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Talk To My Lawyer, Exclusive Diva among nine in $50K Seattle Handicap

May 24, 2012     E-mail this page to a friend!

Northwest Farms' Exclusive Diva (#2) captures the 2011 Angie C Stakes at Emerald Downs
(photo by Erin Palmer, courtesy of Emerald Downs)
Talk To My Lawyer and Exclusive Diva—both stakes winners here last year at age 2—resume their rivalry Sunday in the $50,000 Seattle Handicap for 3-year-old fillies running 6˝ furlongs.

Capped off by the $65,000 Washington Oaks on Saturday, August 11, the sophomore filly division will start with its only sprint on Sunday, which could be an early advantage for Northwest Farms’ (Jerre Paxton) Exclusive Diva around one turn.

“She’s been working pretty well,” trainer Tom Wenzel said of Exclusive Diva. “She hasn’t been working lights out, but she hasn’t missed any training either.”

Exclusive Diva must concede the fitness advantage to Talk To My Lawyer, winner of an optional claiming race on April 21, but the daughter of Bernardini came out running last year with a 3˝-length victory over Talk To My Lawyer in a maiden special weight at five furlongs on July 9.

A Washington-bred by Lawyer Ron, Talk To My Lawyer should be tough Sunday, and figures to improve even more as the distance get longer. Last year, Talk To My Lawyer became only the 10th filly to win the Gottstein Futurity with her neck victory over Havanna Red on closing day.

While Talk To My Lawyer, owned by Will This One Do Stable, deserved last season’s Top 2-Year-Old Filly honor, Exclusive Diva might have been the division’s best sprinter. In fact, the Kentucky-bred by Bernardini defeated Talk To My Lawyer in two sprints, including the Angie C Stakes last August.

The field for the 74th running of the Seattle Handicap (horse, jockey, weight):
1. Muchas Coronas, William Antongeorgi, 116
2. Reliable Ema, Javier Matias, 113
3. Exclusive Diva, Juan Gutierrez, 118
4. Mattie Blue, Debbie Hoonan, 113
5. Lady Hokulea, Leonel Camacho-Flores, 118
6. Sweet Saga, Gallyn Mitchell, 117
7. Talk to My Lawyer, Leslie Mawing, 120
8. Regal Betty, Antonio Castanon, 121
9. Royal Moses, Joe Crispin, 116

John Sadler, trainer of starting high weight Regal Betty, is one of the perennial leaders in Southern California, but the 55-year-old Pasadena native has had only one previous starter at Emerald Downs. Wende, trained by Sadler, finished second to Pleas Write in the inaugural Emerald Distaff on August 18, 1996.

Regal Betty’s rider, Antonio Castanon, is no stranger to Emerald Downs, having won 128 races and six stakes in Auburn. Runner-up to Vann Belvoir with 76 wins in 1996, Castanon finished ninth with 50 wins in 1998 and rode two winners at Emerald Downs in 1999. The last decade he has ridden mainly in Southern California including Thoroughbred races at Los Alamitos.

The Seattle Handicap is Race 8 on a 9-race card. Post time is approximately 6:15 p.m. Pacific Time.