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O B Harbor heads Mt. Rainier Stakes, while Stryker Phd bids for first 2016 victory

July 15, 2016     E-mail this page to a friend!

Anticipation is building for the Longacres Mile, as two-time defending champion Stryker Phd faces upstart O B Harbor in the $50,000 Mt. Rainier Stakes at 1-1/16 miles on Sunday, July 17.

The Mt. Rainier—final stop en route to the $200,000 Longacres Mile (G3) on Sunday, August 14—headlines a sensational Sunday card that co-features the $50,000 Boeing Stakes for older fillies and mares, $50,000 Emerald Express for 2-year-old colts or geldings and $50,000 Angie C Stakes for 2-year-old fillies.

In addition to becoming the first horse to win consecutive Longacres Miles at Emerald Downs, Stryker Phd also has reeled off back-to-back wins in the Mt. Rainier including last year’s sparkling six-length victory in 1:42.89.

O B Harbor is not to be taken lightly, however, as the 4-year-old Oregon-bred is 3-for-3 at the meet, snapping Stryker Phd’s local eight-race winning streak with a half-length victory over Betrbegone in the one-mile Budweiser Stakes last month.

Trainer Chris Stenslie said O B Harbor has battled body soreness the last two seasons but, knock on wood, is doing great so far in 2016. She said her and owner Jody Peetz believe a key will be their horse’s ability to relax and not get too speed crazy early.

“Betrbegone, he’s been so underrated, and I’m hoping O B Harbor isn’t too sharp and will be able to lay off of him early,” Stenslie said. “Stryker’s gonna be much better this time. He got his prep race and is going be double tough.

“I really hope that OB can relax and save some for the competition at the very end.”

Stryker Phd rallied for third in the 11-horse Budweiser while spotting his rivals a degree of fitness. With two brisk five-furlong workouts since the race, the 7-year-old seems set to move forward Sunday for trainer Larry Ross and owners Jim and Mona Hour.

Seven of the last 10 Mt. Rainier winners went on to capture the Longacres Mile, including Stryker Phd in 2014 and 2015.

Stryker Phd has been the betting favorite his last seven starts at Emerald Downs, however, that streak could end Sunday. Stryker Phd was 3-2 in the Budweiser with O B Harbor second choice at 2-1.

The Mt. Rainier Stakes is race #8 at 5:15 p.m.

The field for the $50,000 Mt. Rainier Stakes: O B Harbor, with Jose Zunino up; Stryker Phd, Leslie Mawing; Betrbegone, Javier Matias; Its Allabout Jerry, Leonel Camacho-Flores; Dedicated To You, Eswan Flores; The Sandman, Isaias Enriquez; Coach Royal, Rocco Bowen.

Boeing Stakes

A full field of 12 older fillies or mares—the largest field in the 21-year history of the race—is entered in the $50,000 Boeing Stakes at one mile.

The final steppingstone to the $65,000 Emerald Distaff on Sunday, August 14, the Boeing has been a key event with three of its last four winners also taking the Emerald Distaff, including Lady Rosberg in 2015.

The older filly and mare division has yielded two different winners to date, with Estellara prevailing by a head over Ethan’s Baby in the six-furlong Hastings Stakes and 3-year-old B C Z Middleton reeling in Ethan’s Baby for a three-quarter-length triumph in the 6½-furlong Washington State Legislators Stakes.

Trainer Jeff Metz entered B C Z Middleton vs. older runners in the Washington State Legislators mainly to keep the Nobiz Like Shobiz racing around one turn. The plan worked perfectly as B C Z Middleton settled nicely for Jose Zunino and gradually caught the hard-luck Ethan’s Baby in 1:15.33, earning a career-high 81 Beyer in the process.

This time the choices were either the $75,000 Washington Oaks at 1 1/8 miles on July 24 or to again face older fillies and mares in the Boeing at one mile.

“Even though the Legislators Stakes was against older fillies and mares it was about not having to stretch out,” Metz said. “Luckily the division is pretty wide open, and I’m just thinking that since she settled so well in the Legislators that she could run that same kind of race going two turns.

“Once you get going 1-1/16 miles or 1-1/8 miles you need to be a little more of a long-striding filly and (B C Z Middleton) is built more like a sprinter. I think she’s training well and that last win was a real confidence booster. Now it’s just a case of how we break and get into that first turn. Then we’ll just take it from there.”

Jose Zunino, who also rides O B Harbor in the Mt. Rainier Stakes, will be challenged early as B C Z Middleton drew the No. 12 post-position and risks losing ground with a short run to the first turn.

The Boeing Stakes is race #7 at 4:45 p.m.

The field for the $50,000 Boeing Stakes: Estellara, Eswan Flores; Alli Leigh, Leonel Camacho-Flores; Curly Girly, Leslie Mawing; She’s Reddy, Ronald Richard; Chronologic’sghost, Anne Sanguinetti; Guinevere’s Finale, Javier Matias; Peppy Miller, Juan Gutierrez; Chocolatier, Rocco Bowen; Ethan’s Baby, Joe Steiner; Locket, Isaias Enriquez; Morning Coffee, Erick Lopez; B C Z Middleton, Jose Zunino.

Emerald Express

It’s been three weeks since The Chilli Man was unveiled to considerable fanfare at Emerald Downs.

Amazingly, he was even better than hyped while smoking a promising field of 2-year-olds by 11½ lengths, running 4½ furlongs in a near record :50.22 and earning a lofty 81 Beyer.

On Sunday, all eyes will be on the Kentucky-bred son of Trappe Shot-Triumphantly as he heads a field of six in the $50,000 Emerald Express at 5½ furlongs. Safe to say, The Chilli Man will be heavily favored in his second start.

Since his scintillating debut, owner Heidi Nelson and trainer Monique Snowden have fielded several phone calls from interested suitors nationwide. Word of a hot 2-year-old travels fast, particularly in an age when race replays are so easily accessed.

According to Nelson, a sale could be imminent. An east coast client along with his trainer and veterinarian will attend Sunday’s race, and if everything checks out the deal would be completed Monday. Although no figures have been announced, an offer in the $300,000 wouldn’t be out of line.

Meanwhile, The Chilli Man is a go for the Emerald Express and will be flying Nelson’s black and gold silks in the race.

For Snowden, it’s been an exciting—and perhaps a bit stressful—to train an exceptional prospect like The Chilli Man.

“From the beginning it has been quite the ride,” Snowden said. “There was just so much pressure on me and on him (in the debut). That was a big field but fortunately everything went right.

“I always thought he was a nice horse, but the moment that I saw he was an exceptional was when I went to get him gate approved. I broke him out of the gate and I have never felt that much power underneath me. It was like being in a hot sports car going from zero to 60 in two seconds. Then seeing him work :57 and change out of the gate and watching his gallop out was amazing to watch.”

The Emerald Express is race #5 at 3:48 p.m.

The field for the $50,000 Emerald Express: Sum Candy, Jorge Rosales; Mitch And John E, Ronald Richard; Mixo, Javier Matias; So Lucky, Rocco Bowen; The Chilli Man, Joe Steiner; Don’tbeshywillie, Jennifer Whitaker.

Angie C Stakes

Eleven 2-year-old fillies—the biggest field in the 21-year history of the event—are entered in Sunday’s $50,000 Angie C Stakes at 5½ furlongs.

Assuming no late scratches, the 11-horse field breaks the previous Angie C record of 10 horses set in 2002, 2006 and 2009, and equals the last two years combined: My Heart Goes On prevailed by a head in a five-horse field last year, and Ethan’s Baby romped by 6¼ lengths in a six-horse field in 2014.

Either Getting Joellenned or Paddy’s Secret figures to go favored Sunday.

A Kentucky-bred by Trappe Shot—also the sire of The Chilli Man—comes off a 4¼-length victory in a June 25 maiden special weight, running 4½ furlongs in :51.27 and earning a 67 Beyer. Her trainer, Tom Wenzel, has two wins and a second in the last five runnings of the Angie C.

A Kentucky-bred by Paddy O’Prado, Paddy’s Secret romped by 6¼ lengths in her June 11 debut, running 4½ panels in :51.48 and earning a 62 Beyer.

Karula is the lone first-time starter in the race and bids to become the first debutante winner of the Angie C. Trained by David Martinez for owner/breeder Oak Crest Farm (Jack Hodge), the daughter of Colonel John-Desert Liaison is a half-sister to Sutra, winner of the 2006 Frizette (G1) at Belmont Park.

The Angie C Stakes is race #6 at 4:18 p.m.

The field for the $50,000 Angie C Stakes: Camano Comet, Ronald Richard; Grace Bay, Joe Steiner; Let’s Mambo, Juan Gutierrez; Constant Craving, Eswan Flores; Blazinbeauty, Isaias Enriquez; No Talking Back, Leonel Camacho-Flores; Getting Joellenned, Rocco Bowen; Karula, Javier Matias; Paddy’s Secret, Leslie Mawing; Myladysabitshady, Eric Lopez; It’s a Girl Thing, Jorge Rosales.