08/30/2013 2:56PM

Emerald Downs: Two breeds share spotlight


AUBURN, Wash. – A Quarter Horse riding a 10-race winning streak and a stakes-winning Thoroughbred looking to snap a losing skid will share top billing Sunday on a nine-race card at Emerald Downs.

Chicks Special Angel, who last tasted defeat more than two years ago, headlines the $54,000 Bank of America Emerald Downs Championship Challenge for Quarter Horse at 440 yards, while Winning Machine, a four-time stakes winner at Emerald, tops the co-feature for Thoroughbreds, a $30,000 no-conditions allowance at one mile.

First post is 2 p.m. Pacific, and racing resumes Monday with a holiday card, also starting at 2.

Chicks Special Angel has developed into the fastest Quarter Horse in the Northwest after beginning her career with a series of lackluster efforts at Portland Meadows. She was 23-1 when she won a maiden race in 2010, and then dropped her first three starts against winners before launching her winning streak with a victory at Prineville in July 2011.

Owned by Miguel Sanguino and trained by Juan Sanguino, who has dominated Quarter Horse racing at Emerald Downs this summer, Chicks Special Angel has been brilliant in two local starts, taking an allowance race by two lengths in June and then cruising to a fast two-length score Aug. 17 in a qualifying trial for the Emerald Downs Championship Challenge. Regular rider Debbie Hoonan will be aboard Chicks Special Angel, who drew post 9 in a field of 10.

Vodka No Ice, who finished second in this event in 2011 and third in 2012, could offer a stern challenge to the likely favorite. Vodka No Ice, who will break from the outside post, has won 2 of 3 starts this year, including a final at Boise in early July.

In stark contrast to Chicks Special Angel, Winning Machine has gone winless since June 2012, when he captured the one-mile Budweiser Handicap at Emerald Downs. He has lost eight in a row since then and finished 10th in the Grade 3 Longacres Mile in his most recent start. But Winning Machine will face an easier assignment Sunday against allowance runners, and he will have a new pilot, as Isaias Enriquez steps in for Javier Matias.

Winning Machine will break from post 5 in a six-horse field, with the speedy Rocky’s Quest on the outside and a trio of sharp challengers – Assessment, Until You, and Saddle­ranch – to his left. The other entrant, Johnski, finished third in a $25,000 optional claimer in his last start and figures to have a hard time keeping up with stablemate Winning Machine.