDove also is ready to go. There is a possible race for her Friday, May 26, and she is likely to have a workout this weekend too.

Sunday’s weather forecast is an almost perfect sunny and 72 degrees, and in addition to nine Thoroughbred races there will be one camel race and one ostrich race. Those latter two events should be interesting.

Blue Ribbon Farm/Griffin Place-Saturday, May 13

Saturday morning we are visiting two of Washington’s top Thoroughbred breeding farms–Blue Ribbon Farm and Griffin Place–which are located side by side in Buckley. We will see stallions, foals and broodmares along with a behind-the-scenes look at Thoroughbred breeding farms.

Debbie Pabst  of Blue Ribbon Farm and Mary Lou Griffin of Griffin Place will be our hosts, and the Equine Art Commission will provide free coffee. Debbie and Mary Lou each will make a presentation and then answer questions.

It takes about 35-40 minutes to get to Blue Ribbon Farm from Emerald Downs and bring rain gear! It appears showers are possible and the ground might be a bit muddy. Directions below.

Here is the schedule:

Blue Ribbon Farm, 9:00-10:15 a.m.

Griffin Place, 10:30 -11:45 a.m.

Blue Ribbon Farm

Griffin Place

Blue Ribbon Farm address:  26719 120th Street E. Buckley, WA. 98321

From Emerald Downs take 167 south to highway 410 (Bonney Lake exit). Follow 410 east until you are about one mile from Buckley and turn right on Mundy-Loss Rd.  Continue through four-way intersection to traffic light at 120th St E. and turn right.  Follow 120th St. until you have gone over two speed bumps, then turn right and enter thru the blue gate (White River High School is on the other side of the street). You will be directed where to park.


Distinguishable came out of Sunday’s race well, and trainer Mike Puhich is mulling options for a next race. It’s fairly common to drop in class off a loss, so we could be looking at a $15,000 claimer for her next start. Distinguishable was pretty tired after the race, so it’s good to see that she is bouncing back well.

As for McDove, the latest condition book listing races for Friday, May 19 to Sunday, June 4 just came out, and I’ll see what Sharon and Larry Ross have in mind.

Distinguishable Finishes Third

Distinguishable relaxing Sunday morning

We have a new rival, her name is Jerre to Carrie, and we now owe her two races.

It just wasn’t Distinguishable’s day Sunday at Emerald Downs. She finished third as Jerre to Carrie led all the way for a 2 1/4 length victory in 1:09.99 for six furlongs. Parkers Delight finished second, 5 1/4 lengths ahead of Distinguishable, and Distinguishable edged Fly Far Away by a head for third place.

You might recall that Jerre to Carrie was the horse that beat McDove on April 22, meaning that Jerre to Carrie has now beaten both of our horses this season.

Sunday’s race was a $25,000 claiming race for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up which have never won two races (not including maiden races and claiming races for $22,500 or less). Distinguishable earned $2,250 for third, and in two starts for ERC she has a win and a third and $8,300 in earnings.

The bettors were right Sunday, as they made Jerre to Carrie the 8-to-5 favorite followed by Distinguishable and Parkers Delight both at 2-1. Jerre to Carrie took the lead and set fractions of :22.13 for the opening quarter-mile, :45.10 for the half, and :57.16 for five-eighths. Distinguishable was in second place most of the way, but weakened noticeably in the final furlong and barely held third place.

Afterward, jockey Javier Matias said Distinguishable simply got tired chasing Jerre to Carrie, and he already knew on the turn that it wouldn’t be our day. It probably didn’t help that Distinguishable hadn’t had an actual workout since her win on April 9, as she skipped a couple of scheduled workouts because of track conditions. Disitnguishable jogged or galloped almost every day, but it just isn’t the same as a timed workout.

Matias added that Distinguishable also threw her head a couple of times in the starting gate and said he might suggest some morning schooling in the gate.

The good news is Distinguishable seemed to walk back to the barn OK, so we should be able to regroup and look for another race before long.

Incidentally, none of the horses in the race were claimed Sunday. Jerre to Carrie, claimed for $15,000 in the race two weeks ago, earned a quick $8,250 for her new owners Sunday.

With Mike Puhich still en route from Kentucky, it proved difficult to meet with ERC members after the race. I dashed to the jockeys’ room for a brief chat with Matias, and then headed back to the winner’s circle area and did manage to find a few of you and relay what was said. Going forward I think the area directly back of the winner’s circle is a good area to gather for a quick rehash of the race. There’s plenty of room and the location is directly across from the giant TV screen.

McDove, meanwhile, breezed five furlongs in 1:03.60 Saturday morning and is about ready for another race. The new condition book begins Friday, May 19.

I’ll try and head back to the stable Monday and make sure everything is OK with Distinguishable, and I’ll also be out early for training Wednesday and Thursday.

Enjoy the sunshine!

Reminder: The Blue Ribbon Farm field trip is Saturday, May 13. Their address is 26719 120th Street E., Buckley, WA. 98321. I’ll confirm a time with Debbie Pabst and send detailed driving directions later in the week. We’ll probably start around 9 a.m.

Distinguishable Morning Line Favorite

There is a slight change in post time for Distinguishable’s race Sunday at Emerald Downs. Race 4 is now listed at 3:20 p.m., 16 minutes earlier than previous posted.

The weather forecast is calling for partly cloudy skies and 62 degrees with only a 10 percent chance of rain.

Distinguishable is the 9-to-5 morning line favorite, followed closely by Parkers Delight, 2-1, and Jerre to Carrie, 5-2.

Please email if you would like to be in the paddock drawing. With a small five-horse field we have room for 15 people, and remember ERC members who weren’t in the paddock either April 9 or April 22 have priority.

Here is the field with morning line odds: 1-Fly Far Away, Irving Orozco, 117 lbs, 6-1; 2-Our Silver Lining, Eliska Kubinova, 120, 6-1; 3-Jerre to Carrie, Rocco Bowen, 120, 5-2; 4-Parkers Delight, Jose Zunino, 123, 2-1; 5-Distinguishable, Javier Matias, 120, 9-5.

Sunday’s eight-race program begins at 2 p.m.

McDove’s workout Friday was postponed due to track condition.

No visitors at the Ross barn this weekend, please. Several horses shipped in from Golden Gate Fields and it’s a bit hectic there right now, and Sharon and Larry also have two horses running Sunday.

Distinguishable Race Sunday

In case you missed the email earlier today, Distinguishable is racing this weekend after all. She runs Sunday in Race 4 at 3:36 p.m.

Again I apologize for the inconvenience caused by these last minute changes. The extra race race that didn’t fill with only three horses Saturday was offered again on Sunday’s card, and this time drew five horses. Emerald Downs is going through a horse shortage and many of the races in the condition book are not filling, and an inordinate number of extra races are being used.

The good news is that Distinguishable is ready to roll. Sunday’s race is a $25,000 claiming race for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up which have never won two races (not including maiden races and claiming races for $22,500 or less). The purse is $15,000 (55 percent to the winner) and the distance 6 furlongs.

Here is the field: 1-Fly Far Away, Irving Orozco; 2-Our Silver Lining, Eliska Kubinova; 3-Jerre to Carrie, Rocco Bowen; 4-Parkers Delight, Jose Zunino; 5-Distinguishable, Javier Matias. I will add the morning line and an analysis of the race Friday.

My initial thoughts are that it’s great to have the outside post-position as it will allow Javier Matias some options early in the race.

Distinguishable beat Our Silver Lining in the April 9 race, so that’s a good sign. Jerre to Carrie, you might recall, defeated McDove in the April 22 race and was claimed by owner Richard Caswell and trainer Kay Cooper. Parkers Delight has seven career wins and will be up close to the pace early. Fly Far Away is the only horse without a start this season but her trainer, Blaine Wright, is red hot with eight wins in 15 starts this season.

McDove, meanwhile, is scheduled to have a workout Friday morning, probably around 7:10 a.m. But the weather in Auburn has been crazy this afternoon, with all kinds of lightning, thunder and heavy rainfall. Sharon Ross will probably have to take a good look at the racetrack before making a final decision on McDove’s workpout.

I spoke to Debbie Pabst of Blue Ribbon Farm and our field trip is a go for Saturday, May 13. I will finalize the time and send everybody directions to the farm early next week.