08/06/2010 6:40PM

Clearing up the juvenile picture at Emerald


AUBURN, Wash. – Emerald Downs’s muddled 2-year-old picture will come into sharper focus Sunday with the running of two $50,000 stakes races, the Premio Esmeralda for colts and geldings and the Angie C. for fillies. Both races are six furlongs, and they’ll go as the sixth and eighth events on a nine-race card that begins at 2 p.m. Pacific.

Six horses were entered for the Premio Esmeralda, with Couldabenthewhisky, undefeated in two starts, and Seattle Sniper likely to vie for the role of favorite.

Couldabenthewhisky captured the restricted Strong Ruler Stakes in his most recent outing July 18, earning a 62 Beyer Speed Figure after running 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.80. The first foal from an unraced dam, Couldabenthewhisky is by Harbor the Gold, a son of Seeking the Gold who has quickly become the Northwest’s leading sire of stakes winners. He’ll be ridden by Ricky Frazier, Emerald’s leading jockey, for trainer Bonnie Jenne.

Seattle Sniper won a 4 1/2-furlong maiden race June 20 with a 76 Beyer, giving him a presumptive speed advantage over Couldabenthewhisky. A half-brother to multiple stakes winners Shampoo and Smarty Deb, Seattle Sniper is trained by Tom Wenzel. Juan Gutierrez will ride.

Jebrica, a first-time starter trained by Jim Penney, could also be a factor. He’s a full brother to Peaceful Reign, one of the top 3-year-olds at Emerald in 2009. And Winter Warlock, a fast-closing second behind Couldabenthewhisky in the Strong Ruler, would seem to have a fighting chance for leading trainer Tim McCanna. Gdanz Xpress, third in the Strong Ruler, and recent maiden winner Fueled by Kaffine complete the field.

Carrabelle Harbor and Boogie to Seattle, both trained by Doris Harwood, top a seven-horse field for the Angie C. Carrabelle Harbor won the restricted Knights Choice Stakes July 18 in her racing debut, another feather in Harbor the Gold’s cap, while Boogie to Seattle rolled to a six-length victory in a $30,000 maiden claimer in her only start. Frazier has a return engagement on Carrabelle Harbor; Gallyn Mitchell will ride Boogie to Seattle.