09/19/2013 4:20PM

Emerald Downs: Paxton-Wenzel fillies full of potential

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AUBURN, Wash. – While a $12,500 claimer for 3-year-old fillies will serve as the feature race Saturday at Emerald Downs, the day’s most anticipated race is the fourth, a six-furlong dash for maiden 2-year-old fillies. The eight-horse field includes five first-time starters and a pair of potential heavyweights for Jerre Paxton’s Northwest Farms. First post is 2 p.m. Pacific.

Paxton, a leading breeder in the Pacific Northwest for decades, has a tried-and-true approach to his racing and breeding operation: He keeps the best prospective broodmares while selling most of his colts, races his horses at his home track so he can watch them compete, and sends his broodmares to the leading sires in Kentucky. Paxton’s current stable star Stopshoppingdebbie is by Curlin from the stakes-winning mare Taste the Passion. Undefeated in five starts, Stopshoppingdebbie dominated the 3-year-filly division this summer, and Paxton’s two runners Saturday could have similar potential.

Both fillies – Timeless Pleasure and Quiet Wisdom – have been training smartly for trainer Tom Wenzel, and both boast flashy pedigrees. Timeless Pleasure is by Curlin from the Cox’s Ridge mare Salty Sal, and thus a half-sister to Puxa Saco, a graded-stakes-winning sprinter in Southern California and the dam of Emerald Downs stakes winner Exclusive Diva. Quiet Wisdom, by Pulpit, is the first foal from the Empire Maker mare Shehadmefromhello.

Wenzel said he’s excited to get started with both horses, particularly Timeless Pleasure, who was set to start earlier in the meeting before hitting a roadblock.

“We had her in a race three or four weeks ago, and then her appetite got a little ho-hum, she got sick, but we’ve got her back,” Wenzel said. “I like this filly a fair amount. She’s a half-sister to Puxa Saco, and that’s why Jerre bought this one. He didn’t breed her; he took a chance and bought her out of the Keeneland sale last year. I think both of my fillies will be running at the end. It depends on how much heart and try they have.”

Wenzel recruited Rocco Bowen to ride Timeless Pleasure and gave Nathan Chaves the call on Quiet Wisdom. They will start side-by-side – Timeless Pleasure in post 5 and Quiet Wisdom in post 6 – in a race with no obvious front-runner. Only three horses in the field have started, and among them, only Sanibel Harbor seems inclined to want the lead. Sanibel Harbor finished second in her debut after pressing the pace, and then was a troubled fourth in the restricted Northwest Farms Stakes last weekend.