08/22/2013 3:40PM

Emerald Downs: Lucarelli's new filly, Ms P K Blue, has chance in feature


AUBURN, Wash. – Frank Lucarelli can further his bid for a third consecutive Emerald Downs training title when he sends out two starters, including recent acquisition Ms P K Blue, in Saturday’s feature race. Claimed out of her last start for $25,000, Ms P K Blue will challenge four rivals over 6 1/2 furlongs in a $25,000 claimer for older fillies and mares. First post time for the nine-race card is 2 p.m. Pacific.

Lucarelli entered the week with a 35-32 lead over Jeff Metz in the trainer standings, with Doris Harwood (28 wins) and Chris Stenslie (27) still in the running for season-ending honors. But with just 19 days remaining in the 75-day meeting, the race could turn into a sprint between Lucarelli and Metz, whose splashy first season at Emerald Downs was punctuated by E Z Kitty’s romping victory in the $65,000 Emerald Distaff last Sunday.

Ms P K Blue gives Lucarelli a fighting chance in Saturday’s feature. A 4-year-old Decarchy filly, she has raced just four times and has only a maiden victory to show for her efforts. But Lucarelli and clients Remmah Racing Inc. liked what they saw of Ms P K Blue in her first start of 2013 and claimed the filly out of a July  21 race in which she finished second. Ms P K Blue has worked three times over the past month and will have a new rider as David Lopez replaces Anne Sanguinetti.

Lucarelli also entered Better to Be Lucky, another recent claim who finished last on Aug. 16 in her first start for her new barn. Wheeling back eight days later – and moving up in class to boot – Better to Be Lucky is likely to be the longest price on the board.

Ms P K Blue has a quick turn of foot and figures to get involved early after breaking from the outside post in a short field. How long she sticks around will depend on both the pace scenario and Ms P K Blue’s rate of improvement in her first start against open claimers. Her most likely pace rivals, The Gang and I, and Perfect Pie, have combined for 14 career victories.

The Gang and I and Perfect Pie finished second and third in a similar $25,000 claimer Aug. 9, neither able to make up the necessary ground to catch front-running winner Kind of Naughty, another Lucarelli trainee having a big meeting. The Gang and I raced widest of all and could get a more favorable trip Saturday after starting from the inside post position with jockey Eliska Kubinova.