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Nominations released for $40,000 Auburn Stakes


May 1, 2006     E-mail this page to a friend!

By Michael Costanzo
Auburn, WA - Nominations for the $40,000 Auburn Stakes at Emerald Downs for three-year-old colts and geldings closed Sunday, April 30, with 12 sophomores eyeing a spot in the starting gate for the six-furlong affair.

Heading the list of nominees is the Emerald Downs opening night feature race winner Raise the Bluff, owned by Ron Crockett, Inc. and trained by Junior Coffey. The son of Pine Bluff has won two of six career starts, finishing no worse than second five times. The colt was the runner-up in a pair of stakes races last year, the $55,000 WTBA Lads and the $100,000 Gottstein Futurity, beaten less than a length in both outings by last
year's Top Juvenile Male, Schoolin You.

My Friend Luis finished second to Raise the Bluff in the opening night feature, and that performance has earned him a potential start in the Auburn Stakes. The Doris Harwood trainee won the first two outings of his career before making a late charge in the final furlong of his last start to get within a neck of Raise the Bluff at the wire.

Ragin Nonno, also nominated to the Auburn Stakes, finished fourth in last year's Gottstein Futurity and was a two-time winner at the 2005 Emerald Downs meet. The David Bennett trained son of Naevus has competed three times at Turf Paradise in 2006, finishing second in the Palo Verde Handicap in early March before returning to win the $40,000 Tempe Handicap, at a mile on the turf, in his last start.

Trainer Jim Fergason has nominated his once-beaten sophomore Ballou Slew to the Auburn Stakes. Unraced as a 2-year-old, the Oregon-bred son of Slewdledo has won four of five starts this year, including minor stakes triumphs in the Flying Lark and the Preview, both at Portland Meadows. His only defeat came when he traveled to Golden Gate Fields on March 10 to compete in an $80,000 optional claiming allowance, where
he crossed the wire fourth.

Other notable nominees for the Auburn Stakes include Tusko T., winner of the 2005 Emerald Express, and Courting Seattle, a two-time winner last year who finished second to Tusko T. in the Emerald Express.

Nominees (owner - trainer)
Ballou Slew (Art McFadden - Jim Fergason)
Casey's Clone (Blue Diamond Stable or Janet Johnson - Roy Lumm)
Courting Seattle (T. Donovan, Phil and BJ Torres, and Rising Star Stable II - Howard
Belvoir)
Exclusive Eagle (Don and Judi Gardiner - Craig Roberts)
Gucci For You (L. DiPietro and Barbara and Kathryn Eakin - George Colello, Sr.)
Hey Nineteen (William and Nancy Rowe - Jim Penney)
My Friend Luis (Golden Aggie Ranch - Doris Harwood)
Plain James (3-D Stable and Horse Haven Creek Farm - Rosie Simkins)
Ragin Nonno (Ragin Nonno Syndicate - David A. Bennett)
Raise the Bluff (Ron Crockett, Inc. - Junior L. Coffey)
Sharper Edge (R and R Warren, LLC - Jim Penney)
Tusko T. (Al Benton - Howard Belvoir)