Hastings Handicap kicks of Emerald Downs stakes series on Mother's Day | Horse Racing

Special Holiday hopes to represent Mother’s Day well on Sunday, when the 4-year-old filly makes her Emerald Downs debut in the $50,000 Hastings Handicap for older fillies and mares going six furlongs.

The Hastings, the ninth race on a 10-race card, is the first of 30 stakes races at the meet, and the first leg in the older filly and mare division that concludes with the $65,000 Emerald Distaff on
August 19.

Special Holiday, recently purchased by David Taylor from the Bud Klokstad dispersal sale, will make her first start since finishing fifth in the California State Fair Sprint Handicap. Incidentally, Special Holiday’s new trainer Frank Lucarelli conditioned that race’s winner Point of Reference, who retired to the breeding shed after being honored as the 2011 Champion Older Filly or Mare. In fact, Lucarelli said he’s quite familiar with Special Holiday, who is 3-for-6 in her career including a 2-½-length win last June in the Pink Ribbon Stakes at Stockton on the Northern California Fair Circuit.

“I watched her run against Point of Reference a couple times last year,” Lucarelli said. “I always thought she was a nice horse, especially since she ran against older horses as a 3-year-old. I hope she runs well this weekend.”
With three other stakes-winning fillies entered, Special Holiday will need her best race to contend for first-place honors. Class Included, the track’s Top 3-Year-Old Filly, will likely be favored and has yet to finish worse than second in 10 career starts. The Kentucky-bred by Include has three stakes wins on her resume and comes off a one-length allowance race score on April 21 at Emerald Downs.

The field for the 17th Running of the Hastings Handicap: Class Included, Juan Gutierrez, 121 lbs.; Carrabelle Harbor, Rocco Bowen, 117; The Gang and I, William Antongeorgi, 115; Elusive Noise, Gallyn Mitchell, 118; Special Holiday, Leslie Mawing, 117.


Trainer Doris Harwood announced Thursday that jockey Leslie Mawing will ride Noosa Beach in the $50,000 Governor’s Handicap for older horses on Sunday, May 20. The 6-½-furlong event is the first stop en route to the $200,000 Longacres Mile (GIII) on August 19.

Mawing, who captured last year’s riding crown with 129 victories, rode Noosa Beach for the first time on Wednesday, when the South African native guided the two-time Horse of the Year through a five furlong workout in :57.40 (1/5). Harwood, who conditions Noosa Beach for husband Jeff Harwood, said she was very happy with how her 6-year-old gelding trained.

“He worked awesome, that’s all I need to say,” she said. “He came back from the workout wild, and wild is a good thing.”

Mawing, runner-up to Noosa Beach in three stakes races last season aboard Winning Machine, had a similar report on Noosa Beach’s work.

“He’s fast,” Mawing said. “Probably one of the fastest horses I’ve ever been on.”

Last season, Gallyn Mitchell, the track’s all-time leading rider with 1,325 wins, rode Noosa Beach to four stakes wins and a second-place effort to Awesome in Gem in The Mile. The year before, five-time riding champ Ricky Frazier piloted the superstar Washington-bred to a single-season record five stakes wins, including a 1-½-length victory in the 75th Mile.


Emerald Downs’ horsemen flooded the entry box on Wednesday to put together a fabulous holiday weekend card*assembled by Director of Racing Bret Anderson. Emerald Downs will host 19 races total, with nine races Saturday followed by 10 on Sunday.

“Trainers have done a great job this week entering horses.” Anderson said. “Now that horses are getting more fit, more horses are starting to enter.”

Handicappers, especially exotic bettors, will have plenty to look forward to with the late $0.50 Pick-4s starting with 10-horse fields.
Anderson said he expects field size to get even better as Turf Paradise trainers Dave Bennett, Joe Toye and Elwin Gibson arrive at Emerald Downs within the next week with more than 60 horses combined. And starting May 25, two-year-old races will be written each race-day in the condition book.

NOTES: Week 4 honors: Jockey-Joe Crispin (13-4-2-4); Trainer-Blaine Wright (5-2-2-0); Owner-Dean Essex (et al Judy Anne Essex, Michael Pattison); Groom-Mario Camacho (Dave Bennett)*Leonel Camacho-Flores leads the jockey colony both in wins, 12, and ROI, an amazing $4.76. Camacho-Flores has ridden the two biggest-priced winners at the meet*Cresent McGain ($52.60) and Humongous ($46.20)*Sunday feature race winner Rainier Missile turned in the week’s top Beyer with an 85 for his half-length victory in 1:08.62 for six furlongs. It was a career-high for the 4-year-old gelding trained by Dave Bennett for the Rainier Missile Syndicate*Other notables were the 4-year-old Cahill Road gelding Amazing Legacy, who earned a 76 for his maiden-breaker Saturday in 1:09.31 for six furlongs, and the 3-year-old Game Plan gelding Run Leyton Run earned a 66 in his debut Saturday, a solid figure for the maiden $12,500 claiming level*Let’s hear it for the octogenarians! Cresent McGain is trained by 85-year-old H.R. Pat Mullens and Humongous is conditioned by 88-year-old Don Munger, who are a combined 9-for-28 at the meeting*Winning Machine breezed five furlongs in a bullet :59-2/5 Monday in a tune-up for the $50,000 Governor’s Handicap on Sunday, May 20*2011 Angie C Stakes winner Exclusive Diva worked four furlongs in :48-1/5 Monday for trainer Tom Wenzel. The 3-year-old Bernardini filly could make her season debut in the $50,000 Seattle Handicap on Sunday, May 27*There have been six double winners thru 12 days: Cat On Base, Perfect Pie, River of Aces, War Wizard, Akina and Allison Ridge*With two more wins, Dan Markle will become the ninth trainer to win 300 races at Emerald Downs*Howard Belvoir remains atop the trainers’ standings with nine wins, and he also celebrates his 68th birthday this Sunday*Majesticality, 40-to-1 winner of the 2011 B.C. Derby (G3C), makes his first start as a 4-year-old Saturday in a $19,300 allowance race at Hastings Racecourse.

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