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Absolutely Cool heads $50K Governor’s ’Cap


May 15, 2015     E-mail this page to a friend!

Absolutely Cool spies the finish line in the $75K Phoenix Gold Cup on February 14
(photo by Coady Photography)
Tom Wenzel and Rocco Bowen are practically unbeatable in stakes races at Emerald Downs the last three years, clicking at an amazing 58 percent including last week’s $19 upset by Kikisoblu in the Hastings Handicap.

The 49-year-old trainer and 25-year-old jockey have combined for 11 wins in 19 stakes starts at Emerald Downs, with Stopshoppingdebbie and her 8-for-8 stakes mark accounting for most of the damage. And while Stopshoppingdebbie was expected to win, time and again Wenzel and Bowen delivered under great pressure, when nothing less than a victory would have sufficed.

In fact, going back to their first collaboration with Makors Finale in the 2012 Emerald Derby—a gate-to-wire upset at 5.7-to-1—Wenzel and Bowen have never finished second in a stakes race: 19 starts, 11 wins, 0 seconds, 2 thirds.

Wenzel and Bowen team up again this Sunday, May 17, with Absolutely Cool in the $50,000 Governor’s Handicap, as the 8-year-old Washington-bred carries high weight of 121 lbs and breaks from the #1 post-position in a field of 10.

Owned and bred by Karl Krieg of Oak Harbor, Absolutely Cool has some amazing statistics of his own. The older brother of Makors Finale, Absolutely Cool won his second straight Phoenix Gold Cup in February, rallying from the clouds for a 13-to-1 upset over Valiant Flame. Absolutely Cool also won the Gold Cup (at 14-to-1) in 2014, and finished second in 2013 and 2012.

Trained by Valorie Lund in Phoenix, Absolutely Cool is trained by Wenzel at Emerald Downs.

“Everything is going really well for this horse,” Wenzel said. “I’ve worked him three times. He finished up Monday with a nice, easy half-mile workout (in a bullet :47). Valorie sent this horse up to me in really good shape. He hasn’t missed a beat so far.”

The Governor’s is the only sprint in the Longacres Mile Series, and 2014 Horse of the Meeting Stryker Phd will be ready to roll when the division reconvenes in the one-mile Budweiser Handicap next month.

“He’s only routed once in his whole life,” Wenzel said of Absolutely Cool. “He’s probably more of a sprinter. If he runs well Sunday, we’ll try to do some things on the stretch out in his next one. He’s definitely learned to relax well.

I think this is a solid division. Luckily, Stryker Phd isn’t running this race. I think that opens the door for everybody.”

Noosito faces big test in Governor's

Trainer Doris Harwood, the track's all-time leader with 66 stakes wins, knows how difficult the step up for stakes-quality 3-year-olds can be going from the sophomore division to facing older horses.

So when her 4-year-old colt Noosito takes on older horses for the first time in Sunday's Governor's Handicap, she'll be ready for anything.

"I think it's a huge jump between three and 4-years-old," Harwood said. "Now with Noosito, he's grown a couple inches and added another 50 lbs of muscle. Does that equate to faster? Sometimes it does."

There's no reason to think Noosito can't improve off a stellar sophomore campaign that produced three stakes wins en route to Top 3-Year-Old honors. Just look at his older brother Noosa Beach, who transitioned from a quality 3-year-old into a downright dominant four and 5-year-old. Futhermore, Noosito's work tab indicates all systems for the dark bay son of Harbor the Gold, who has posted two bullet breezes in his last four workouts.

"He's 100 percent heading into the season," Harwood said. "Still, he's got to prove it on the track. It's as simple as that."