07/27/2012 4:11PM

Emerald Downs: Scat Daddybaby the one to catch in Premio Esmeralda Stakes

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AUBURN, Wash. – While many 2-year-olds are still taking baby steps at Emerald Downs, a group of the most promising will be put to an early test Sunday in the $50,000 Premio Esmeralda Stakes for colts and geldings. The six-furlong sprint is the eighth of nine races on a card that begins at 2 p.m. Pacific.

Scat Daddybaby, a flashy winner in his only start, figures to attract the most support in the wagering, and for good reason. He boasts an impeccable pedigree – he’s by Scat Daddy out of the stakes-winning mare Bianconi Baby – and will be handled by Juan Gutierrez, Emerald Downs’s leading rider, for Washington Hall of Fame trainer Jim Penney. What’s more, Scat Daddybaby worked an eye-catching six furlongs last week in 1:11.20. All signs point to a sharp effort in his second start.

Scat Daddybaby led throughout in his maiden victory and figures to employ similar tactics in the Premio Esmeralda. He drew the inside post in a field of eight, a precarious spot if he breaks slowly. Others who could contest the pace include Gilmore, a gate-to-wire maiden winner in his last start; Cariboo Road, who finished second behind Gilmore after going to his knees at the start; and Master’s Bluff, who captured a restricted stakes race from just off the pace in his most recent outing.

With a fairly quick pace in the offing, the late-running Music of My Soul will merit a long look from handicappers. A son of leading Northwest stallion Harbor the Gold, Music of My Soul is bred to play a leading role – he’s a full brother to Noosa Beach, an 11-time stakes winner at Emerald Downs. Trained by Doris Harwood, who also conditions Noosa Beach, Music of My Soul finished fifth in his debut, a misleading result considering his poor trip. Music of My Soul ran into an impenetrable wall of horses in the final 100 yards and likely would have won with any luck. Leslie Mawing has the riding assignment.

As promising as Scat Daddybaby and Music of My Soul seem to be, the most royally bred of all is Finallygotabently, a Northwest Farms homebred by Bernardini from Washington champion 2-year-old Smarty Deb.

Finallygotabently closed smartly to finish second behind Scat Daddybaby over 4 1/2 furlongs in his debut, but was a disappointing second as the 3-10 favorite in his subsequent start. Trainer Tom Wenzel is having a terrific meeting, winning with 31 percent of his starters, and Finallygotabently could find his best stride quickly under Gallyn Mitchell.