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Hastings ’Cap kicks off 2012 stakes series on Mother’s Day


May 10, 2012     E-mail this page to a friend!

Special Holiday hopes to represent Mother’s Day well on Sunday, when the 4-year-old filly makes her Emerald Downs debut in the $50,000 Hastings Handicap for older fillies and mares going six furlongs.

The Hastings, the ninth race on a 10-race card, is the first of 30 stakes races at the meet, and the first leg in the older filly and mare division that concludes with the $65,000 Emerald Distaff on August 19.

Special Holiday, recently purchased by David Taylor from the Bud Klokstad dispersal sale, will make her first start since finishing fifth in the California State Fair Sprint Handicap. Incidentally, Special Holiday’s new trainer Frank Lucarelli conditioned that race’s winner Point of Reference, who retired to the breeding shed after being honored as the 2011 Champion Older Filly or Mare. In fact, Lucarelli said he’s quite familiar with Special Holiday, who is 3-for-6 in her career including a 2˝-length win last June in the Pink Ribbon Stakes at Stockton on the Northern California Fair Circuit.

“I watched her run against Point of Reference a couple times last year,” Lucarelli said. “I always thought she was a nice horse, especially since she ran against older horses as a 3-year-old. I hope she runs well this weekend.”

With three other stakes-winning fillies entered, Special Holiday will need her best race to contend for first-place honors. Class Included, the track’s Top 3-Year-Old Filly, will likely be favored and has yet to finish worse than second in 10 career starts. The Kentucky-bred by Include has three stakes wins on her resume and comes off a one-length allowance race score on April 21 at Emerald Downs.

The field for the 17th Running of the Hastings Handicap:
1. Class Included, Juan Gutierrez
2. Carrabelle Harbor, Rocco Bowen
3. The Gang And I, William Antongeorgi
4. Elusive Noise, Gallyn Mitchell
5. Special Holiday, Leslie Mawing

First post is at 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time.

Great fields assembled for weekend card


Emerald Downs’ horsemen flooded the entry box on Wednesday to put together a fabulous holiday weekend card assembled by Director of Racing Bret Anderson. Emerald Downs will host 19 races total, with nine races Saturday followed by 10 on Sunday.

“Trainers have done a great job this week entering horses.” Anderson said. “Now that horses are getting more fit, more horses are starting to enter.”

Handicappers, especially exotic bettors, will have plenty to look forward to with the late 50˘ Pick-4s starting with 10-horse fields.

Anderson said he expects field size to get even better as Turf Paradise trainers Dave Bennett, Joe Toye, and Elwin Gibson arrive at Emerald Downs within the next week with more than 60 horses combined. And starting May 25, the 2-year-old begin to hit the track, with one 2YO race each day in the condition book.