08/02/2012 3:14PM

Emerald Downs: Versatility may boost Sis's Sis


AUBURN, Wash. – Sis’s Sis, a two-time stakes winner, headlines the feature race Saturday at Emerald Downs. A $32,000 claimer for fillies and mares at 6 1/2 furlongs, the race attracted five entrants, and each of the five has a realistic chance to win it. First post for the nine-race card is 2 p.m. Pacific.

Sis’s Sis will be making just her second start of 2012. She returned from a seven-month layoff to win a $25,000 claimer by six lengths on a sloppy track June 23, burnishing her reputation as a superior mudder. But Sis’s Sis, a 5-year-old by Cahill Road, has four victories on fast surfaces as well, and while she went gate to wire in her last start, she has done some of her best work from just off the pace. That versatility could serve her well in what figures to be a cat-and-mouse game with the equally speedy Perfect Pie. Regular rider Juan Gutierrez will handle Sis’s Sis for trainer Jim Penney.

Perfect Pie captured a pair of $20,000 claiming sprints to kick off the Emerald meeting, but has lost three in a row and was a distant third as the 3-2 favorite in her last start. But Perfect Pie may have needed that race following a seven-week layoff, and with only Sis’s Sis to worry about in the early going, she should be able to dictate slower early fractions Saturday while saving some energy for the stretch. Perfect Pie will break from post 4 under Debbie Hoonan, with Sis’s Sis next door in the three hole.

Cielator, a lightly raced 4-year-old, is another viable contender. Trained by Junior Coffey, who was victorious with 8 of his first 24 starters at the meeting, Cielator rallied from midpack to win her Emerald Downs debut June 3 at the same distance and for the same claiming price as Saturday’s race. She was off the board in a subsequent start in the one-mile Boeing Handicap last month. Jorge Rosales will ride.

The other two starters – Seventyprcentcocoa and Maggie’s Special – ensure that the betting will be spread out across the board. Both are coming off recent victories in $25,000 claiming sprints. Seventyprcentcocoa overcame a troubled trip to prevail in her last start and has worked forwardly since then for trainer Blaine Wright, while Maggie’s Special earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 74 for her victory July 21, the best last-race Beyer in Saturday’s field. Apprentice Eliska Kubinova will handle Maggie’s Special for trainer Allen Gideon, and Leslie Mawing will ride Seventyprcentcocoa.