Horses return to Emerald Downs as training begins | Horse racing

The horses were back on the track at Emerald Downs Monday morning as training began for the 89-day meeting beginning Friday, April 9.

Emerald Downs stable superintendent Vern Baze said 328 horses were on the grounds, as of Monday morning. Training hours are 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. daily.

Nine-time training champion Tim McCanna from Yakima, leading stakes trainer Doris Harwood from Auburn, and the father/son team of Howard and Vann Belvoir from Kent were all up and running when the bell tolled Monday.

Silver Slew Belles, a 3-year-old Montana-bred filly trained by Connie Bouslaugh, was the first horse to set foot on the track in 2010.

Clair Annette, a double stakes winner last year, also made an appearance for Bouslaugh, while Hollywood Harbor, the champion 2-year-old colt of 2009, was on the track for trainer Chris Stenslie from Enumclaw.

Howard Belvoir was in the enviable position of welcoming back the last two winners of the Longacres Mile, 2009 champion Assessment and 2008 winner Wasserman. The track's all-time leading earner with $498,512, Wasserman jogged once around the track with regular rider Jennifer Whitaker in the saddle.

This marks the seventh season at Emerald Downs for the 8-year-old Wasserman and owner-trainer Belvoir said the gelding was "bucking and kicking" after arriving back at his old stomping grounds.

Assessment, who earned $257,000 in his Horse of the Meeting campaign for owners Lou and Diane Tice, should resume jogging later in the week after getting some new shoes, Belvoir said.

Assessment and Wasserman both spent the winter with Vann Belvoir at West Coast Training Center in Auburn.

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