05/01/2013 1:42PM

Emerald Downs: Cresent McGain back in action in Friday claimer


AUBURN, Wash. – Cresent McGain, a beacon of consistency at Emerald Downs last year, will begin his 2013 season Friday in the featured sixth race, a $7,500 claimer for older horses at six furlongs. First post for the seven-race card is 6:45 p.m. Pacific.

Cresent McGain and Rocky’s Quest were the only horses to win five times during the 2012 Emerald Downs meeting, and Cresent McGain won races for three different trainers, starting with Pat Mullens, and then G.D. Khalsa, and finally Dinos Apostolou. Including a pair of victories at Portland Meadows last fall, Cresent McGain has won 4 of 6 starts for Apostolou.

A 5-year-old by You and I, Cresent McGain has won 9 of 21 career starts. His signature style is to sit a length or two off the pacesetters and then run past them on the turn. With a couple of speed horses drawn to his inside Friday, his stalking style could pay dividends yet again. Rocco Bowen, who guided Cresent McGain to consecutive wins in September, has the riding assignment.

Rainier Missile, Max Cooper, and Majorca Gold are front-running or pace-pressing types who should ensure a fast pace. Rainier Missile has a strong record at Emerald, finishing first or second in 9 of 15 starts. He captured a $20,000 claiming sprint last May and then won for $25,000 two weeks later. But Rainier Missile was sidelined for five months in the middle of the year and then slid back down the class ladder. After winning a $6,250 claimer at Turf Paradise in February, he lost his final two starts in Phoenix by a combined 27 lengths.

Max Cooper is coming off a recent victory at Golden Gate, where he led all the way in a $5,000 claimer April 14. He will be making his first start for trainer Jeff Metz, who is off to a strong start in his first season at Emerald Downs, winning with 6 of 22 starters through the initial six racing days. Rainier Missile will break from post 2 with jockey Debbie Hoonan. Max Cooper has the inside post and leading rider Juan Gutierrez.

Majorca Gold finished a fast-closing second in a $7,500 claimer on the second day of the meeting April 20, an effort that could help make him the betting favorite Friday. Majorca Gold, trained by Rigoberto Velasquez, is another horse who loves to win races. He was 6 for 10 last year, with four of those victories coming at Emerald Downs.