08/03/2012 4:46PM

Emerald Downs: Wenzel has pair of royally bred aces for Angie C


AUBURN, Wash. – Thanks to his skills as a trainer, and in no small part to his affiliation with the region’s most prominent breeder, Tom Wenzel appears to hold a winning hand Sunday in the $50,000 Angie C Stakes at Emerald Downs. Wenzel will send out both Blueberry Smoothie and Goin to the Window, a pair of blue bloods with vast potential, in the meeting’s first serious test for 2-year-old fillies.

Only four other horses were entered to challenge the Wenzel pair, a nod to their ability, and also to the dearth of race-ready 2-year-olds just past the midway point of the meeting. Two of the challengers are maidens, and another, Valid Vixen Queen, is coming off a rather slow victory over four rivals in a restricted stakes race. The other starter, Song of Seattle, has a quick turn of foot and figures to set the pace, with Blueberry Smoothie and Goin to the Window in hot pursuit.

The Wenzel fillies, both homebreds for Jerre Paxton’s Northwest Farms, have the kind of pedigrees that would play at Saratoga or Del Mar but are seldom seen at Emerald Downs. Blueberry Smoothie is by Giant’s Causeway, who stands for $85,000 at Ashford Stud in Versailles, Ky., from the good race mare Shampoo, a five-time stakes winner at Emerald Downs.

Goin to the Window is by Tapit, who entered stud in 2005, stands for $125,000 at Gainesway in Lexington, Ky., and already has sired eight Grade 1 winners. Goin to the Window’s dam, Queens Full, won just once in 13 starts, and Goin to the Window is her first foal. Yet Wenzel, at this early stage, believes Goin to the Window is the more talented of the two fillies, both of whom raced to easy maiden victories in July under jockey Juan Gutierrez.

“She was a filly that we’ve liked, obviously, quite a bit,” Wenzel said of Goin to the Window, who overcame a stumbling start to prevail by nearly six lengths while powering through the final furlong in 11.82 seconds. “We expected her to run very well. You never know, but she had looked really strong in the morning, and she was able to do it in the afternoon, where she would drag a rider into a workout with another horse and have no trouble going on. What was impressive was, she kind of stumbled after a couple of strides, and Juan kind of gathered her, and then she circled the field and won without a whole lot of urging, really. It was visually impressive. She could be any kind of filly, really.”

“The other filly, I liked the horse, but I wasn’t as high on her, but she was ready and she made that race look easy. Juan had to ask her a little bit more for sure, but she looked very strong down the lane as well, when the running started. My opinion of the two is, I like them both quite a bit, but from what I’d seen in the morning, I think Goin to the Window is a little better, even if Blueberry Smoothie got a bigger number.”

Blueberry Smoothie was assigned a Beyer Speed Figure of 66 for her 4 3/4-length victory in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden race July 21, while Goin to the Window earned a 52 Beyer for her victory over five furlongs July 8. Gutierrez will ride Goin to the Window in the Angie C, a sign that perhaps Emerald’s leading jockey agrees with the trainer’s assessment.

Wenzel is realistic about the task at hand. The current crop of 2-year-old fillies has yet to distinguish itself, and it could be a year or more before the cream of the 2010 foal crop rises to the top.

“I don’t know what they were running against, if maybe the competition isn’t much, or if they’re just really good,” Wenzel said of his fillies. “I think we’ll find out more Sunday.”

Farther down the line, Wenzel could have a formidable pair when the races stretch around two turns. Goin to the Window is bred to run all day, and Shampoo, Blueberry Smoothie’s dam, won stakes from six furlongs to 1 1/16 miles, and put forth some big efforts at nine furlongs.

“Her body type isn’t total router,” Wenzel said of Blueberry Smoothie. “Shampoo was just a medium to smaller sized filly, but she was such a strong runner. This filly is not real big. She was a small thing back at Keeneland last September, and Jerry didn’t have a super high reserve on her. We ended up keeping her. So routing, we’ll see. I think both of these fillies should route pretty well.

“I actually think Blueberry Smoothie has more speed than Goin to the Window, but I think Goin to the Window has more talent. But us dumb trainers have been known to be wrong before.”