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Emerald Downs braces for California invasion


June 30, 2017     E-mail this page to a friend!

The $50,000 Seattle Slew Stakes, scheduled for this Sunday, July 2, drew a large field of 10 sophomore colts and geldings to battle one mile in the final stepping stone to the Emerald Downs Derby next month.

Sharkzilla, upset winner of the Auburn Stakes at six furlongs, and Riser, dominant winner of the Coca-Cola Stakes at 6½ furlongs, head the local contingent, while California shippers More Power To Him, Perfect Come Back, and Ucanthankmelater add mystery and intrigue to the race.

More Power to Him is the most proven of the shippers, and perhaps the horse to beat on Sunday. Conditioned by Faith Taylor for owner/breeder Brett Mason, the California-bred colt by Slew’s Tiznow has compiled a 3-3-1 record in 11 starts and tops the field with $160,653 in earnings. He also is a proven router, amassing three two-turn victories on Golden Gate’s Tapeta surface, and has earned checks in all five of his stakes appearances including seconds (via DQ) in the $200,000 El Camino Real Derby (G3) and $100,000 California Derby.

Although More Power to Him has never raced on dirt, he gets Rocco Bowen to ride and, despite his lofty credentials, gets 2 lbs from both Riser and Sharkzilla on Sunday.

Perfect Come Back also has never raced on dirt, but the Pleasantly Perfect gelding has banged out a series of steady route efforts for Tim McCanna at Golden Gate. Ucanthankmelater has two wins on dirt, including a recent $20,000 claimer at Santa Anita, but is stepping up in class Sunday.

Interestingly, none of the three shippers have speed, and Riser could again be stepping into a favorable pace scenario in the Slew. No doubt the Mizzen Mast colt is fast, earning Beyers of 86 and 80 while easily winning a 5½-furlong allowance race and the 6½-furlong Coca-Cola. But as we saw with 3-year-old filly Risque’s Legacy in the Irish Day Stakes last week, an additional 1½ furlongs can be difficult to get.

Blaine Wright, who already has three stakes win at the meet, sends out Riser and Aqua Frio in the Seattle Slew. Those two dominated the Coca-Cola with Riser winning by 5¼ lengths in 1:15.26 while Aqua Frio was second by 2¾ lengths. Incidentally, Wright’s stakes wins have been blowouts, with 3-year-old fillies Alliford Bay and Top Quality winning the Seattle Stakes and Irish Day Stakes by 3¼ and 3¾ lengths, respectively, and Riser winning the Coca-Cola by 5¼.

— The Seattle Slews Stakes goes as Race 7 at 4:51 p.m. It remains the only stakes in America named after the 1977 Triple Crown winner.

— More Power to Him is stabled with Kay Cooper at Emerald Downs.

— Perfect Come Back and More Power to Him drew the No. 9 & 10 post-positions, which are a combined 0-8 in one mile races this season.

— More Power to Him is one of three $100,000 earners out of Pundit, a daughter of Beau Genius who has produced 10 winners including Beach Blonde ($316,244), Formula Gold ($102,868) and More Power to Him ($160,653).

— Betting favorites are 3-for-9 in stakes this season and average field size is 7.7 horses.

The field for the 41st running of the $50,000 Seattle Slew Stakes for 3-year-old colts & geldings:
       1-Distortedatthebar, Julien Couton, 117 lbs
       2-Aqua Frio, Kevin Orozco, 118
       3-Riser, Eswan Flores, 124
       4-Marquee Marini, J C Estrada, 118
       5-Ucanthankmelater, Jose Zunino, 118
       6-Sharkzilla, Erick Lopez, 124
       7-Rifle Gernade, Eliska Kubinova, 118
       8-Candy for Three, Isaias Enriquez, 118
       9-Perfect Come Back, Javier Matias, 118
       10-More Power to Him, Rocco Bowen, 122