Trainer Howard Belvoir has had great success the last few years in the Governor’s Handicap, a trend he hopes to continue Sunday in the venerable stakes with both Assessment and Wasserman.
Wasserman won the Governor’s in 2007 and 2008, and Assessment and Wasserman finished second and third last year as Atta Boy Roy won the 2009 Governor’s in 1:14 1/5 for 6 ½ furlongs.
Of course, Belvoir is hoping for more of the same Sunday, but Assessment has yet to show the form he displayed last season while capturing Horse of the Meeting honors. His first two starts have yielded a fifth in the Seattle Handicap at six furlongs and a distant sixth in the Budweiser Handicap at one mile. Noosa Beach won both events impressively and has moved to the head of the class in the handicap division.
Critics might say Assessment isn’t the same horse after surgery to remove an ankle chip last September. There have been extenuating circumstances, however, as Assessment was beaten only 3 ½ lengths in the Seattle despite a wide trip and a conditioning edge for most of his opponents. And in the Budweiser, Belvoir said he “almost scratched” Assessment after a daylong deluge left the track in sloppy condition.
“He’s doing great, and I expect a good race (in the Governor’s),” Belvoir said.
Wasserman, meanwhile, will make his fourth straight start in the Governor’s Handicap and attempts to become only the third 8-year-old to win the event. Fleet Charge won the race as an 8-year-old in 1960 and Handy N Bold also was 8 when he won his amazing fourth Governor’s in five years in 2003.
The field for the 71st running of the Governor’s Handicap: Assessment, Gallyn Mitchell, 119 pounds; Davos, Inoel Beato, 113; He’s All Heart, Pedro Terrero, 114; Noosa Beach, Ricky Frazier, 121; Winning Machine, Francisco Duran, 118; Gallon, Juan Gutierrez, 117; Margo’s Gift, Kevin Krigger, 117; Wasserman, Jennifer Whitaker, 115.
Frank Lucarelli points Gallant Son to Longacres Mile
Already halfway through a successful meet, trainer Frank Lucarelli, a resident of Enumclaw, could dial it up another notch as Emerald Downs continues its 2010 season.
According to Lucarelli, if training goes as planned Gallant Son will run in the 75th running of the Longacres Mile on Sunday, Aug. 22. The 4-year-old colt’s next start will be the $75,000 Wickerr Stakes at Del Mar on July 28. After the one-mile turf race, Gallant Son will ship to Emerald Downs where he captured three stakes races and was named Top 2-year-old Male of 2008.
Lucarelli could pull off a stakes double-header with victories in Sunday’s $50,000 Governor’s Handicap and $50,000 Washington’s Lottery Handicap. Newly acquired Winning Machine hopes to bounce back in the Governor’s after an uncharacteristic last-place finish in the Budweiser Handicap on June 20. After his poor performance in the Budweiser, owners Raymond Kwik and Paul Goldberg of Fleur De Lis Stables decided to change trainers, from Doris Harwood to Lucarelli. Winning Machine’s new trainer said that his horse is ready to roll in Sunday’s stakes.
“Doris (Harwood) had him in good physical condition,” Lucarelli said. “ I don’t know the horse that well, but he seems to be doing great.”
Lucarelli said he elected to enter Federal Way Handicap winner Feeling Fancy into Sunday’s allowance race at 6 ½ furlongs, rather than the Washington’s Lottery, because he was concerned with her level of fitness. The Sky Mesa filly scratched in the Irish Day Handicap last month because of a foot abscess.
“We lost about two weeks of training, and I was hesitant to put her back in at a mile and a sixteenth,” Lucarelli said.
Feeling Fancy will face a five-horse field Sunday including 2009 Top-2-Year-Old filly Knight Raider.
Lucarelli still has Touch of Elegance and Rewritten to pick up the slack in the Washington’s Lottery Handicap. Touch of Elegance could be the pace setter in a race that doesn’t appear to feature a ton of speed. While Rewritten, who was stakes placed twice last year, will likely make her bid in the final furlong.
Yet another Lucarelli stakes performer, 2-year-old Marvin’s Magic, is headed back to Emerald Downs after finishing eighth in last week’s $100,000 Hollywood Juvenile Championship Grade 3 at Hollywood Park. Lucarelli said Marvin’s Magic would run in the $30,000 NWSS Strong Ruler Stakes at Emerald Downs on July 18.
Governor’s Handicap features big bucks earners
Three of the top five active Washington-bred earners are entered in Sunday’s $50,000 Governor’s Handicap at Emerald Downs.
Wasserman, No. 1 on the list with $522,799, needs a top-five finish Sunday to break Captain Condo’s record for earnings at Washington racetracks. Wasserman has earned $503,062 at Emerald Downs, $223 shy of the $503,285 Condo earned at Longacres, Playfair and Yakima Meadows.
Margo’s Gift, on a two-race winning streak, ranks third with $347,982 in earnings, and probable Governor’s favorite Noosa Beach is fifth among active Washington-breds with $206,840.
Run It a possible entry for Mile
According to an article by Chuck Dybdal in Daily Racing Form, connections for Northern California-based Run It are considering the Aug. 21 Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs for the colt’s next start.
A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred by Cherokee Run, Run It has developed into one of the top handicap horses in NoCal, winning the Grade 3 Berkeley Handicap at Golden Gate Fields and the July 4 Alamedan Handicap at Pleasanton in his last two starts. Trained by Dennis Patterson for Mercedes Stables LLC, Run It is 4-for-8 this year—winning on dirt and synthetic—with $139,620 in earnings.
In the 1 1/16-mile Berkeley, Run It led gate-to-wire at 19-to-1 while defeating Bold Chieftain and Dakota Phone.
Sis’s Sis looking to hit the win ticket in Washington Lottery Handicap
Irish Day Handicap winner Sis’s Sis will seek her second straight stakes victory against eight sophomore fillies in Sunday’s $50,000 Washington’s Lottery Handicap at 1 1/16 miles.
Sis’s Sis has been unbeatable during her 2010 campaign, going 3-for-3 including a half-length victory on a sloppy track in last month’s $50,000 Irish Day Handicap. Sis’s Sis and jockey Juan Gutierrez stalked the leaders, then took command at the quarter-pole and held sway to the wire. Assistant trainer Kay Cooper said she was impressed with her horse’s performance in the Irish Day.
“This filly loves to run down horses,” Cooper said. “She’s in it for the thrill of the race.”
The biggest question mark for Sis’s Sis—going into the Irish Day—was her ability to handle the two-turns. She appeared to flourish at the distance for owners Michael and Amy Feuerborn and should have no problem handling the added sixteenth on Sunday.
“A mile and a sixteenth is a big test for these fillies,” Michael Feuerborn said. “Everyone has that question in their mind whether or not their horses can make the distance.”
Owner and trainer Wendell McDaniel could pick up his first career victory at Emerald Downs with Tapit So Lightly, who finished second in the Irish Day despite breaking slow from the gate. The Tapit filly also finished second as a maiden in the Oregon Oaks in March at Portland Meadows.
The field for the 14th running of the Washington’s Lottery Handicap: Sheza Foxy Jackpot, Troy Stillwell, 113 lbs.; Rewritten, Francisco Duran, 114; Soul Custody, Kevin Krigger, 112; Have’n a Wild Time, Gallyn Mitchell, 114; Tapit So Lightly, Anne Von Rosen, 115; Rap Rance, Leonel Camacho-Flores, 109; Tough of Elegance, Pedro Terrero, 112; Sis’s Sis, Gutierrez, 118; Ghost Girl, Inoel Beato, 114.
Sunday first stakes doubleheader of 2010 season
Sunday’s 10-race card marks the beginning of a five-week stretch that will feature four stakes double-headers at Emerald Downs. The $50,000 Governor’s Handicap for older handicap stars at 6 ½ furlongs goes as Race 6 and the $50,000 Washington’s Lottery Handicap for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 mile is Race 8.
Sunday, July 18, 2-year-olds line up for their first stakes action in the $30,000 NWSS Knights Choice Stakes for fillies and the $30,000 NWSS Strong Ruler Stakes for colts and geldings.
Sunday, Aug. 1, is Mile Preview Day with the $50,000 Mt. Rainier Handicap for older horses and the $50,000 Boeing Handicap for fillies and mares.
And Sunday, Aug. 8 marks more 2-year-old stakes action with the $50,000 Angie C Stakes for fillies and the $50,000 Premio Esmeralda for colts and geldings.
News and Notes
• Week 13 honors: Jockey-Deborah Hoonan-Trujillo (4 wins); Trainer-Don Munger (2 wins); Owner-Nina Egbert, Clair Annette-King County Handicap); Groom-Manuel Osoria (Connie Bouslaugh).
• West Seattle Boy can become the track’s all-time wins leader with a victory in Friday’s sixth race vs. $5,000 claimers. West Seattle Boy, Bob Stories and Market Master currently share the record at 16 wins each. A special gift will be presented to West Seattle Boy on the occasion of the record-breaker.
• Vicky and Gary Baze are both riding extremely well at Assiniboia Downs, ranking second and third in the standings at the Winnipeg bullring. Vicky Baze is 32-for-159 (20.12 percent) while Gary Baze is 25-for-133 (18.79).
• With 53 wins in 44 days, Ricky Frazier is on pace for his fifth riding title in seven years, but at his present pace would finish well off his 155-win total from last year.
Vann Belvoir, meanwhile, is on a record pace in the trainers’ race. With 34 wins in 44 days, Belvoir is on pace to win 68.2 races, which would better the record of 66 wins set by perennial kingpin Tim McCanna in 2008.