08/08/2013 3:53PM

Emerald Downs: Washington Oaks another battle among Wenzel trio

Erin Palmer/Emerald Downs
Stopshoppingdebbie goes for her fifth straight win in the Washington Oaks.

AUBURN, Wash. – Much as they have in previous stakes races at Emerald Downs this summer, stablemates Stopshoppingdebbie, Goin to the Window, and Blueberry Smoothie are expected to dominate the proceedings Saturday in the $65,000 Washington Oaks, the meeting’s traditional championship for 3-year-old fillies. The 10-race card begins at 2 p.m. Pacific.

The three fillies, all homebreds for Jerre Paxton’s Northwest Farms and trained by Tom Wenzel, have had a stranglehold on the division since the first stakes race, the 6 1/2-furlong Seattle Handicap in late May. Stopshoppingdebbie has been the marquee attraction, running her career record to 4 for 4 with victories in the Seattle, the one-mile Irish Day Handicap, and then the 1 1/16-mile Kent Handicap on July 14. Goin to the Window has been the runner-up each time, with the late-running Blueberry Smoothie coming home third.

Of the $150,000 in purse money paid out in 3-year-old filly stakes at the meeting, Paxton has pocketed $136,154 of it. Only five horses were entered to compete in the Washington Oaks, and Paxton could add another $58,500 to his haul if his fillies run 1-2-3 yet again.

Most of the betting in the 1 1/8-mile Oaks is likely to focus on Stopshoppingdebbie and Goin to the Window, who waged a furious duel in the Kent Handicap before Stopshoppingdebbie prevailed by a head at 1-5.

Juan Gutierrez, the regular rider on Goin to the Window, has tried a little bit of everything to get past Stopshoppingdebbie, so far to no avail. In the Seattle Handicap, Gutierrez made an early bid for the lead, charging through an opening near the three-eighths pole to take command, but his filly was no match for Stopshoppingdebbie through the final furlong.

In the Irish Day, Gutierrez elected to sit back and make one run, a strategy that looked to be paying off until Stopshoppingdebbie found another gear at the top of the stretch and kicked away to win by nearly seven lengths. And in the Kent, Gutierrez placed Goin to the Window alongside her rival on the front end, and after setting a slow pace tried to outsprint her to the wire. She missed by a head.

Stopshoppingdebbie seems most likely to set the pace in the Oaks for jockey Rocco Bowen, though Goin to the Window could again be an early presence if that’s how Gutierrez chooses to play it. But a fast pace could be detrimental to both fillies and set things up for Blueberry Smoothie, never worse than third in six career starts, or perhaps Beautranda, who finished second in an allowance sprint in her Emerald Downs debut July 4.