Noosa Beach smokes the field in Budweiser Handicap at Emerald Downs | Horse Racing
June 20, 2010 · 7:57 PM
Razor-sharp Noosa Beach stamped himself a major Longacres Mile contender with a nearly 10-length victory today, June 20, in the $50,000 Budweiser Handicap at Emerald Downs.
With Ricky Frazier riding at 119 pounds, Noosa Beach led throughout while running one mile in 1 minute, 35 seconds on a sloppy track. The winner, a 4-year-old Washington-bred by Harbor the Gold, paid $6.60, $4.20 and $3.40 as the slight favorite in the field of eight.
Trained by Doris Harwood and owned by Jeff Harwood of Kent, Noosa Beach earned $27,500 to increase his bankroll to $206,840. The dark bay or brown gelding is three-for-three this year, seven-for-12 overall and has won five stakes races.
Harwood is now tied with Bud Klokstad for first-place all-time with 42 stakes wins at Emerald Downs. Frazier is tied with Gallyn Mitchell for first-place in the all-time jockeys’ stakes standings with 64 each at Emerald Downs.
Gallon, ridden by Juan Gutierrez at 117 pounds, rallied from last to finish second and paid $7.80 and $4.60. It was another length back to Rooster City, Seth Martinez up at 121 lbs. finished third and paid $4.80.
Wasserman, in an improved effort, finished fourth and moved to within $223 of Captain Condo’s all-time record of $503,285 earned at Washington racetracks. The 8-year-old Wasserman earned $3,750 to push his Emerald Downs ledger to $503,062.
Defending champion Assessment faded to a sixth place finish, and Winning Machine, stable mate of Noosa Beach, was hampered by a wide trip and finished last.
The only doubts around Noosa Beach have centered on his ability at longer distances. Before Sunday, he was undefeated in six sprints, but winless in five tries at a route, though he was stakes placed in three stakes around two turns. Taking good advantage of the No.1 post-position, Noosa Beach was hustled to the lead, set fractions of 23 1/5, 46 1/5 and 1:10 1/5 while owning a one-length advantage. He put away Elusive Schemes and Yankee Bravo into the lane, opened a five-length lead after seven furlongs in 1:22 3/5, and widened the advantage to the wire.
The winning margin was a stakes record and the ninth largest winning margin ever in a stakes race at Emerald Downs.
“This horse leaves the gate running, and he is really fast,” Frazier said. “When I got the lead, I was trying to keep him in a comfortable spot. I didn’t want to move him into any other paths on the track. He was really impressive and just excelled over the mud.”
Harwood said the main objective for Noosa Beach is the $250,000 Longacres Mile, Grade 3 Aug. 22. Before that, she will have to choose between the July 11 Governor’s Handicap at 6 ½ furlongs or the Aug. 1 Mount Rainier Handicap at 1 1/8 mile.
Assessment, who swept the Budweiser Handicap and Longacres Mile last year, might not have handled the sloppy surface.
“I was in such a perfect spot that I just started to laugh,” Mitchell said. “When I asked him a little bit, he tried to go, but he couldn’t get a hold of the mud. After that, I was just trying to protect him.”
News and Notes
• Jockey Seth Martinez said he is taking an indefinite leave of absence to tend to family matters in Minnesota. The 2008 EmD riding champion, Martinez currently ranks eighth with 17 wins in 210 mounts. Martinez is the second top-10 jockey to pack his tack, as Robert Burney left last Monday to begin a rodeo career in Idaho.
• Gutierrez rode three winners on the 10-race Father’s Day card.
• Frazier leads Gutierrez and Mitchell 40-36 in the jockeys’ standings.
• Vann Belvoir and Frank Lucarelli each saddled a winner and Belvoir leads Lucarelli 30-27 in the trainers’ standings.
• In an exciting $18,000 companion feature for 3-year-old fillies, Lilly’s a Jewel ($7.40) rallied from last for a nose victory over 4-to-5 favorite Include the Baby in 1:17 4/5 for 6 ½ furlongs. Deborah Hoonan-Trujillo was up for the perfectly timed ride for trainer Dan Markle and owners Sue and Tim Spooner.
• Live racing resumes 6 p.m. Thursday. Emerald Downs is open for simlucast wagering Wednesday through Sunday.