05/30/2013 3:32PM

Emerald Downs: Makors Finale meets Jebrica in allowance

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Emerald Downs/Reed Palmer Photography
Makors Finale (No. 1) is using Saturday's allowance as a stepping-stone to the Budweiser Handicap on June 16.

AUBURN, Wash. – Six older horses targeting stakes later in the meeting will hook up Saturday in the featured eighth race at Emerald Downs, a $22,575 allowance at six furlongs.

Makors Finale, Emerald’s leading 3-year-old in 2012, is likely to start as the favorite in an evenly matched field that also includes the multiple stakes winner Jebrica. First post for the nine-race card is 2 p.m. Pacific.

Makors Finale hit a speed bump when he suffered a minor foot injury after winning his 2013 debut against allowance foes April 28. The injury forced Makors Finale to miss some scheduled work and persuaded trainer Tom Wenzel to skip the Governor’s Handicap on May 19 and aim for the one-mile Budweiser Handicap on June 16. Saturday’s allowance test could be an ideal stepping-stone.

A homebred for Karl Krieg of Oak Harbor, Wash., Makors Finale has been very consistent through 13 lifetime starts, finishing worse than second just twice. And Krieg has done quite well, too: He was the leading owner of Washington-breds by money earned in 2012, while Makors Finale was honored as Washington’s champion 3-year-old, and his older half-brother Absolutely Cool, also a Krieg homebred, was named champion older horse.

With Makors Finale, the medium-range goal for Krieg and Wenzel is the Grade 3, $200,000 Longacres Mile on Aug. 18, and Makors Finale should be a legitimate contender. He won four of his five starts at Emerald Downs last year, capping the meeting with consecutive victories in the Emerald Derby and the restricted Chinook Pass Stakes, in which he ran a mile in 1:34.75 and won by 15 lengths.

Makors Finale is a front-runner who seems to enjoy running “hooked.” He likes a challenge and could get a stern one Saturday from Jebrica, who will be making his first start since January, along with fast allowance sprinters Rocky’s Quest and Polish Dollar. Liberty Cap, stakes-placed routing at Calder, and Edge Forward round out the field.

Jebrica enjoyed a good run at the end of 2011, winning the Emerald Derby and then the $100,000 B.C. Premier’s Handicap at Hastings in the span of seven weeks. Jebrica has only one victory in nine starts since that B.C. Premier’s score, however, though he has placed in stakes three times and could be formidable in his first start following a long layoff. Jebrica has been making waves in the morning for trainer Jim Penney and runs well fresh.