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Sunday stakes twin bill lures pair of aces from the high-flying Tom Wenzel stable

June 22, 2012     E-mail this page to a friend!

When the big money’s down, trainer Tom Wenzel is usually around. Already this season the 46-year-old Tacoma native has compiled a 2-2-0 record from five stakes starts, including victories by Makors Finale in the Auburn Handicap and Exclusive Diva in the Seattle Handicap.

So it might be wise to note that Wenzel will have double-barrel stakes action again Sunday when he saddles Makors Finale in the $50,000 Coca-Cola Handicap for 3-year-olds at one mile and Exclusive Diva in the $50,000 Irish Day Handicap for 3-year-old fillies at one mile. The stakes doubleheader anchors a 10-race card that begins at 2:00 p.m. local time.

For Wenzel, his stakes wins were polar opposites. Makors Finale needed every inch to win the June 3 Auburn Handicap in a dead heat with D’honorable One in a stakes record 1:14.53 for 6½ furlongs. Exclusive Diva, n the other hand, proved much the best in her 2012 debut, leading the May 27 Seattle Handicap from start-to-finish to win by 8½ lengths in a stakes record-tying 1:14.58 for 6½ furlongs.

The latter that might have more to prove this weekend, however, considering Exclusive Diva has yet to win around two turns. Her lone route try came last August in the Barbara Shinpoch Stakes, when she held third after setting a contested pace in the race won by Sweet Sage over Talk to My Lawyer. Wenzel said he’s a little concerned that Exclusive Diva, who’s barely taller than 15-hands, could have an issue carrying the high-weight of 120 pounds Sunday.

“Having to carry the high weight, it could hamper (her ability to win going two turns),” Wenzel said. “If she’s just that much better than those other fillies, it might not make that much of a difference. That’s what we’re going to find out.”

As for Makors Finale, the Coca-Cola’s mile distance appears to be right in his wheelhouse. In three previous routes, the Makors Mark colt has one win and two seconds*both stakes races at Turf Paradise. In addition, his recent nemesis D’honorable One has never raced around two turns, but with a record of 4-0-2 in six starts the D’wildcat colt obviously merits respect.

The field for the 17th running of the Coca-Cola Handicap (race six, 4:38 p.m.): 1, Makors Finale, Gallyn Mitchell, 121 lbs.; 2, First Last Chance, Jose Zunino, 115; 3, Brady’s Kat, Javier Matias, 117; 4, Havanna Red, Leonel Camacho-Flores, 114; 5, D’honorable One, Leslie Mawing, 122; 6, Edge Forward, William Antongeorgi, 115; City Twister, Debbie Hoonan, 117; Don’t Be Coy Roy, Eliska Kubinova, 114.

The field for the 17th running of the Irish Day Handicap (race nine, 6:09 p.m.): 1, Royal Moses, Mitchell, 117 lbs.; 2, Talk to My Lawyer, Mawing, 118; 3, Muchas Coronas, Antongeorgi, 115; 4, Lady Hokulea, Camacho-Flores, 117; 5, Champagneandcaviar, Matias, 113; 6, Sweet Saga, Hoonan, 116; Exclusive Diva, Juan Gutierrez, 120.