08/10/2011 3:56PM

Emerald Downs: Owners looking for second-generation Washington Oaks


AUBURN, Wash. – Like mother, like daughter? The people responsible for the breeding and care of Class Included are hoping for something along those lines when their star 3-year-old filly starts as one of the favorites in the $65,000 Washington Oaks on Saturday at Emerald Downs.

Class Included, a homebred for Mike and Amy Feuerborn, is out of the Sky Classic mare A Classic Life, who captured the Washington Oaks in 2005, one of her four stakes victories at Emerald Downs. Six years down the road, A Classic Life has settled into a second career as a broodmare in Goshen, Ky., where she dropped her first foal, Class Included, in 2008.

A Classic Life was fast and versatile, traits that have been passed along. But while Class Included has never finished worse than second in six career starts, she goes into the Oaks with a two-race losing streak, having come up a neck short of Elusive Noise in the one-mile Irish Day Handicap, and then a length shy of Carrabelle Harbor in the 1 1/16-mile Kent Handicap. Mike Feuerborn said he has been thrilled with her efforts.

“What’s not to like, other than a length and a neck?” he said of Class Included, who will be ridden by Leslie Mawing for trainer Jim Penney. “She’s never been worse than second in her life. She’s what every owner hopes and dreams of. She tries her guts out, and she’s versatile. I’ve got every confidence that Leslie will do what he needs to do to get her close.”

A Classic Life was one of Feuerborn’s first big horses. Undefeated at 2, she was being pointed toward a possible start in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies before injuries scuttled those plans. She bounced back strongly at 3, winning the Washington Oaks – then featuring a $100,000 purse – by six lengths. She raced through her 4-year-old season, with trainer Grant Forster taking her to Southern California, Canada, Chicago, and finally to Churchill Downs and Oaklawn Park for two final starts on her way to the breeding shed. Overall, she won 7 of 19 starts and earned $201,285.

The Oaks victory was her signature moment, Feuerborn said, one he hopes Class Included can rewrite on Saturday. She worked a snappy 5 furlongs on Sunday, and it’s all systems go for the Oaks.

“I’m very hopeful that she runs a huge race and repeats what her mother did,” Feuerborn said. “That would bring me to tears, I’m sure.”