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Noosa Beach looks for win in $50,000 Budweiser Handicap
A Noosa Beach losing streak is big news at Emerald Downs. In fact, when Noosa Beach finished fourth in the Governor’s Handicap last month, it marked only the second time in the gelding’s brilliant 22-race career where he lost more than one consecutive race.
So perhaps Noosa Beach will have something to prove Sunday when he carries high weight of 121 lbs in the $50,000 Budweiser Handicap for 3-year-olds and up at one mile. The Budweiser*which Noosa Beach dominated the last two years by 9-¼ and 3-½ lengths*is the next-to-last stop for older horses en route to the $200,000 Longacres Mile (G3) on Sunday, Aug. 19.
Coming off his fourth to Winning Machine in the Governor’s Handicap, Noosa Beach hopes to exact revenge against his former stablemate, who posted a $25.60 surprise with a front-running 1-¾ length victory in a stakes record 1:13.97 for 6-½ furlongs.
Noosa Beach and Winning Machine have faced each other 16 times, with Noosa Beach leading the head-to-head battle by a whopping 13-to-three margin. In 2012, however, Winning Machine has the upper hand, and Governor’s runner-up Jebrica, and up-and-comers Rainier Ice and Aaron the Baron, all appear ready to move to the next level.
Trainer Doris Harwood, however, remains unfazed. She has conditioned the superstar to 14 wins in 22 career starts, including a record 11 stakes wins at Emerald Downs, and remains confident in her horse.
“The plan all along was not to push him too much at the beginning of the season,” she said. “We want him to peak more toward the end of the season, when the purses get bigger.”
As for Sunday, Harwood expects Noosa Beach to improve off his last effort.
“I’ve been more aggressive with his training since his last race,” she said. “I’m also looking forward to him running a mile, which I think he prefers.”
Jebrica, second in the Governor’s, should also appreciate the added distance. Voted Top 3-Year-Old Male last year, Jebrica has done his best running around two turns, including wins in the 1-1/8-mile Emerald Derby in August and the 1-3/8-mile BC Premier Handicap last October at Hastings Racecourse.
· The Budweiser Handicap is Race 8 on a 10-race card. Post time is approx.
· KJR Sports Radio 950 AM and 102.9 FM will broadcast live from 5 to 6 p.m. with Mike Gastineau anchoring coverage that features Robert Geller’s live call of the race.
· Free Emerald Downs’ baseball caps will be given to the first 7,500 paid admissions Sunday.
The field for the 17th running of the Budweiser Handicap: 1, Rainier Ice, Gallyn Mitchell, 114 lbs.; 2, Slim Pickins, Juan Gutierrez, 112; 3, Noosa Beach, Leslie Mawing, 121; 4, Aaron the Baron, Leonel Camacho-Flores, 114; 5, Jebrica, William Antongeorgi, 118; 6, Winning Machine, Javier Matias, 119.
FIRST 2-YEAR-OLD RACES THIS WEEKEND
While older horses continue their march to the Longacres Mile, the road to the Gottstein Futurity also begins this week, as Director of Racing Bret Anderson has carded the first two races of the meeting for juveniles.
In Friday’s opener, six fillies race 4-½ furlongs for a $12,500 claiming price and an $8,500 purse. In Saturday’s fourth event, nine colts and geldings will race 4-½ furlongs under maiden special weight conditions for a $17,000 purse.
In the latter race, four of the runners*Harbor Star, Eagle Harbor, Off Harbor Account and Master’s Bluff*are eligible for a bonus, as the WTBOA Sales Program will pay $1,000 to the owner of any 2-year-old sales graduate who breaks its maiden in a maiden special weight, allowance or stakes races at Emerald Downs.
The $65,000 Gottstein Futurity at one mile for 2-year-olds is closing day, Sunday, Sept. 23, and coincidentally, one of only two fillies to win the Gottstein at Emerald Downs is represented in Saturday’s maiden special weight. Finallygotabentley, a dark bay or brown colt by Bernardini, is out of 2007 Gottstein champion Smarty Deb, who won four-of-five starts including a three-length victory over Gallon and seven other colts in the 2007 Gottstein Futurity.
Finallygotabentley is among four Kentucky-breds, while Harbor the Gold sired three of five Washington-breds entered.
In all, there are nine stakes for 2-year-olds beginning July 1 with the $25,000 Son of Briartic Stakes for fillies, and the $25,000 Slewdledo Stakes for colts and geldings.
NOTES: Week nine honors: Jockey-Javier Matias (14-5-2-2); Trainer-Kim Wales (2-1-1-0, first career victory); Owner-Sharon Radke (Polish Dollar); Groom-Delfino Plazola (H.R. Pat Mullens); Washington Bred-E Z Kitty (breeder Jerry Woods & Peggy Woods)*Clemens Brook and Akina became the meet’s fourth and fifth three-time winners with victories last weekend. Both are 5-year-old mares and both were claimed*Clemens Brook going to trainer Bill Tollett, Akina reclaimed by Charles Essex*Polish Dollar earned a giant 92 Beyer for his 5-¼-length victory in Saturday’s feature race, the third highest Beyer this season at Emerald Downs. Winning Machine’s 94 in the Governor’s Handicap and Hollywood Harbor’s 93 on April 22, are the only bigger figures through 28 days of the 81-day meeting*E Z Kitty was given an 80 Beyer for her 11-to-1 surprise in the Washington State Legislators Stakes, which was actually one point lower than her allowance/optional claiming victory in her previous start May 20*Marvin’s Magic is doing things in two this season at Emerald Downs. The 4-year-old Aptitude gelding has won his last two races by large margins as the odds-on favorite in fast time while being claimed. In other words, he’s won by 9-¾ and eight lengths, as the 4-to-5 and 3-to-5 favorite, with winning times of 1:08.37 and 1:08.48, Beyers of 75 and 75, and was claimed by Larry Ross and Howard Belvoir, both for $7,500*William Antongeorgi will be the featured guest from 1:05-1:20 p.m. Sunday on Paddock Preview, as host Jacob Pollowitz discusses the jockey’s upcoming mount on Jebrica in the $50,000 Budweiser Handicap*Trainer Chris Stenslie elected not to run Hollywood Harbor in the Budweiser, instead pointing her world-record holder toward an allowance event next weekend. That allowance race could also mark the 2012 debut of Zayda, another Bud nominee whose connections elected to wait for a softer spot *Washington Racing Hall of Fame Jockey Vicky Baze is now riding at Suffolk Downs near Boston, where she has won on three of her first 16 mounts*Defending Emerald Downs riding champion Leslie Mawing begins the week with 1,958 career victories, including 422 at Emerald Downs*Golden Gate Fields concludes its 101-day winter/spring meeting Sunday with a 10-race program. The Northern California fair circuit begins June 21 at Pleasanton*And finally, Grants Pass opens its nine-day meeting Saturday.