08/03/2012 3:01PM

Emerald Downs: Stakes winner Valid Vixen Queen has work cut out in Angie C


AUBURN, Wash. – Valid Vixen Queen won a stakes race in her last start but figures to be a longshot Sunday in the $50,000 Angie C Stakes at Emerald Downs. The meeting’s first unrestricted stakes for 2-year-old fillies is the eighth race on a nine-race card that begins at 2 p.m. Pacific.

Valid Vixen Queen raced to a front-running victory last month in the Son of Briartic, a stakes restricted to progeny of nominated stallions, and with only four rivals of dubious quality to deal with, she had no problem getting to the front under jockey Debbie Hoonan and staying there. Valid Vixen Queen won the five-furlong race by four lengths and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 31.

She will swim in much deeper waters in the six-furlong Angie C, with a pair of promising Northwest Farms homebreds likely to dominate the wagering. Goin to the Window and Blueberry Smoothie raced to eye-catching maiden victories in their only previous starts, and one of the two is likely to prevail in a six-horse field. But which one? Blueberry Smoothie was assigned a Beyer Speed Figure of 66 for her victory, yet Goin to the Window, who got a 52, might have been more impressive.

Both fillies are trained by Tom Wenzel, who was winning at a 30 percent clip (18 for 60) through the first 52 days of Emerald Downs’s 81-day meeting. Both were ridden in their debut races by Juan Gutierrez, the track’s leading rider.

Handicappers will take note that Gutierrez has opted to ride Goin to the Window on Sunday. In her victorious unveiling, Goin to the Window stumbled after the break, recovered to track the leaders down the backstretch, circled the field on the turn and coasted to a 5 3/4-length victory while running the final furlong in 11.82 seconds.

Blueberry Smoothie’s performance was strikingly similar. Gutierrez needed several jumps to get her straightened away, and then Blueberry Smoothie rallied widest of all to take the lead turning for home. She kicked away to win by more than four lengths while covering 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.22. Gallyn Mitchell, who has won more races at Emerald than any other jockey, has the mount.

While the Wenzel pair could have a stranglehold on the Angie C, they will have to catch both Valid Vixen Queen and the speedy Song of Seattle, who sprinted to a long lead in her debut and then held off three rivals on a sloppy track. Conditioned by Emerald’s leading trainer, Frank Lucarelli, Song of Seattle will be ridden by William Antongeorgi III. Hoonan will be back aboard Valid Vixen Queen for trainer Neil Knapp.