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Sunday at Emerald Downs: E Z Kitty defends title, ’Caviar set for 2013 debut in $50K Washington State Legislators Stakes

June 7, 2013     E-mail this page to a friend!

It’s round two for the older fillies and mares, and defending champion E Z Kitty appears primed and ready to preserve her title Sunday in the $50,000 Washington State Legislators Stakes at 6˝ furlongs.

A 5-year-old mare by He’s Tops, E Z Kitty held off Exclusive Diva for a two-length victory in the $50,000 Hastings Handicap on May 12. It was E Z Kitty’s sixth career stakes win, but her first for trainer Jeff Metz and owner Bruce Maller of Incline Village, NV. The meet’s leading trainer with16 wins, Metz said he expects another big effort from E Z Kitty.

“She’s really been training well since her win in the Hastings,” Metz said. “She breezed (five furlongs) the other day in :59 and change, and she did it very nice and easy. Our plan is just to play the break, and to let Anne (Sanguinetti) size things up. The nice thing about E Z Kitty is her versatility. She’s got that high-cruising speed.”

E Z Kitty takes on five other accomplished runners in Sunday’s stakes. First and foremost is Exclusive Diva, the 4-year-old Bernardini filly with the red-hot Tom Wenzel/Northwest Farms connections n her corner. All they’ve done the last two weeks is sweep the top three places in the Seattle Handicap for 3-year-old fillies, and finish first with Finallygotabentley in the Auburn Handicap for 3-year-old colts and geldings.

Exclusive Diva has a good chance to make it three straight for Wenzel and Northwest Farms. A quadruple stakes winner at Emerald Downs, Exclusive Diva has already split two decisions with E Z Kitty this season, scoring by a neck in a 5 ˝-furlong allowance race prior to the defeat in the six-furlong Hastings.

Champagneandcaviar could play the spoiler role. Voted Emerald Downs’ Top 3-Year-Old Filly of 2012, the 4-year-old Van Nistelrooy filly makes her season debut for owner Fleur De Lis Stable and trainer Howard Belvoir. Although she might be at her best around two turns, Belvoir said Champagneandcaviar could be heard from Sunday, especially if E Z Kitty and Exclusive Diva go too fast up front.

“She’s a little behind the other horses because she lost a little bit of training,” Belvoir said. “But she has been training well, and she should be coming at the end.”

Along with Plus One and Gosailgo, who made their Emerald Downs debuts in the Hastings, the Washington State Legislators Stakes also attracted Hastings shipper Castinette Dancer.

A Washington-bred by Ministers Wild Cat, Castinette Dancer has a sterling three-for-six record at 6 ˝ furlongs and could get first jump if the leaders falter. Trainer Mike Puhich will saddle Castinette Dancer for owner Glen Todd, and that combination already clicked this season with Hoist in the Governor’s Handicap for 3-year-olds and up.

Sunday’s 11-race program, which begins with a Quarter Horse event, has a special 1:30 p.m. post time. The Washington State Legislators Stakes is race eight Sunday, with post time 5:12 p.m.