05/16/2012 2:58PM

Emerald Downs: Lumm has two contenders on card

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AUBURN, Wash. – Trainer Roy Lumm will look to continue a hot start at Emerald Downs when he sends out two contenders on Friday’s seven-race card. Lumm has Justanother Bob in the second race and Wings of Pegasus in the featured sixth race, a $17,500 claimer for fillies and mares who have never won twice. First post is 6 p.m. Pacific.

Lumm has won thousands of races during his career, first as a jockey and for the past two decades as a trainer. At age 74, he is closing in on 900 training victories, but he’s also easing off the accelerator ever so slightly. He no longer gets on his horses in the morning, a concession to a knee replacement a couple of years ago, and this year he’s been leaning more heavily on his assistant trainer, Bonifacio Rayas, to keep things rolling.

Lumm’s wife suffered injuries in a fall over the winter, cutting short his stay at Golden Gate Fields, where Lumm won a handful of races from 40 starters. But his time in California did bear some fruit – on March 17, Lumm claimed back Go With Gusto, one of his favorite horses, for $8,000.

Go With Gusto has won his past two starts at Emerald, including a rather easy victory against $12,500 claimers going one mile. Lumm figured it might be difficult to get the horse back into a race anytime soon, so he nominated him for the Governor’s Handicap on Sunday. That’s a tall order for a mid-range claimer, tackling the fastest horses on the grounds. Even Lumm is skeptical.

“I just kind of understand the horse,” he said of his reasons for claiming Go With Gusto for the third time. “And I know he likes this track. He’s a year older and he’s probably not as good as he was last year, but he’s holding his own pretty well. He’s kind of our big horse, really. We don’t have too many that are out of the claiming ranks.”

“I doubt if I’ll run,” Lumm said. “I see a couple of races in the book that he’ll fit pretty good. I just nominated him in case something happened. Who knows? But he’s not that type of horse.”

That said, Go With Gusto has been profitable, winning 10 of his 42 starts under Lumm’s care. What Go With Gusto lacks in early speed, he makes up for with a withering late kick.

“When he makes a good move like that, when the others are losing their momentum, he looks pretty good, doesn’t he?” Lumm said. “He’s a tryin’ little horse.”