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Noosa Beach tops big field in Sunday’s $50K Governor’s ’Cap


May 19, 2011     E-mail this page to a friend!

Noosa Beach drew the outside post and will be heavily favored Sunday as the road to the Longacres Mile begins with the $50,000 Governor’s Handicap at 6½ furlongs. A field of 11 runners—the largest ever for a Governor’s Handicap at Emerald Downs—is entered in the first stakes of the season for older horses.

Trainer Doris Harwood said she was elated with the outside draw, and said the 5-year-old gelding couldn’t be any sharper.

“Wow, he’s doing incredibly well,” Harwood said of Noosa Beach. “He’s fit, he’s bigger this year, and there’s just an air about him. In Canada (for last month’s George Royal Stakes), he went in that walking-ring like he owned it.

“I absolutely love the post-position,” she added. “There’s a tremendous amount of speed inside him, and at 6½ furlongs there’s that long run into the first turn, so he can place himself nicely with his tactical speed.”

At high-weight of 123 lbs., Noosa Beach would become the highest-weighted winner of the Governor’s Handicap since Trooper Seven carried 125 lbs in 1981.

Assessment, second high-weighted with Winning Machine at 120, attempts to become the seventh horse and third at Emerald Downs to win back-to-back runnings of the Governor’s Handicap. Wasserman won the Governor’s Handicap in 2007-08, and Handy N Bold reeled off three straight from 1999-2001.

The field for the 72nd running of the Governor’s Handicap: 1-Assessment, Juan Gutierrez, 120 lbs; 2-Peaceful Reign, Javier Matias, 117; 3-Winning Machine, Leslie Mawing, 120; 4-Bogachiel, Jose Zunino, 118; 5-Boundtogetbusy, Deborah Hoonan-Trujillo, 115; 6-He’s All Heart, Joe Steiner, 117; 7-Absolutely Cool, Vicky Baze, 117; 8-Saratoga Boot, Joe Crispin, 119; 9-Tequila Gold, Robert Skelly, 116; 10-Our Minesweeper, Pedro Terrero, 118; 11-Noosa Beach, Gallyn Mitchell, 123.

Post time for the Governor’s Handicap, race #6, is approximately 4:38 p.m.

Familiar faces return to ride Governor’s Handicap


The $50,000 Governor’s Handicap on Sunday will feature a jockey’s reunion of sorts as veteran riders Joe Steiner and Vicky Baze return to Emerald Downs, where they last rode in 2004 and 2005, respectively.

Steiner, tabbed to ride He’s All Heart for Victor “The Predictor” Cozzetti’s Vic-Tory Stables IV, said he was impressed from what he’s seen from the 5-year-old Washington-bred.

“I watched some of his race film, and he seems to be a nice horse,” Steiner said. “I know that Noosa Beach has been pretty tough up there, but this is horse racing my friend.”

He’s All Heart, second to Winning Machine in an allowance race last month, has trained well for the Governor’s with a half-mile bullet work in 463 on May 13. Steiner also said he was excited to hear that his former fiancée Baze, who is now married to 2003 Washington Racing Hall of Fame inductee Gary Baze, would return for the same race.

Vicky Baze will ride Absolutely Cool, who she rode to a second-place finish in the Coyote Handicap on March 26 at Turf Paradise. The Washington-bred by Absolute Harmony received a career-best 90 Beyer speed figure. Prior to Sunday’s race, Baze, will face five other riders in Friday’s inaugural $30,000 Pimlico Female Jockey Challenge.

While Baze will have to adjust for the three-hour time change, Steiner said he would head north Saturday night from California, where he ended a six-year retirement at Santa Anita on April 1. His parents, Joe and Sally Steiner, run the Quarter Chute Café, on the Emerald Downs backside.

“I couldn’t be more excited to come back,” Steiner said. “It’s still home up there.”