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Wenzel trainees sweep $50,000 Seattle Handicap | Emerald Downs
A sea of black and red silks stormed through the lane Sunday at Emerald Downs, as trainer Tom Wenzel and Northwest Farms dominated the $50,000 Seattle Handicap for 3-year-old fillies.
Stopshoppingdebbie, Goin to the Window and Blueberry Smoothie*all trained by Wenzel and bred and co-owned by Northwest Farms*finished first, second and third in the season’s first stakes event for sophomore fillies.
Stopshoppingdebbie, ridden by Rocco Bowen at 116 lbs, re-rallied for a 1 ½-length victory in a stakes record-tying 1:14.41 for 6 ½ furlongs. The winner paid $5, $3.40 and $2.80.
Goin to the Window, ridden by Juan Gutierrez at 120 lbs, rallied to the lead inside into the turn, but was overtaken late, and paid $3.60 and $3.20. It was the first career defeat for the track’s Top 2-Year-Old Filly of 2012.
Blueberry Smoothie, with Javier Matias aboard at 119 lbs, rallied from sixth to finish third and returned $3.40 for show. Sunset Time, Locket, Innocent Love, Lasting Rose and Song of Seattle rounded out the order of finish.
Stopshoppingdebbie earned $27,500, Goin to the Window $10,000 and Blueberry Smoothie $7,500, meaning Northwest Farms took home $45,000*or 90 percent*of the $50,000 purse.
Northwest Farms*nom de course for Jerre Paxton of Seattle*became the first owner to finish first, second and third in a stakes at Emerald Downs, while Wenzel became the first trainer to saddle the top three finishers in a stakes worth over $25,000 at Emerald Downs
A Kentucky-bred by Curlin-Taste the Passion, Stopshoppingdebbie is unbeaten in two starts with earnings of $37,318. Her previous race was a seven-length victory last August in a maiden special weight at 5 ½ furlongs.
Wenzel, a bit relieved after saddling the top three favorites, was pleased with the outcome and looks forward to the distance races ahead.
“I take some humility with the results today because of whom each horse is bred by, but you do have to get them ready for the race, “ he said. “I am pretty happy with today’s result.”
As for which horse is best, Wenzel said only time will tell, but added Sunday’s winner might have the most natural speed of the three fillies.
“We thought that Stopshoppingdebbie was possibly the quickest,” Wenzel said. “She’s the kind of horse in the morning that is very intelligent. You can work her a half-mile in 52 seconds or 46. She’s pretty versatile.
“I wanted Juan (Gutierrez) and Javier (Matias) to sit off the pace with their horses, but not be too far back. “Unfortunately, Juan said that (Goin to the Window) was dragging him, and he had to go for it. I was hoping Goin to the Window wouldn’t engage until the quarter-pole, so maybe she would have more for the finish. I was still happy with her race. I even thought Blueberry Smoothie ran on well late.”
Bowen has had good success riding for Wenzel, most notably aboard 2012 WTBOA Horse of the Year Makors Finale. So naturally the jockey was thrilled when Wenzel named him to ride Stopshoppingdebbie.
“I was pretty pumped about a week ago when Tom (Wenzel) gave me the call on the horse,” Bowen said. “The plan was to play it by the break. With the break, you can win or lose a race.”
Stopshoppingdebbie broke alertly and rocketed through an opening quarter-mile in :21.92. Going into the turn, however, the complexion of the race changed as Goin to the Window rushed to the lead inside of Stopshoppingdebbie, running the half in a sizzling :44.29.
“When I saw my stable mate come inside of me, I just tried to ride a smart race,” Bowen said. “I really didn’t want to put pressure on my stable mate and set it up for someone else. I just tried to get my filly to relax and hope that she had the kick at the end, and she sure did.”
Stopshoppingdebbie regained the lead past mid-stretch and kicked clear late, chased home by Goin to the Window and Blueberry Smoothie.
Gutierrez said Goin to the Window was off a step slow, and then reluctant to rate off the pace.
“I was happy with her race today,” he said. “She got a little too excited on the backside. I wanted her to relax, but I wasn’t going to fight her. At the quarter-pole, I still thought I had the horse. She still had a lot left, but the other horse is a nice filly too. I think my filly will be pretty tough going long, but we’ll see.”
NOTES: Gutierrez recorded his second consecutive three-win day and leads Isaias Enriquez 31-22 in the jockeys’ standings. Gutierrez has ridden at least one winner on 17 of 18 cards this season*Enriquez had ridden a winner 16 straights days before blanking on eight mounts Sunday*Bowen rode two winners and is fourth overall with 14 wins*Gutierrez and Blaine Wright teamed for wins with Giavonya ($6.40) in race three and Seventyprcentcocoa ($5.40) in race seven, and are a combined 15-for-28 the last two seasons at Emerald Downs*20-to-1 long shot Pete’s Glory Girl finished first in race five, but was disqualified and placed fourth for interfering with fourth-place finisher Courtney’s Prize in deep stretch. If the result had stood, it would have been the first Emerald Downs victory since 2007 for jockey Nathan Chaves. Wild Chica ($37.20)
was promoted from second to first place*Live racing continues Monday with first post 2:15 p.m. on Memorial Day.