05/03/2013 2:14PM

Emerald Downs: Californians Really Mr Greely, Carving challenge local stakes winners


The picture in the 3-year-old division at Emerald Downs will begin to sort itself out Sunday when a pair of local stakes winners – Music of My Soul and Mike Man’s Gold – meet a couple of newcomers from Southern California, including the brief Kentucky Derby candidate Carving, in a $21,000 allowance race at six furlongs. First post for the 10-race card is 2 p.m. Pacific.

Music of My Soul is a full brother to two-time Emerald horse of the meeting Noosa Beach, and toward the end of his 2-year-old season, he developed into a formidable runner in his own right. He won his final two starts, one in a restricted stakes and then in the one-mile Gottstein Futurity. He earned $67,102 in five starts for owner Ken Alhadeff, recouping a good chunk of the $82,000 Alhadeff paid for Music of My Soul at the 2011 Washington summer yearling sale.

While Music of My Soul was the big horse late in the 2012 Emerald meeting, Mike Man’s Gold was the dominant horse early. He won his first three starts – a maiden race and then two stakes sprints – for owners Keith and Jan Swagerty.

Doris Harwood, who trains Music of My Soul, has named Emerald newcomer David Lopez to ride Sunday, while Rocco Bowen has the call on Mike Man’s Gold for trainer David Martinez. Both jockeys will be riding their respective mounts for the first time. Javier Matias, the regular rider on Mike Man’s Gold a year ago, has the call on Carving.

Earlier in the week, there was talk that Carving would run in the Derby should there be defections from the field. With that option eliminated Wednesday, Carving stayed home and makes his Emerald Downs debut in an exponentially easier spot. That doesn’t mean Carving will win, however – the two local stakes winners are capable of beating him if Carving delivers a subpar performance, and the other newcomer from California, Really Mr Greely, is a graded stakes winner. He took the Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue last November.

Not only did Really Mr Greely win the Prevue, he earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 98, and the effort was validated in a big way when all four of the horses to finish behind Really Mr Greely came back to win their next start.