05/10/2013 4:00PM

Emerald Downs notes: Plus One the latest good one for David Mowat


AUBURN, Wash. – David Mowat, whose racing roots are in western Washington, will enjoy a homecoming of sorts Sunday when his speedy filly Plus One starts in the $50,000 Hastings Handicap at Emerald Downs.

Born in Seattle and the owner of a regional construction company that builds highways and bridges, Mowat, 75, has been in the breeding and racing game for decades. He owned Teanaway Ranch in Cle Elum, Wash., his first breeding venture, before moving his base to Kentucky in 1989. Among the notable horses Mowat has bred are 1996 Belmont Stakes winner Editor’s Note, and Hold That Tiger, the champion 2-year-old in Europe in 2003.

Mowat also races horses. He campaigned Sala De Oro, the champion 2-year-old filly at Emerald Downs in 2003, and has horses with various trainers across the country. In an effort to ramp up his local presence, Mowat recently sent a couple of stakes-caliber runners to Tim McCanna, a 10-time training champion at Emerald Downs.

“He sent me a nice 3-year-old filly from Wesley Ward named Sunset Time for the filly division,” McCanna said. “And he sent Plus One out from Grant Forster to compete in the stakes. I think she tore a quarter off leaving the gate in her last start at Oaklawn, but she’s doing fine. She’s been out here about 10 days and she’s ready to roll.”

Plus One would seem to have a big shot in the Hastings. By Bluegrass Cat from the Miswaki mare License Fee, Plus One has taken the measure of some talented horses in her 11-race career, with a turf-sprint stakes victory at Penn National her most notable achievement. She has won races on grass and artificial surfaces and ran third in a stakes on the dirt at Mountaineer. McCanna said she has adapted quickly to her new surroundings.

“She’s a good-looking little horse,” he said. “She likes to train. Grant had her pretty much ready, and David Lopez blew her out the other day. He likes her. It looks like her style will fit this racetrack, and we’re going to take a crack at them.”

Which Royal Moses will show up?

Royal Moses began her 4-year-old season with an emphatic victory in a first-level optional claimer just two weeks ago. But because the Hastings Handicap field is so deep, Royal Moses is likely to be one of the longest shots on the board Sunday, despite having been stakes-placed five time.

The issue with Royal Moses, trainer Tim Harder said, is her utter unpredictability. But the late-running Royal Moses has loads of ability, and Harder said there may be more in the tank.

“We’d like to think so,” he said Thursday. “Sometimes handicappers think they know more than they do, but this is the opposite: You can see in her form that she’s really sketchy. You can see talent there, but not always taking the right route to get it done. The mission is to cross the wire in front, and she lacks a certain professionalism at times. But I liked her first race, and she’s doing well right now. I wouldn’t be surprised if she ran really well. She has been close to Exclusive Diva in the past, and she could be close again.”

Royal Moses has won 2 of 10 starts and earned $73,847, but the big prize has eluded her. She has finished second in a stakes race five times and has yet to finish in front of division leader Exclusive Diva in five attempts. Harder said a stakes victory could be forthcoming, if not Sunday, then somewhere down the road.

“Exclusive Diva is a bona-fide really nice horse,” Harder said. “Royal Moses does have ability, and she’s got a race into her. We squeezed a work into her as well, which seemed to sharpen her. It seems like she’s right where I want her. But like I say, she’s been consistently inconsistent.”

Camp Granada has tough task

Sunday’s Hastings Handicap undercard includes a fascinating allowance sprint for older horses in which Camp Granada will make his long-awaited return to the races. A homebred for the president of Emerald Downs, Ron Crockett, Camp Granada last competed in July 2011 before being idled by injury.

Prior to his mishap, Camp Granada served notice with a powerful maiden victory in which he opened an eight-length lead at the top of the stretch and coasted to the finish line, completing the six furlongs in 1:08.83.

“He’s training really well, finally,” trainer Frank Lucarelli said. “It’s taken a long time. We gave him plenty of time to get good.”

On April 25, in one of his final workouts before his season debut Sunday, Camp Granada went six furlongs in 1:10.80 and did it easily, Lucarelli said.

“I just let the rider sit on ’em and try to get horses to finish,” Lucarelli said of his workout routine. “A lot of the good horses I’ve had could work pretty fast, pretty easy. This horse works that way – he works like a good horse. The time was fast, but it wasn’t a stressful work for him.”

Camp Granada is likely to be tested by Polish Dollar, who overpowered a field of allowance runners in his last start and has 11 victories, and Drift King, a consistent mid-level claimer in Southern California for much of his career.

“I think the horse has a lot of talent; he has a chance to be a real good horse,” Lucarelli said of Camp Granada. “But that being said, a horse with three lifetime starts hooking into a Polish Dollar and those – he’s going to have to be a damn good horse to come off the bench and run with them. But he’s a really good horse, and Ron Crockett has done right by him. There’s no reason he can’t be a good 5-year-old.”