We offer no disclaimers, and please use the following information at your own risk! Nevertheless, your intrepid reporters stomped the grounds at Emerald Downs and compiled a list of selections for Saturday’s 139th Run for the Roses. Post time is 3:24 p.m. (PDT)
Defending Champion David Singer (Jockeys Agent, and the only one who selected I’ll Have Another last year): Orb “He’s won four in a row and he’s a closer. He always does just enough to win.”
Junior Coffey (Trainer): Palice Malice “He looks like wants to farther, and he’s had a lot of trouble in his last couple of race.”
Tim McCanna (Trainer): Golden Soul “I’ll stick with my man (Charles Fipke). I’ve got to pick the Perfect Soul Brothers.”
Robert Meeking (Trainer): Goldencents “I’ve got to pick Kevin Krigger. I hope he wins.”
Frank Lucarelli (Trainer): Orb “He never goes backward, he’s always moving forward. The farther they go the better he does.”
Jennifer Whitaker (Jockey): Goldencents “I want to see Kevin Krigger win it.”
Michael Pollowitz (Owner): Goldencents “I remember the (Santa Anita) Derby win being pretty impressive. I’d also like to see Kevin Krigger do well.”
Jeff Metz (Trainer): Orb “I’m rooting for Shug McGaughey.”
Anne Sanguinetti (Jockey): Java’s War “I like him for a stab in the dark. He’s pretty cool little horse.”
Dino Apostolou (Trainer): Verrazano “He looks like the best horse in the race.”
David Yoshino (Handicapper/Owner): Oxbow “He’s already won at Churchill and he’s got a good post.”
Janet Elseth (Graphics): Java’s War “I like him because he’s a closer.”
Chris McKinney (Corporate Sales): Mylute “It seems to be the year of the female jockey here at Emerald Downs, and it is about time a female took the Derby.”
Robert Sodergren (Assistant Trainer): Verrazano “He’s undefeated and steadily improving.”
Martin Pimentel (Trainer): Revolutionary “He’s been right there in his last three races.”
Kim Wales (Exercise Rider/Media Relations): Goldencents “He ran great in the (Santa Anita) Derby, and I want Kevin Krigger to win.”
David Alvarado (Jockeys Agent): Giant Finish “I’m a contrarian and a long shot player. Actually, my biggest race Saturday is Montelena in eighth race at Emerald Downs. I’m going to cheer her home for my good buddy Martin Pimentel.”
Maggie Hardison (Jockey): Mylute “As much as I want Kevin Krigger to win, I’ve got to go for my girl Rosie Napravnik.”
Denise Mitchell (Jockeys Agent): Goldencents “I’m rooting for Kevin Krigger the whole way.”
Doris Harwood (Trainer): Revolutionary “I like the sire War Pass plus he’s got a pretty cool name.”
Charles Essex (Trainer): Verrazano “He’s undefeated and he can go the distance.”
Jan Baze (Bookkeeper): Goldencents “I want Kevin Krigger to win.”
Sally and Joe Steiner (Quarter Chute Café): Goldencents
Rafeline McMullen (Operator/Receptionist) Goldencents “I’m rooting for Kevin Krigger, and he did well in the Santa Anita Derby.”
Keith Drebin (Jockeys Agent): Normandy Invasion “I’m going off the beaten path. He ran in a big race the other day and almost beat Verrazano with no pace in the race.”
Hugh Wales (Jockeys Agent): Orb, Verrazano, Goldencents “They look like the best horses.”
Blaine Wright (Trainer): Normandy Invasion
Vito Lucarelli (Jockeys Agent) Normandy Invasion, Overanalyze, Verrazano, Java’s War, Orb “Box those horses in a superfecta and you’ll hit it cold.”
Robert Geller (Track Announcer): Vyjack “I think he ran too close to the pace last time. I think he might be a good value considering he drew the outside post.”
Cy Labar (Television): Goldencents “I’m picking this horse without any research or any knowledge of the race. I’m just going for Kevin Krigger.”
Joe Withee (Publicity/TV Host): Goldencents “I think it really helps his chances with the lack of speed in the race.”
Nick Rousso (Daily Racing Form): Goldencents, Itsmyluckday, Orb: “In a Kentucky Derby that looks to unfold at a modest pace, two of the speed horses could slip away on the turn. I
Gary Dougherty (Handicapper): Overanalyze
Rob Rao (Morning Line Oddsmaker): Itsmyluckyday “I just feel like there’s not a lot of pace in the race. Even though Orb beat him last time, I think he’ll get a better trip this time.”
Victor “The Predictor” Cozzetti (Handicapper): Goldencents “I like him because I bet on him last time. He wasn’t himself the race before, and I knew he’d fire a big one in the (Santa Anita) Derby.
Sophia McKee (Director of Marketing): Orb and Normandy Invasion “I like Orb because he’s a monster and I like Normandy Invasion because Chad Brown ‘s the trainer.
Hillary Hutchison (Promotions): Orb “He’s the first horse I made money on this year.”
Jacob Pollowitz (Media Relations/TV Host): Black Onyx “He has improved in each race since joining trainer Kelly Breen and seems like a huge overlay at 50-1.”
Vince Bruun (Media Relations): Orb “I loved his stretch run in the Florida Derby, and having a Hall of Fame trainer helps his chances.”
SPECIAL 1 PM FIRST POST SATURDAY ON DERBY DAY
Emerald Downs has a special 1 p.m. first post on Saturday for Kentucky Derby day. The first Churchill Downs simulcast is 7:30 a.m., with the 139th Kentucky Derby as race 11 from Churchill at 3:24 p.m. (Pacific). NBC (KING 5) provides liver coverage of the Derby.
MONTELENA COMES OF THE BENCH FOR PIMENTEL
Trainer Martin Pimentel is confident that Montelena will do her thing in Saturday’s featured eighth race for older fillies and mares at six furlongs. More specifically, the 5-year-old Spinelessjellyfish mare has a history of flashing big speed off the bench; she debuted in 2011 with a gate-to-wire victory at odds of nearly 7-to-1, and ran perhaps the best race of her career while going gate-to-wire in her 2012 debut, paying $26.40 while beating 11-time winner Touch of Elegance.
Pimentel expects more of the same Saturday when Montelena and jockey Rocco Bowen break from gate five in the field of six.
“Champali Lace is the horse to beat, she has a lot of speed, but Montelena is a tough horse,” Pimentel said. “She’s training very well.”
When it comes to running well fresh, Champali Lace is about as good as it gets. The 6-year-old mare has won her first start the last three years at Emerald Downs, and is 7-1-0 in 12 career starts here.
Pimentel, however, says Bowen, might be the key to the race.
“I’m going to tell you something,” Pimentel said. “Rocco Bowen is very good, especially on horses that go to the front. When he makes the lead, he’s very hard to catch.”
The race also features Clemens Brook, a triple winner last year at Emerald Downs, and Lady Aragorn, winner of four races at the 2012 Portland Meadows meet. Jadedite is a wildcard. The 4-year-old Cahill Road filly won her only start on August 25, 2011, defeating Kit Cat Kitty, who came back to score an upset win in the 2011 Diane Kem Stakes.
The field from the rail out for Saturday’s eighth race: Clemens Brook, Juan Gutierrez, 119 lbs; Lady Aragorn, Leonel Camacho-Flores, 119; Debbie’s Striker, Javier Matias, 119; Champali Lace, Ronald Richard, 119; Montelena, Rocco Bowen, 119; Jadedite, David G. Lopez, 119.
Also Saturday: Olympic Lights, No. 1 among active horses with 14 career wins at Emerald Downs, makes his 2013 debut in Saturday’s seventh race. The 9-year-old Washington-bred gelding is 14-for-37 at EmD, and 2-1-1 in five starts for current connections KLG Racing and trainer Blaine Wright.
Race three is a $17,000 maiden special weight for 3-year-olds and up. Wasserman’s younger brother, 4-year-old Perfect Night, makes his second start after a promising third in April 20. In fact, three of the six entrants are sons of Cahill Road: Perfect Night and first-time starters Belt and Watch the Road.
CARVING FACES FOUR SHARP SOPHS IN EmD DEBUT
Several of the track’s top 3-year-old colts and geldings face off Sunday in a $21,000 allowance event that features four stakes winners, and a sharp debut winner from opening weekend.
The six-furlong event, which serves as a prep for the $50,000 Auburn Handicap on June 2, features a pair of California shippers for trainer Mike Puhich*Carving and Really Mr Greely. According to Puhich, Carving nearly was headed to Kentucky this week, as a string of late defections almost placed the Any Given Saturday colt into the body of the 139th Kentucky Derby. As of Thursday, however, Carving would have been No. 2 on the also-eligible list, and the connections agreed to stay in the Northwest.
“We could’ve gone down to Kentucky and prepared to run in The Derby,” Puhich said. “But it was such a long shot to make the race that we didn’t want to do all this extra work and not get in.”
Instead, Carving will stay at Emerald Downs to take on a local contingent that includes last year’s Top Juvenile Male Music of My Soul and double stakes winner Mike Man’s Gold. The dark bay colts dominated the juvenile division last year, combining to win every 2-year-old stakes race on the docket.
While Puhich considers Carving a major talent, he said 2012 Hollywood Prevue (G3) winner Really Mr Greely likely has an edge on his stable mate.
“Carving is going to be a fun horse to watch this summer,” Puhich said. “But I actually think Really Mr Greely is a better sprinter. I think Carving’s best distance is probably one mile.”
An interesting sub-plot Sunday is that all four stakes winners enter the race off layoffs, and that could bode well for Boyett, who started his career on April 20 with a dominating 3 ¾-length maiden allowance score. The Oregon-bred son of Sharp Humor certainly caught the attention of Puhich who said he wouldn’t be surprised if any of the five horses won Sunday’s race.
“I never take any horse for granted,” Puhich said. “This is such a good race that after I saddle my horses, I’m going to grab a beer and enjoy the show."
The field for Sunday’s ninth race: Boyett, Juan Gutierrez, 120 lbs.; Music of My Soul, David Lopez, 118; Really Mr Greely, Isaias Enriquez, 118; Carving, Javier Matias, 118; Mike Man’s Gold, Rocco Bowen, 118.
NOTES: Weekly honors: Trainer-Valerie Gibson (first career training win): Jockey-Rocco Bowen (13-5-4-1);Owner-John Chase & TigeToo Racing Stable; Groom-Ismael Gutierrez (Jeff Metz); Washington-bred: Tough Road Ahead (breeder David Israel)*Tough Road Ahead earned a 78 Beyer for Friday’s two-length victory in 1:02.13 for 5-½ furlongs*Turf Paradise ends its 2012-13 meeting Tuesday with its traditional closing day feature*the $35,000 Hasta La Vista Handicap at one and seven-eighths miles on turf. Why Not Be Perfect, voted the meet’s top turf horse at Turf Paradise, is scheduled for his second local work this weekend, and trainer Jeff Metz said the 6-year-old gelding’s first EmD race will be the $50,000 Budweiser Handicap on Sunday, June 16. Its also possible Why Not Be Perfect would run in a one-mile allowance race, should one be offered in the next couple of weeks*The Metz-trained Just Meteor is the very early leader for 2013 Top Claimer, as the 5-year-old Forestry gelding is the first two-time winner at the meet. Just Meteor won by 1-¾ lengths on April 19, earning a 73 Beyer, and again by 1-¾ lengths on April 28, earning a 74 Beyer*Jockey Anne Sanguinetti, tied for fourth with five wins, has won on nine of her last 27 mounts at EmD dating to closing week last year*Apprentice Maggie Hardison, previously represented by Denise Mitchell, is now booking her own mounts*Sunday’s first race, a $17,000 maiden special weight for fillies and mares at 5-½ furlongs, features two well-bred first-time starters: Mia Sorella (Harbor the Gold-Cordial Russian) is a half-sister to 2012 Seattle Slew Handicap winner Italian Boy, and Hetty (Cahill Road-Infernal McGoon) is out of the track’s Top Older Filly or Mare of 2003 and a half to double stakes winner Talk to My Lawyer*Disruption, impressive allowance winner last month at Golden Gate, is expected to join the local 3-year-old colts and geldings division in time for the $50,000 Auburn Handicap on Sunday, June 2. On the heels of Zayda in 2011 and D’honorable One in 2012, trainer Blaine Wright and owner Heidi Nelson are counting on Disruption to give them a third straight sophomore stakes winner at Emerald Downs*5-year-old gelding Hillbilly Cadillac is 3-2-1 in six starts with Javier Matias riding, including a 2 ¾-length triumph in his 2013 debut Sunday*The race distances begin to stretch out this week. Friday’s finale for $2,500 claiming fillies and mares is the meet’s first race at 6 ½-furlongs, and Saturday’s second race for $3,500 claiming at one mile is the first two-turn event of the season*Fastest times of the meet: 5F*Seattle Game, :56.80, April 27; 5 ½F*Exclusive Diva, 1:01.56, April 21; 6F*Polish Dollar, 1:08.09, April 20.