05/11/2011 1:29PM

Emerald Downs: Chaching Pete, Passion Lives Here rematched in sprint feature


AUBURN, Wash. – Chaching Pete and Passion Lives Here, who finished a neck apart when making their season debuts April 30, are scheduled to meet again Friday in the feature race at Emerald Downs. A six-furlong, $12,500 claiming race for older horses who have never won three times, it’s the seventh race on an eight-race program beginning at 6 p.m. Pacific.

Chaching Pete tracked the pacesetters in his last start, a $7,500 claimer, surged to the lead in the final furlong and held off the fast-closing Passion Lives Here to prevail narrowly. Chaching Pete ran 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.74 and earned a 67 Beyer Speed Figure for his second victory in four career starts. Jockey Gallyn Mitchell will be up again Friday for Larry Wolf, who trains Chaching Pete for a syndicate fronted by longtime Northwest handicapper Victor Cozzetti. Chaching Pete will start from post 6 in an eight-horse field.

Passion Lives Here won under Friday’s conditions last June 5, posting a career-best 77 Beyer, but is winless in six starts since then. Trained by Dan Markle for owners Chuck and Karla Laird, he’ll break from post 3 post under Juan Gutierrez.

The prospect of a slow pace could benefit Chaching Pete. There are no obvious front-runners in the field, though Chaching Pete, Snow On the River, and Gold Harbor are quick enough to grab the lead if the pace is moderate. If those three succeed in slowing the tempo in the early stages, it could be difficult for the late runners, such as Passion Lives Here, to make up ground late.

Cyber Bell, another closer, could be a factor in his second start following a seven-month layoff. Claimed for $12,500 on April 15, Cyber Bell will make his first start for owners Gordy Jarnig, Ken Marshall, and Eric Schweiger. Jarnig and friends have an enviable history with claimers; Reba Is Tops won 12 races and more than $450,000, mostly on the turf in Southern California, after they claimed her for $17,500 following her third career start at Emerald Downs in 2007.

Others in Friday’s field are Mr. Mad Max, a hard-luck second going a mile at Golden Gate in his last start; Ringo’s Gold, a longshot who finished two lengths behind Chaching Pete and Passion Lives Here on April 30; and Prince Giddyup, who recorded a second and two thirds in three starts at Turf Paradise last winter.