09/13/2013 4:40PM

Emerald Downs: Juveniles get final prep before closing-day stakes

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AUBURN, Wash. – With a pair of season-ending stakes races just two weeks away, a field of five 2-year-old stakes hopefuls will compete Sunday at Emerald Downs in a no-conditions allowance at six furlongs, the featured event on a 10-race card that kicks off at 2 p.m. Pacific.

A positive result could lead to a start Sept. 29 in either the $50,000 Cahill Road Stakes at six furlongs or the $75,000 Gottstein Futurity at 1 1/16 miles. Noosito, a stakes winner on Washington Cup Day last Sunday, is expected to headline the Gottstein, Emerald Downs’ traditional championship for 2-year-olds.

He’s Zuberrific, the likely favorite Sunday, has already competed against stakes runners; he set a pressured pace in the 6 1/2-furlong WTBOA Lads Stakes in his last start Aug. 17 before retreating quickly at the top of the lane. He’s Zuberrific was just 5-1 in the Lads on the heels of a runaway maiden victory in his previous start and certainly isn’t lacking for talent – he ran five furlongs in 57.61 seconds on Aug. 4 while beating maidens by nearly 10  lengths.

Trainer Terry Gillihan will have two shots to take down the winner’s share of the $22,575 purse. In addition to He’s Zuberrific, who will be ridden by David Lopez, Gillihan will send out Patches Pal, who finished second against $25,000 maiden claimers in his career debut two weeks ago. Patches Pal will break from the outside post. He’ll have a new rider, as Ronald Richard steps in for Isaias Enriquez.

Enriquez, locked in a tight race with Juan Gutierrez for the Emerald Downs riding title, has opted to handle Doc Duffy for trainer Rosie Simpkins. After racing to runner-up finishes in his first two starts, Doc Duffy was given a two-month break by Simkins, and the rest proved beneficial when Doc Duffy clobbered a short field of maidens by 4  1/2 lengths in his Sept. 2 return. He’s Zuberrific is the speed of the race, but Doc Duffy and Patches Pal are quick enough to keep him busy from the outset.

Joel N Jill, and Morning Line Wiz round out the field. Joel N Jill finished a distant second in an allowance sprint in his last start and is likely to be the longest price on the board. Morning Line Wiz is sure to get some play following his victory at Portland Meadows in the $15,000 Ex Mountain Cop Stakes in his first start just two weeks ago.