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Emerald Downs weekend preview

April 24, 2015     E-mail this page to a friend!

Mike Manís Gold ready to roll on Saturday

After odds-on favorite Jebrica edged 10-to-1 Mike Manís Gold by a neck in a $32,000 claiming race last July, winning trainer Jim Penney paid the hard-running runner-up a complement.

ďMike Manís Gold, if you turn your back for a second, heís one of those horses that will jump up and beat you,Ē Penney said.

Indeed, Mike Manís Gold has spent much of his career flying just under the radar at Emerald Downs. The 5-year-old Liberty Gold gelding is a capable router or sprinter and good enough to win at least one stakes race each of the last three seasons, including a come-from-behind victory in last yearís Muckleshoot Tribal Classic.

On Saturday, April 25, Mike Manís Gold rates the marquee in a $21,000 allowance/optional claimer at 5Ĺ furlongs, a race that could serve as a useful prep for the $50,000 Governorís Handicap on May 17. The 6Ĺ-furlong Governorís officially begins the road to the 2015 Longacres Mile in August, a race that owner/breeder Keith Swagerty would dearly love to win.

ďIf he runs big in (Saturdayís) race, then we might look at the Governorís Handicap,Ē trainer David Martinez said. ďWeíll see with him. Heís a nice horse, and training well.Ē

As Penney mentioned, Mike Manís Gold has made a habit of surprising people. Right off the bat he paid $42.80 while upsetting Finallygotabentley in his career debut on July 7, 2012. Subsequent $2 win prices were $20.20 (Premio Esmeralda Stakes), $5.60 (WTBOA Lads), $38.80 (Seattle Slew Handicap), $12.60, $9 and $10.80 (Muckleshoot Tribal Classic). Overall, Mike Manís Gold is 7-3-2 in 21 starts with earnings of $175,974.

Grinder Sparksaglo, Redsolocup, Fist Full of Green, Botch and Cantcatchme compose the remainder of Saturdayís field. A 6-year-old trained by Roy Lumm, Fist Full of Green defeated a similar field at 5Ĺ furlongs in his 2014 debut, while 5-year-old gelding Botch makes his first start since being transferred to Frank Lucarelli. Grinder Sparksaglo, Redsolocup and Cantcatchme are 4-year-olds moving up to the older horse ranks.

Media Match-Up of the Week on Sunday: Chaching Pete vs. He's All Heart

Sundayís (April 26) undercard includes several intriguing matchups highlighted by a couple of the top older horses on the grounds. The seventh race will showcase a fierce bout between Chaching Pete and He's All Heart and is the Media Match-up of the Week.

Chaching Pete drops below his last winning level and has 10 career sprint wins at Emerald Downs. The 8-year-old gelding has good tactical speed, appears to be training well for his return, and the inside post-position was golden opening weekend.

He's All Heart reeled off four wins last season and looks primed for another sparkling campaign, doling out back-to-back sharp breezes including a half-mile bullet in :46.60 (best of 32) on April 10. With other speed to chase, he could get the perfect stalking trip.

Also entered are Sir Riley, Our Boy Ken, Financial Officer, and Simply Sharp.