06/14/2013 3:39PM

Emerald Downs: Budweiser matches speedsters Hoist, Makors Finale


AUBURN, Wash. – If pace truly makes the race, then Sunday’s $50,000 Budweiser Handicap should provide quality entertainment for the Father’s Day crowd at Emerald Downs. The Budweiser, for older horses at one mile, attracted a stellar field of nine, and the pace, with Makors Finale and Hoist leading the way, should be crackling.

First post for the 11-race card is 2 p.m. Pacific. The Budweiser, a stepping-stone to the Grade 3 Longacres Mile on Aug. 18, is the ninth race on the program.

Makors Finale, unbeaten in his first two starts as a 4-year-old this year, and the winner of four consecutive races overall, will break from the inside post position for trainer Tom Wenzel. The Karl Krieg homebred has led gate to wire in each of his eight victories.

Hoist, who dominated the 6 1/2-furlong Governor’s Handicap on May 19 while Makors Finale sat idle with a minor injury, will start from the outside. Hoist, who covered the first half-mile in Governor’s in 43.83 seconds, has been in front at the half-mile pole in each of his four starts at route distances.

At some point Sunday, the two are likely to hook up on the front end. Mike Puhich, who trains Hoist for Glen Todd’s North American Thoroughbred Horse Company, said he’ll leave the details up to jockey Aaron Gryder, who got acquainted with Hoist in the Governor’s.

“Our horse doesn’t have to have the lead,” Puhich said. “One thing we were talking about is our rider is pretty sharp. He’s going to read it. We’re going to get away from the gate and leave it up to Aaron. But the horse rates really nicely, and he can do what he wants.”

Makors Finale and jockey Rocco Bowen will have the shortest path to the first turn after breaking from the rail. Hoist’s starting position is far less favorable, though Puhich sees the outside as a positive.

“He’s got good tactical speed, and I think the post isn’t bad for him, really, because he’s going to be outside the other speed,” Puhich said. “Hopefully, he can get a good, clean break, drop down into the turn, and follow the speed over. The horses just inside him are not as fast, so I don’t see him getting packed wide. But Makors Finale is the real speed of the race to me, and he’s in the 1 hole. And I’ve got to think they’re going to lay closer this time with Winning Machine.”

Winning Machine won the 2012 Budweiser in front-running fashion and later finished a close second behind Taylor Said in the Longacres Mile. He chased Hoist to no avail in the Governor’s in his last start, but his most recent workout, five furlongs in 58 flat, could have him back on edge for a big effort.

Others in the field include Rocky’s Quest, a fast middle-distance allowance runner who has won three straight at one mile; late-runners Stryker Phd and Why Not Be Perfect; 2009 Longacres Mile hero Assessment; and the Jim Penney-trained pair of Kooky Saluki and Jebrica.