05/17/2012 12:47PM

Emerald Downs: Outa Crown's speed stamps him dangerous despite class level


AUBURN, Wash. – Outa Crown, inexorably climbing the class ladder, will be the horse to beat Saturday in the feature race at Emerald Downs. One of nine races on a card beginning at 2 p.m. Pacific, the feature complements a full simulcast menu capped by the Preakness from Pimlico at about 3:18 p.m.

Outa Crown is a speedy 7-year gelding who was bred in Arizona and has done most of his racing in the Southwest. He was seen most recently in a restricted stakes race at Turf Paradise, and at 2-1, he was the betting favorite to boot. Outa Crown faded to finish third after getting used up in a speed duel through a sub-44-second half mile.

In his previous start, Outa Crown toyed with $4,000 claimers, running six furlongs in 1:08.56 to earn a Beyer Speed Figure of 86. Outa Crown earned an 83 Beyer in his previous start, a victory for $3,000, and that kind of speed should make him highly competitive Saturday against $12,500 claimers at Emerald.

Outa Crown will be making his second start for trainer Jonathan Nance, who claimed the horse April 1 out of his victory for $4,000. Overall, Outa Crown has won 6 of 40 lifetime starts while earning less than $1,000 a start. If he can take the biggest share of the $11,000 purse, it would be one of Outa Crown’s biggest paydays. Apprentice Eliska Kubinova has the riding assignment.

Set to tackle Outa Crown are Mr. Mad Max, Who’s Your Next Ex, Win Photos Will Do, Immigration, and Jiddaw, with the latter likely posing the biggest threat to the likely favorite.

Jiddaw has only two lifetime victories and is winless since being claimed for $16,000 in April 2011. But his recent performances at Golden Gate were encouraging, and he boasts strong human connections, with defending Emerald riding champion Leslie Mawing in the saddle for Tim McCanna, Emerald’s all-time leading trainer.

Immigration has a similar aversion to the winner’s circle. In fact, Immigration has failed to win in 30 consecutive starts spanning more than three years. But he always seems to give an honest effort, with nine runner-up finishes during the losing streak. Immigration has tactical speed, and he and jockey Jennifer Whitaker could be the first to make a move on Outa Crown, who almost assuredly will set the pace.

Mr. Mad Max could spring a mild upset if he’s ready for a top effort following an eight-month layoff. He won three times at Emerald last year for trainer Dan Markle, and regular rider Debbie Hoonan is back aboard.