07/12/2013 3:55PM

Emerald Downs: Stopshoppingdebbie in Kent Handicap spotlight

Erin Palmer/Emerald Downs
Stopshoppingdebbie, winning the Seattle Handicap in her second start, looks much the best in the Kent on Sunday.

AUBURN, Wash. – Stopshoppingdebbie, a budding superstar in the Pacific Northwest, will shoot for her fourth victory in as many starts Sunday in the $50,000 Kent Handicap at Emerald Downs. First post for the 11-race card is 2 p.m. Pacific.

The Kent, for fillies, is the first half of a Sunday stakes doubleheader for 3-year-olds, and with only three other starters in the field, Stopshoppingdebbie is likely to be a prohibitive favorite as she attempts to carry her speed over 1 1/16 miles.

The outlook is far more muddled in the $50,000 Seattle Slew Handicap for colts and geldings. While only six horses were entered, the field includes five stakes winners. Music of My Soul, who held on gamely to win the one-mile Coca-Cola Handicap in his last start, figures to start as the favorite, with Worldventurer also attracting considerable interest.

But all eyes will be on Stopshoppingdebbie on Sunday following her powerful 6 3/4-length victory June 23 in the Irish Day Handicap. She’ll start from the outside post under regular rider Rocco Bowen, with stablemates Goin to the Window and Blueberry Smoothie and speedy claimer Strange Luck to her inside.

A homebred for Jerre Paxton’s Northwest Farms, Stopshoppingdebbie is by Curlin, from the stakes-winning Wild Again mare Taste the Passion. That represents exceptional breeding for a horse tucked away in Washington, and Stopshoppingdebbie has looked the part of a horse who could be competitive against better. If she prevails in the Kent, Paxton and trainer Tom Wenzel may have to look farther afield for her next challenge, or perhaps try males in the $65,000 Emerald Derby on Aug. 11. Emerald Downs officials have said they will not conduct a stakes race with fewer than four starters, and aside from her stablemates, Stopshoppingdebbie is running out of foils.

Goin to the Window could spring an upset if Stopshoppingdebbie fails to approximate her previous efforts. She, too, was bred by Paxton to be a first-class filly – she’s by Tapit, from the Indian Charlie mare Queens Full. Goin to the Window captured the Angie C Stakes last summer and has finished second behind Stopshoppingdebbie in her two starts in 2013.

In the Seattle Slew, Music of My Soul will seek a fourth consecutive stakes victory. He ended 2012 with wins in the Dennis Dodge Stakes, a sprint restricted to Washington-breds, and then the season-ending Gottstein Futurity at one mile. After finishing a close second in an allowance race in his first outing this year, Music of My Soul returned to win the Coca-Cola in front-running fashion and could deliver an even stronger effort in his third start of the year.

Music of My Soul, by Harbor the Gold, from the Basket Weave mare Julia Rose, is a full brother to Noosa Beach, an 11-time stakes winner at Emerald Downs, and like his big brother, Music of My Soul has improved steadily though the midway point of his 3-year-old campaign. Isaias Enriquez, who was up for his Coca-Cola score, has the riding assignment for trainer Doris Harwood.

Worldventurer should be a worthy challenger following his third-place finish in the Coca-Cola. He captured a pair of restricted stakes at Sam Houston over the winter, and then finished third behind Illinois Derby winner Departing in the one-mile Texas Heritage Stakes in March. Trained at Emerald Downs by Blaine Wright, Worldventurer is likely to be closer to the pace after getting shuffled back going into the first turn in his last start. Mike Man’s Gold, Valiant Flame, Finallygotabentley, and Bound to Win complete the field.