Today is a special day at Emerald Downs. For horseplayers, we have a $6,454 carryover in the $.50 Pick 5 (Races 6-10) and a $1,1,06 in the $.20 Pick 7 (Races 4-10). That’s reason to go play for some money to start off your July 4th the right way! ALL races at Emerald Downs tonight can be viewed on TVG.
On track, we are expected to have the largest crowd of the year. After the races, there will be the annual THIRD of July Fireworks Spectacular, presented by Carl’s Jr. It’s going to be a fun atmosphere, and we’re really looking forward to it!
Here are my picks for tonight’s card. First post is at 4:30 PM Pacific Time (7:30 PM Eastern.) Good luck and have a terrific Fourth of July! J
Race 1 (350 yards, Quarter Horse Allowance, 3 YO and up): #3 FURRIDDLE has not raced since January, but ran against tougher last year and figures to be fit off the layoff for trainer Dickie Martinez, who does a nice job with his quarter horses. It’s also worth noting this gelding’s best races have come at Emerald Downs. #7 HEZA FLYING FAST has won two races in a row, and has improved steadily since joining the Roddina Barrett barn this winter. One of the horses to beat. #5 SEPERATE LIST has not run since 2014, but he showed plenty of talent as a 2-year-old, and had a sharp gate work on June 26th. Maybe he’ll come back to the races ready to roll. (SELECTIONS: 3-7-5)
Race 2 (4 and a half furlongs, Maiden 25k claimers, 2 YO fillies): #6 LITTLE JOKER had been working well for her debut on June 19 and went off as the second choice. She got in a lot of trouble that afternoon, getting bumped around after hopping at the break, and had to steady hard at the quarter pole while racing in traffic. Her rider, Leslie Mawing, opts to hop back aboard for today’s race, and we’re expecting ‘JOKER to run much better with a cleaner trip and a race under her belt. #8 MYLADYSABITSHADY is another that had a less than ideal trip in that June 19th race, but was able to make up ground late and ran a very respectable fourth. She has a right to improve today for trainer Doris Harwood, who has done very well with 2-year-olds in the past. #7 ZOOMBADABOOM ran third in that June 19th race, but unlike our top two choices, had a pretty uneventful trip. She ran evenly around the track, and finished a decent third. Nobody stands out in this spot; no reason why this gal can’t hit the board again. (SELECTIONS: 6-8-7)
Race 3 (6 furlongs, Maiden 8k claimers, Fillies & Mares 3 YO & up): It may be #9 OLD FASHION HALO’s day today. She cuts back in distance and faces a relatively weak group of runners for this level. She ran second going a mile last time out, so there is no question she will be super fit cutting back to a sprint today. If anyone beats her, it may be #3 COASTAL CURVES, a first time starter for trainer Tim McCanna, who has been hitting at a high percentage with firsters this meet. She had a sharp half-mile drill out of the gate last month, and maybe that hints to us that she has some run in her. In maiden races, against a weak group, going with a first time starter is not always a bad angle, especially with a trainer who is capable of getting first time starters ready to go right off the bat. #4 GUARDIAN ONE faces a weaker group of 8k maiden claimers than what she saw in her last start at this same level. That day, she ran second behind a run-away winner. Trainer Chris Stenslie has always believed this gal will improve with racing experience. She may be able to take another step forward today. (SELECTIONS: 9-3-4)
Race 4 (One mile, Maidens 25k claimers, 3 YO & up): #1 RALLY CAP RUDY is the one to beat and for good reason. He ran a good second in his last start behind the well regarded HONORED CITIZEN, and has a right to improve in his second start going a route of ground for one of the best Washington horsemen around, Jim Penney. #7 FACE VALUED ran very poorly in his last start, but had a rough start, checked on the first turn and was never happy after that. If you can excuse that head scratching performance, you have to like this gelding’s race two back, when he was in a three-way battle for the win in his first start routing. We’ll give him one more chance. #5 PACKY’S OUT always seems to run on for a minor award. He’s finished third in 2 of 3 starts at this distance. Why can’t he do it again? (SELECTIONS: 1-7-5)
Race 5 (One mile, $2,500 claimers, Fillies & Mares 3 YO & up): We’re going to try to beat the even money morning line favorite with #7 DEMONSDARLIN, who won going a route of ground two starts back: it was probably the best race of her career. She has tactical speed and can sit right off a runner or two who will probably be sent to the front coming out of sprint races. #1 CARRICK BAY is the even money morning line favorite. Even though she towers over these in the Beyer department, most of her races have come on turf. Her two-dirt efforts resulted in off the board finishes. All that said, she has faced much tougher company in past starts; this is a significant drop in class. Owner Vann Belvoir and trainer Howard Belvoir are 2 for 2 this meet with runners shipping in from California and taking a massive drop in class to this $2,500 level. #6 INSCRIPTION is one for four at this distance and may try to take this field gate to wire. Speed tends to hold up well here at Emerald. (SELECTIONS: 7-1-6)
Race 6 (One mile and a sixteenth, $50,000 Seattle Slew Stakes, 3 YO): #2 BARKLEY is undefeated and has all the characteristics of a good racehorse: speed, stamina, talent, heart and a strong will to win. He has defeated our second choice two times now, and there’s no reason why he can’t do it again. We’ll give the nod to this son of MUNNINGS. Of course, his main threat is #4 MACH ONE RULES, who has come up a head and neck short in two races against our top choice. He got things all his own way up front on a speed biased track last time out, and still could not hold off #2 BARKLEY. He’ll probably get that same scenario today, and this will be his second time routing and third start off a layoff, meaning he might be able to improve a bit. The one to catch. #1 WILLIAM CROTTY acted up going into the gate, made an early and wide move on the far turn, but flattened out in the stretch against our top two picks in The Coca Cola Stakes. Although it doesn’t look like he has the talent to compete with the top two anyway, he can hit the board. (SELECTIONS: 2-4-1)
Race 7 (One mile, $2,500 claimers, 3 YO & up): #4 RELATIVELY FAST already has two wins at the meet, and ran a solid race at this level last time out on June 19, when he ran on from the rear of the field and had to alter course at the sixteenth pole when in a bit of traffic. He still finished strongly and hit the wire a half-length behind the winner, WHISKEYONTHEHOUSE, who would probably go off favored in this race. #8 DEAD EYE has not won in a couple years, but we can expect this guy to put up an honest effort. He has hit the board in his last four starts and has finished behind a few hard knocking, lower level claimers types that aren’t found in this spot. #3 SAMENDRA finished right behind our top pick on June 19 and ran a respectable race. He had an eventful trip that day, breaking slowly from the gate and having to navigate around traffic in the stretch. He can run on again and may even improve a bit in his third start off a layoff. (SELECTIONS: 4-8-3)
SIDE NOTE: #1 PICK BY THE BOX will go off favored, but is being dropped from 8k to this 2.5k claiming level, after being claimed for 8k by Jim Penney. This horse is 0 for 8 on dirt and 0 for 2 going a route of ground. May win for fun, or may be a play against. I’ll go with the latter.
Race 8 (6 furlongs, $25,000 claimers, 3 YO & up): #4 SWINGSHIFT DEPUTY is the “other” Frank Lucarelli trainee in this race. On June 18, he handily beat WAR WIZARD, who came back to win the feature race yesterday, and FIRE THE TRAINER, who ran on for third in that same race. Sure, that impressive effort by ‘DEPUTY was over a wet-fast track, but this guy is in great form right now, and not to mention he is versatile: he can go to the lead, or stalk if somebody wants to set crazy quick fractions up front. Third start off a layoff, he’ll be ready to fire his very best. #6 MISTER BREEZE is a hard-knocking guy. He’s been on a tear this year, with 2 wins, 2 seconds, and one better than looked fourth place finish in five starts this season for underrated trainer Alan Bozell, who is winning at a 22% clip right now. In fact, MISTER BREEZE beat our third choice, BIG HAT CHARLIE, last time out. #3 BIG HAT CHARLIE was claimed out of that second place finish behind MISTER BREEZE on June 12, and makes his first start for trainer Charles Essex in this spot. The half brother to MALIBU MOON and PARKER’S STORM CAT has had his share of physical issues, but has also put up very good efforts in all three starts at Emerald this year. Like our top pick, he is tactical, and should get a great trip right off the speed. (SELECTIONS: 4-6-3)
Race 9 (6 furlongs, $7,500 claimers, 3 YO & up): This is arguably the toughest race on the card. Many ways to go here, and you may want to spread in Pick 5 and Pick 7 tickets here. We’ll take a shot with #3 INAWAR, who ran poorly in his last start, but has tactical speed in a race that does not draw a ton of early pace. He can either head to the front or sit right off of #4 YOU MAD BRO, who broke his maiden in wire to wire fashion last time out, and is likely to streak to the lead again. INAWAR drops in class from the $15,000 claiming level and may have found his friends in this $7,500 claiming spot. #8 WEST COAST WHEELIE finished third, actually in front of our top choice, on May 22. The second place finisher in that race, IT’S LITTLE RICHIE, came back to win his next start. Another who drops in class, ‘WHEELIE may be able to rebound after he had a troubled trip on June 11, when he was off slowly from the gates, raced five wide on the far turn, and finished fifth. #9 MOKHANDOIT ran a big race at 13-1 in his last start, where he finished second to DAVE’S BIRTHDAY BOY, a nice runner at this $7,500 level. MOKHANDOIT also beat OLD FASHIONED GRIT that day; ‘GRIT came back to win by 7 at this level a couple of weeks ago.(SELECTIONS: 3-8-9)
Race 10 (6 furlongs, Maiden 5k claimers, 3 YO & up): #2 SIX S STREET has been running Beyer speed figures that the others in this race cannot come close to producing. That already shows he’ll be tough in the Sunday nightcap. He has also run against some OK runners: GO HENRY, who beat SIX S STREET two starts back, won when facing winners for the first time yesterday, and two horses SIX S STREET ran third to last time, ROME NEW YORK and KID CHRISTIAN, would be odds on in this race. #4 DE KAFINATOR could improve in his second start at Emerald Downs. He finished fifth behind tougher company on June 3 and now drops in class for high percentage trainer Blaine Wright. #1 CASCADE CAT figures to be competitive against this week bunch. He has hit the board twice this meet against similar competition. (SELECTIONS: 2-4-1)
GOOD LUCK! HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!