06/08/2012 10:18AM

Emerald Downs: Heavy favorite Class Included meets familiar foes in Washington State Legislators Handicap


The filly machine known as Class Included looks to continue her superb form as the likely heavy favorite in Sunday’s $50,000 Washington State Legislators Handicap at Emerald Downs. The 6 1/2-furlong event for fillies and mares drew a field of eight, and while Class Included is the one to beat again, she must deal with some of the usual suspects.

Owned by Michael and Amy Feuerborn and trained by Jim Penney, Class Included has been brilliant from day one. The 4-year-old daughter of Include has won 6 of her 11 starts; she ran second in the other five. And save for her debut run when second, beaten 6 3/4 lengths, she hasn’t lost by more than one length in her other four losses.

After a splendid 2011 that saw her win multiple stakes here and a stakes at Hastings, she got the customary fall/winter hiatus and has come back as good as ever. She won a classified allowance sprint here April 21 (beating Sunday foes Sweet Nellie Brown and Elusive Noise). She then showed her gameness when as the 3-5 favorite she stalked the pace in the May 13 Hastings Handicap and gamely outdueled Elusive Noise by a head on the wire. She gave Elusive Noise 3 pounds that day and gives that tough filly 4 pounds Sunday as the 122-pound highweight. Juan Gutierrez, aboard for her two wins this year, has the call.

Elusive Noise, owned by Northwest Farms LLC and Debbie Paxton and trained by Tom Wenzel, has been a worthy foe. The filly was a stakes winner here last year. That being said, her record against Class Included is only 2 for 5, with Class Included winning the last three meetings. Elusive Noise does have ample speed, however, and figures to sizzle again under Gallyn Mitchell and make Class Included come and get her.

Sweet Nellie Brown was only ninth in this race last year, but a game second to Class Included (ahead of Elusive Noise in third) in that aforementioned April 21 race here shows she fits.

Special Holiday did plenty of good work in Northern California, and in her first start in 10 months ran third behind Class Included and Elusive Noise in the Hastings Handicap on May 13. That was her first local start, too, so she may improve.

Rewritten was second in this last year, but this marks her first start since September, a tough spot off the layoff.