Emerald Downs news and notes | Horse Racing

It couldn't have gone much better last season for Hall of Fame trainer Jim Penney and his daughter and assistant Kay Cooper.
The pair conditioned three divisional champions and matched their total output from the previous three years by winning six Emerald Downs' stakes races. Penney finished the season tied for first with trainer Doris Harwood in stakes wins and led all trainers with $562,901 in purse earnings*$263,555 from stakes races. Not only that, but both Top 3-Year-Old Jebrica and Top 3-Year-Old Filly Class Included found success in Canada, where they each won a stakes race at Hastings Park. Penney said he knows last year will be hard to top, but that his barn has the weapons to pull it off.

"I think it's quite possible that we can top what we did last year," Penney said. "Especially since all of our stakes winners have returned."

That's a scary report for the competition, which hopes for a slice of the $1.5 million-plus in stakes money to be doled out this season. We're still more than a month away from the Hastings Handicap, but the Penney barn has already placed itself as the early favorite for the most stakes victories in 2012. Besides Jebrica and Class Included, the returning all-stars include 2011 Top Juvenile Male Chu and I, last year's Belle Roberts winner Sweet Nellie Brown, Top 3-Year-Old Filly of 2009 Sis's Sis and 3-year-old filly prospect Lady Hokulea. Furthermore, Penney said he's impressed with what he's seen from his 2-year-olds thus far.

"This might be the best crop of 2-year-olds that I've ever had," Penney said. "You never know, but they appear to have plenty of potential."

With support from owners like Michael and Amy Feuerborn, it appears Penney might have every stakes division covered. Recently, the Feuerborns, owners and breeders of Class Included and Chu and I, have been an absolute force. In 2011, the Maple Valley owners finished first in earnings with $236,931 and stakes wins with four.

NOTES: Russell Baze has been notified that he will be inducted into the State of Washington Sports Hall of Fame, the ceremony to take place at Emerald Downs on Longacres Mile day, Sunday, Aug. 19. A 2004 inductee in the Washington Racing Hall of Fame, Baze is No. 1 all-time with 11,543 wins*Once again, Emerald Downs will give away 50 flat screen TVs on opening day, but for the second straight year, the track will also give away a 51st flat screen TV as part of it's Facebook promotion. Fans can like the Emerald Downs' Facebook page to be eligible for the 51st TV*Maryellen Silva, who worked for trainer Mark Glatt in Southern California last season, returned to Emerald Downs last month to work for trainer Jim Penney*Hudson Landing, whom trainer Blaine Wright said could run in the $200,000 Longacres Mile (GIII) on Aug. 19, will face eight others Saturday in an allowance optional claimer for $62,500 at Golden Gate Fields. Northern Indy, third in last year's Seattle Slew Handicap, is also in the field* 2011 Leading Jockey Leslie Mawing said Thursday that he would ship north on Sunday in advance of Friday's 17th season opener. The South African native ranks ninth all-time with 398 wins at Emerald Downs*Vic-Tory Stables' He's All Heart, winner of last year's Muckleshoot Tribal Classic, breezed five furlongs on Friday in 1:01.60. Victor "The Predictor" Cozzetti celebrates his birthday Monday and 2012 will be Cozzetti's 41st season in racing*Charles Essex trainee Who's Your Next Ex, a double-race winner at Emerald Downs at age 2, 3 and 5-years-old, notched his first 2012 breeze on Friday, going three furlongs in 37 flat*12-year-old Colonel Courtney, the oldest-active racehorse on the grounds, shipped into Emerald Downs Wednesday night. Trained by G.D. Khalsa and owned by Michael Pollowitz, Colonel Courtney has already won two races this year and last December, he captured the 2011 $26,900 Art McFadden Memorial Sprint Claiming Series at Portland Meadows. Entries for Emerald Downs' opening night will be taken Tuesday, April 10 and entries for the first weekend will be taken Wednesday, April 11*New in 2012, emeralddowns.comwill feature photos of all photo finishes and stewards' rulings.

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