06/13/2013 5:10PM

Emerald Downs: Our Eagle Boy takes big drop in claimer


AUBURN, Wash. – A couple of horses on their way up the class ladder will tackle a handful of runners headed in the other direction Saturday in the feature race at Emerald Downs. The one-mile feature, a $7,500 claimer, attracted eight entrants, and Our Eagle Boy, one of the class droppers, is likely to be the favorite. First post for the nine-race card is 2 p.m. Pacific.

Our Eagle Boy has just two career victories, and those occurred during a four-week span during his 3-year-old year in 2011, when he followed a win in a maiden sprint with a front-running score in the restricted Chinook Pass Stakes for statebreds. But Our Eagle Boy, who is trained by Chris Stenslie for owners Triple L Stables and Marcus Martin, has been terrific in his three career route attempts. In addition to his Chinook Pass victory, he finished a close third in a $32,000 claimer last August and then was fourth, beaten less than two lengths, in the 1 1/16-mile Muckleshoot Tribal Classic in September.

Our Eagle Boy has yet to find his best stride in 2013, finishing last in each of his two starts after pressing the pace. He faced allowance runners in the first start, however, and $17,500 claimers in the second. His task Saturday is an easier one, though Our Eagle Boy will have to make do without his regular rider, Juan Gutierrez, who is taking the day off to attend his daughter’s college graduation in California. In his absence, Cassie Papineau will ride Our Eagle Boy, who drew post 6.

Bid for Pride and Lit’l in Din Boy could be the top threats to the likely favorite. Bid for Pride, who will break from the inside post under Rocco Bowen, has worked smartly through his conditions, beating $7,500 nonwinners-of-two company in his first start of the year and then blasting $7,500 nonwinners of three in his most recent outing May 27. The challenges for trainer Valerie Gibson multiply Saturday, however, as Bid for Pride tries open claimers and a route distance for the first time.

Lit’l in Din Boy is a lot like Bid for Pride, an improving horse trying to climb the ladder. The Doris Harwood trainee ended 2012 with consecutive victories at one mile, the latter in a $4,000 claimer, and began his 2013 season with a narrow loss in a $5,000 claimer at six furlongs.

The others in the field are He’s a Cruiser, El Gran Bebe, Showmethemoneyjim, Uzziah, and Snow On the River.