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Defending champ Noosa Beach heads nominees to $50,000 Budweiser Handicap | Emerald Downs
Two-time defending champion Noosa Beach attempts to make amends for a rare defeat as the road to the Longacres Mile continues with the Budweiser Handicap on Sunday, June 17.
Ten older handicap runners have been nominated to the Budweiser, the featured attraction on a Father’s Day program that includes free Emerald Downs’ baseball caps to the first 7,500 paid admissions.
Run at one mile, the Budweiser Handicap has been a precursor for success in the Longacres Mile as both Assessment in 2009 and Noosa Beach in 2010 scored victories in the Bud before their triumphs in the Longacres Mile. Last year, Noosa Beach carried a record 125 lbs while becoming the first repeat winner in the Budweiser. Noosa Beach would finish runner-up to Awesome Gem in the 2011 Longacres Mile, but still earned a second straight Horse of the Meeting honor.
A 6-year-old Washington-bred gelding by Harbor the Gold, Noosa Beach is the track’s all-time leader in stakes wins with 11, but comes off a rare defeat in the Governor’s Handicap on May 20, finishing fourth as Winning Machine prevailed by 1-¾ lengths in a stakes record 1:13.97 for 6-½ furlongs. Noosa Beach has bounced back with two good workouts for trainer Doris Harwood, and also has a 4-1-1 record in seven career starts at one mile.
Winning Machine has won four stakes overall and three at Emerald Downs, where he was named Top 3-Year-Old in 2009. His Governor’s victory ended a string of nine straight match-ups in which he had finished behind Noosa Beach.
Jebrica finished a fast-closing second in the Governor’s and should enjoy the additional 1-½ furlongs in the Budweiser. The Jim Penney-trained 4-year-old won two stakes last year*the 1-1/8 mile Emerald Derby at Emerald Downs and the 1-3/8-mile British Columbia Premiers Handicap vs. older horses at Hastings Racecourse.
Hollywood Harbor, third in the Governor’s, set a world record of 1:00.87 for 5-½ furlongs in an allowance race April 22. The 5-year-old Harbor the Gold gelding has routed only once before, winning the 2009 WTBOA Lads Stakes en route to honors as Top Juvenile.
3-Year-Olds & Up-17th Running
Horse Owner Trainer
Aaron the Baron (5-WA) Elttaes Stable Doris Harwood
Commander (4-KY) North American Tbred Racing Co. Troy Taylor
Couldabenthewhisky (4-WA) Friendship, Fredrickson & McDonald Bonnie Jenne
Hollywood Harbor (5-WA) One Horse Will Do & Chris Stenslie Chris Stenslie
Jebrica (4-WA) R & R Warren LLC Jim Penney
Noosa Beach (6-WA) Jeff Harwood Doris Harwood
Rainier Ice (4-KY) Northwest Farms & C&M Racing Tom Wenzel
Slim Pickins (4-KY) Ken Miles Chris Stenslie
Winning Machine (6-KY) Fleur De Lis Stables Frank Lucarelli
Zayda (4-KY) Nelson Family Racing Blaine Wright