Chicks Special Angel in $60,000 Bank of America Emerald Downs Championship Challenge | Emerald Downs

A Royal Dervish prevails in the 2012 running of the Bank of America Emerald Downs Championship Challenge at 440 yards. Emerald Downs presents the third running of the prestigious Quarter Horse race on Sunday, September 1.  - Photo Courtesy Reed Palmer/Emerald Downs
A Royal Dervish prevails in the 2012 running of the Bank of America Emerald Downs Championship Challenge at 440 yards. Emerald Downs presents the third running of the prestigious Quarter Horse race on Sunday, September 1.
— image credit: Photo Courtesy Reed Palmer/Emerald Downs

Quarter Horse races are known for their close, exciting finishes.

Except when Chicks Special Angel is running, then the race is a blowout. The 5-year-old Oregon-bred carries a 10-race winning streak into Sunday’s $60,000 Bank of America Emerald Downs Championship Challenge at 440 yards. She’s won her last five races by 3, 1, 1 ¼, 2 and 2 lengths.

In the trials two weeks ago, Chicks Special Angel set a 440-yard track record of :21.728 and easily topped the list of 10 qualifiers for Sunday’s final.

“I’m looking forward to going up to Emerald Downs for the race,” trainer Juan Sanguino said from his home base in Hermiston, Ore. “I feel pretty confident we can get the win, but it’s still a horse race.”

Chicks Special Angel hasn’t lost since March 22, 2011 when she finished third in a $3,600 allowance race at Portland Meadows. Since then she’s reeled off six wins at PM, one each at Prineville and Grants Pass and most recently, two easy wins at Emerald Downs.

Sanguino, 35, has won four Quarter Horse training titles at Portland, and already has established a single-season Emerald Downs record by winning seven of the 17 QH races run this season. He’s also a combined 4-0-0 in five starts with Debbie Hoonan, who rides Chicks Special Angel again on Sunday.

Sanguino has had Chicks Special Angel for her last six wins, claiming the then 4-year-old for $5,000 for his brother Miguel in January 2012. Although it’s been a great claim, a victory Sunday would be worth $30,000 to the Sanguinos and more than double the mare’s current career earnings of $23,335.

“I was looking for a horse to claim for my brother and it turned out to be a nice choice,” Sanguino said. “At the moment, she’s the best horse I’ve ever trained.”

In Quarter Horse racing, 440 yards is the classic distance, and the extra yardage can take a toll on frontrunners. If anything, though, Chicks Special Angel has been getting stronger as the races get longer, rolling to powerful victories here at 400 and 440 yards. But as Sanguino said, it’s a horse race, and field of 10 includes several waiting in the wings should Chicks Special Angel falter.


Second fastest qualifier at 22.078, Vodka With Ice takes his third crack at the Championship Challenge. The 8-year-old Texas-bred gelding finished second beaten a head at 17-to-1 in 2011 and was third beaten a half-length at 4-to-1 in 2012.

Currently trained by Pablo Rabasa Jr.*his eighth different trainer*Vodka With Ice is 10-8-4 in 45 starts, and he leads the field in earnings with $142,964.

The same three horses have finished in the top three spots in both previous runnings. In 2011, Devon Dat Cash finished first, Vodka With Ice finished second and A Royal Dervish was third. Last year, A Royal Dervish was first, Devon Dat Cash was second and Vodka With Ice was third.

Qualifying times: Chicks Special Angel, 21.728; Vodka With Ice, 22.078; Snowbound Superchick, 22.080; J Mancuso, 22.118; First Specialist 22.155; Cm Got Overserved, 22.345; Eyez On Brimmer, 22.378; Fast Intention, 22.400, Catlow Rim, 22.414; Our Famous Secret, 22.453.
· The Bank of America Emerald Championship Challenge is Race 8 at 5:39 p.m.
· The $13,500 Zoetis Emerald Starter Challenge is Race 9 at 6:09 p.m. At 350 yards, the Zoetis is for Quarter Horses 3-year-olds and up who have started for a claiming price of $5,000 or less in the last 12 months. Whos On First Aj, a 9-year-old Separtist gelding, enters the race having won six-of-seven starts in 2012-13.

The field from the rail out for the 3rd running of the Bank of America Emerald Downs Championship Challenge: Cm Got Overserved, Michael Iammarino, 124 lbs; First Specialist, Reuben Lozano, 124; Catlow Rim, Jose Zunino, 124; One Famous Secret, Joe Crispin, 122; Eyez On Brimmer, Troy Stillwell, 124; J Mancuso, Luis Gonzalez, 124; Fast Intention, Leonel Camacho-Flores, 124; Snowbound Superchick, Ruben Camacho, 124; Chicks Special Angel, Debbie Hoonan, 124; Vodka With Ice, Cesar DeAlba, 124.


According to trainer Howard Belvoir, Wasserman is doing well after sustaining a career-ending bowed tendon in a race last Sunday.

“It looks like it’s getting better each day,” Belvoir said. “He’s standing square, sleeping well and doesn’t seem to mind putting pressure on it.

“He’ll have to stay in the stall for another week and then we’ll go from there.”

Wasserman, who was coming off a half-length win on August 9, was pulled up during Sunday’s seventh race, when regular rider Jennifer Whitaker sensed something amiss with the 11-year-old gelding. Afterward, Belvoir said Wasserman had suffered a bowed tendon in his left foreleg and was retired from racing.

Whitaker has been aboard Wasserman some 2,000 times*including jogs, gallops and works*and rode the big gelding in 68 of his 83 races.

“He’s had about 500 peppermints,” she said. “He’s starting to get a little cranky though. This is the longest time he’s been away from the track. He wants to be out there.”

It’s hard to blame him, considering he’s won 13 races at Emerald Downs including six stakes races including the 2008 Longacres Mile (G3). Wasserman retired with a 13-15-14 mark in 83 career starts and earnings of $599,09. He ranks No. 6 on the state’s all-time earnings list.

At Emerald Downs, Wasserman was 13-13-13 in 72 starts with earnings of $575,024. He also ranks No. 1 with 37 stakes starts and 18 stakes placings, and won at least one race in eight different seasons.


Beginning Saturday, August 31, and continuing through the end of the meeting, Emerald Downs will adjust its programming schedule for both Emerald Downs Live and The Pressbox Podcast.

Broadcast live on Comcast Sports Net (CSN), “Emerald Downs Live,” previously seen 2 to 6 p.m. Saturdays will now air 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday, though closing day September 29. The four-hour special includes horsemen interviews, handicapping analysis from hosts Joe Withee and Jacob Pollowitz, as well as live race calls from Track Announcer Robert Geller.

The Press Box Podcast, broadcast live from the media office atop the grandstand, previously aired 30 minutes before Sunday stakes events, will air 5 p.m. Saturdays through September. The show will be prerecorded and available for download at:

NOTES: Weekly honors 19: Trainer-Junior Coffey (3-2-0-0); Jockey-Ronald Richard (9-2-1-2); Owner-Homestretch Farms & Ellen Follett; Groom-Mauro Avila (Dennis Snowden stable); Washington-bred: Da Burn (Dunn Bar Ranch breeder)*The Coffey-trained Cielator earned an 83 Beyer for her 1:08.57 clocking Sunday and appears set to defend her title in the $50,000 Comcast SportsNet for Washington-bred fillies and mares on Sunday, September 8. The CSN could feature a showdown between Cielator and Emerald Distaff winner E Z Kitty, coming off a career-best 90 Beyer in the Distaff*Chu and You got a 57 Beyer for her 1:17 clocking in the 6 ½-furlong Barbara Shinpoch, and co-owner Mike Feuerborn is weighing options for his undefeated You and I filly. The first option is the $50,000 Northwest Farms Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at six furlongs on Washington Cup Day, Sunday, September 8, and other possibilities are races against males in the $75,000 Gottstein Futurity at 1 1/16 miles and the $50,000 NWSS Cahill Road Stakes at six furlongs. The latter two events are on closing day, Sunday, September 29*The races for leading jockey and leading trainer both appear headed for photo finishes. With 16 days left, defending champion Juan Gutierrez leads Isaias Enriquez 83-82 in the jockeys’ standings, and two-time defending champion Frank Lucarelli leads Jeff Metz 35-34 in the trainers’ standings*Sunday’s seventh race is a $30,000 allowance test for 3-year-olds and up at one mile. Winning Machine, winner of $481,148 and four stakes, and Assessment, winner of $505,995 and the 2009 Longacres Mile, are among six entered, although Rocky’s Quest and Saddleranch are likely to vie for favoritism.  Johnski and Until You, coming off a seventh in the Longacres Mile, round out the field* Several Longacres Mile nominees compete Saturday at Del Mar in the $90,000 Harry F. Brubaker for 3-year-olds and up at one mile on Polytrack: Summer Hit, Batti Man, Clubhouse Ride and Liaison* Gary Stevens rides the Dr. Rodney Orr-bred 2-year-old filly She’s a Tiger for trainer Jeff Bonde in Saturday’s $300,000 Del Mar Debutante (G1) at seven furlongs. By Tale of the Cat-Shandra Smiles, She’s a Tiger adds blinkers after finishing second to Concave in the Sorrento Stakes (G2) last month*Entries for Monday’s Labor Day card will be drawn Friday.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

Read the Sep 21
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates