09/14/2012 3:31PM

Emerald Downs: Noosa Beach plans 2013 comeback

Four-Footed Fotos
Noosa Beach is being pointed to a 2013 campaign at Emerald Downs.

AUBURN, Wash. – If all goes as planned, Noosa Beach will return to Emerald Downs when the track opens for training early next year and try to pick up where he left off as the dominant handicap horse in the Pacific Northwest.

Noosa Beach has been convalescing at trainer Doris Harwood’s farm in Auburn since late June following a starting-gate mishap that left the two-time Washington horse of the year battered and bruised, but not seriously injured. A 6-year-old gelding by Harbor the Gold, from the Basket Weave mare Julia Rose, Noosa Beach has 12 career stakes victories and $524,472 in earnings for Harwood and her husband, Jeff.

Doris Harwood said Friday that Noosa Beach has been full of himself in recent weeks.

“He is wild, he absolutely feels terrific,” she said. “He is traveling well. We’re really happy with him right now. When we bring him back next year, he’ll tell us if everything is good. Time off does wonders for these horses – it’s the best medicine you can give ’em. This summer, he got to enjoy grass and sunshine. It was the perfect summer for him to take a vacation.”

Noosa Beach was injured when he flipped in the starting gate before his scheduled start in the Budweiser Handicap on June 17. His injuries were first believed to be superficial, but Harwood said the horse wasn’t up to par in a workout eight days later. She said his injuries were hard to pinpoint.

“There was nothing in particular, other than he was just sore all over,” she said. “His head was bruised, his eyes were bruised, his back legs. Everything was missing a lot of hair. It wasn’t one thing, but by the time you let all that heal, you’re going to be behind everyone else and in need of a race, so we said to heck with it.”

In the meantime, Harwood has found a new stable star, a full brother to Noosa Beach named Music of My Soul. After a smashing victory in the restricted Dennis Dodge Stakes in his last start, Music of My Soul could start as the favorite in the $65,000 Gottstein Futurity on the final day of the meeting, Sept. 23. Music of My Soul had been winless in three starts before breaking through with a 3 3/4-length victory in the Dennis Dodge. He ran six furlongs in 1:09.25 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 72 – the fastest race by a 2-year-old at the meeting.

“He’s very similar to Noosa Beach in that Noosa, in his 2-year-old season, he was on a similar path,” Harwood said. “I started Noosa for $12,500 – it was a lot easier, and boom, he wins – while this colt had to start in the upper echelon. But they matured the same way, they’re real big and growthy and had to figure out how to uses those long legs. They won the same race at 2 for their first stakes win. So they’re starting along the same path. We’ll see.”

Harwood purchased yet another full brother to Noosa Beach at the Washington Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association’s annual summer yearling sale early this month. The price was $55,000. A year earlier, Ken Alhadeff paid $82,000 for Music of My Soul.

“He looks exactly like Noosa Beach,” Harwood said of the yearling. “He’s dark brown, with a white star on his head. He’s big, he’s got long legs. It’s the athleticism I was looking for, and both Music of My Soul and this one have that look to them. I bought this one for a syndicate – there are six owners, all my clients now, and each of us put up $10,000. Our limit was $60,000, and everyone was absolutely delighted that we got him for 55.”

Paxton active as Keeneland seller

Jerre Paxton of Northwest Farms, one of the region’s leading breeders, was active this past week at Keeneland. He sold a colt by Tapit, from the Gone West mare Clear in the West, for $390,000, and a colt by Medaglia d’Oro, from the Washington champion mare Shampoo, for $360,000.

The Tapit colt is a half-brother to Rainier Ice, who was disqualified from an Emerald Downs stakes victory in 2011 and finished a close second behind Winning Machine in the Budweiser Handicap earlier this summer. The Medaglia d’Oro colt is a half-brother to Blueberry Smoothie, who was second in the Angie C Stakes in her last start and could start as the favorite in the rescheduled Barbara Shinpoch Stakes on Sept. 22.

Another yearling consigned by Paxton, a Candy Ride filly out of Emerald stakes-winning mare Elusive Horizon, failed to reach her auction reserve of $85,000. Paxton in recent years has campaigned several horses at Emerald that failed to meet his asking price at Keeneland, and the Candy Ride filly could make her racing debut locally in 2013.