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A Sextet of Sophomores contest opening night feature

April 19, 2006     E-mail this page to a friend!

Emerald Downs, April 18 - The opening night feature race at Emerald Downs has drawn a compact, yet contentious, field of three-year-old colts and geldings competing
under second-level allowance conditions.

Six starters will break from the gate, including Raise the Bluff, a powerful maiden winner here on July 17, 2005. The son of Pine Bluff has just one win to his credit, but the colt finished second to Schoolin You in both the $53,910 WTBA Lads and the $100,000 Gottstein Futurity last season, beaten just a neck in the latter. A win in the Friday feature would push the Junior Coffey trainee's bankroll over the $50,000 mark.

Also entered in Friday's marquee event is Coastal King, who finished third in the 2005 edition of the Gottstein Futurity in addition to a third-place run in the WTBA Lads. The Frank Lucarelli trained son of Charismatic last competed in the $40,000 Rattlesnake at Turf Paradise in mid-January where he showed early speed before faltering late.
Coastal King is the only starter among the six that has raced as a three-year-old.

The field is rounded out by Switzerland, who has hit the board in all four of his sprint attempts; Exclusive Eagle, a Washington-bred son of Flying With Eagles who broke his maiden by four-lengths in October of 2005; Zillah's Knight, who has finished in the money in all six of his career starts, culminating with a maiden win at Emerald Downs on October 14, 2005; and My Friend Luis, an undefeated son of Basket Weave who will make his first start outside the claiming ranks.

The race could serve as a final prep for the $40,000 Auburn Stakes, to be held at Emerald Downs on Sunday, May 7. The feature will go as the seventh race on the Friday card.

McCanna nearing the 500 win mark at Emerald
Trainer Tim McCanna, a six-time top conditioner at Emerald Downs, enters the 2006 season with 491 career victories at the Auburn oval, just 9 wins shy of the 500 win plateau. McCanna has won the training title in five of the last six seasons at Emerald Downs.

The Spokane native has finished in the top five in the trainer standings in each of
the 10 previous seasons at Emerald Downs, and has been a top two finisher in nine consecutive meets. McCanna will saddle five horses on the opening night card.

Other trainers that are approaching Emerald Downs milestones include Frank Lucarelli (396 wins at Emerald Downs), Steve Bullock (198), Dan Markle (195), and Bonnie Jenne (99).

Emerald Downs is celebrating its 10th anniversary season with a 91-day racing meet from Friday, April 21 through Sunday, October 1. The centerpiece of the 2006 season is the 71st running of the Grade III $250,000 Longacres Mile to be held on Sunday, August 20. For more information please visit