09/20/2013 3:53PM

Emerald Downs: Madame Pele has turf in her future


AUBURN, Wash. – With the 75-day meeting winding down to its final few days, some horses have already been shipped out for winter campaigns in Oregon, California, or Arizona. Others, such as recent stakes winner Madame Pele, are still stabled at Emerald Downs but have simply run out of races.

Madame Pele, an impressive winner of the $50,000 Comcast SportsNet Stakes for statebreds Sept. 8, could be ticketed for starts in Northern California after her lone Emerald Downs appearance of 2013 yielded her first stakes victory. A 3-year-old filly by Salt Lake, Madame Pele is from the Smart Strike mare Striking Scholar and thus a half-sister to Longacres Mile runner-up Stryker Phd. Stryker Phd recorded his maiden victory on the Golden Gate grass course, and Kay Cooper, who handles day-to-say operations for trainer Jim Penney, said Madame Pele could make a similar impact on turf.

Madame Pele has improved steadily this year for owners Zach and Beth Correa of Enumclaw, Wash. In the Comcast SportsNet, she ran one mile in 1:35.69 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 73. Earlier on the Washington Cup card, He’s Not Bluffin won the Jim Beam Stakes for 3-year-old colts and geldings in 1:35.52. On this day, Madame Pele was just as fast as the boys.

“She came out of the race great,” Cooper said. “Everything went accordingly. We don’t know when we’ll run her next; there’s not a race here for the rest of the meet. I’m taking some horses up to Canada, but we may take the opportunity to take a break with Madame Pele and then head down to Golden Gate with her. She’s by a California stallion, so when she broke her maiden in California, it was worth $10,000 more. However, she is Washington-bred – kind of like dual citizenship – so we took that route with her. She ran competitive on the turf down there, and I think route racing is going to be her asset.”

He’s Not Bluffin sharp claim

Trainer Vann Belvoir and his wife, Sauci, claimed He’s Not Bluffin for $25,000 on Aug. 17 with the restricted Jim Beam Stakes in mind. That move paid quick dividends when He’s Not Bluffin raced to a three-quarter-length victory and recouped the entire purchase price. He’ll chase more big pots this fall in Southern California, Belvoir’s home base for the past two-plus years.

Howard Belvoir, Vann’s father, saddled He’s Not Bluffin for the Jim Beam, and jockey Chantal Sutherland-Kruse came in from Southern California for the ride.

“He’ll be coming down to run at Santa Anita,” Belvoir said. “I’ll see how he travels, see what kind of Ragozin numbers he gets, and how he’s training, so it’s hard to say right now when he’ll start next. Obviously, he’s not going to be a stakes horse down here. But I thought it was a great effort, and he got a great ride. My dad did a great job getting the horse ready.”

In looking for a potential Washington Cup horse, Belvoir liked what he saw of He’s Not Bluffin, who ran his winning streak to three with his Jim Beam score.

“I thought he was the now horse; he was getting good,” Belvoir said. “I just liked the way he was winning, getting bumped around and not letting it affect him. He can work his way through traffic, he was just starting to catch on, and I like a horse like that.”

Sanguinetti, Gutierrez recovering

Jockeys Anne Sanguinetti and Juan Gutierrez were resting comfortably this week after both were injured in a two-horse spill last Sunday. According to their agents, Sanguinetti sustained a compression fracture of a vertebra and could miss up to two months, while Gutierrez suffered a concussion and will be sidelined through the weekend and perhaps longer.Gutierrez will visit a doctor Monday, agent Keith Drebin said, and if he gets the green light could return for the final three days of the meeting. The mishap puts Gutierrez’s bid for a second Emerald riding title in jeopardy – he was clinging to a 96-94 lead over Isaias Enriquez as the week began – but Gutierrez is all but assured of finishing first in the other important categories – earnings, winning percentage, and percentage of starters in the money.