07/07/2011 3:06PM

Emerald Downs: Wenzel sends out potent entry in sprint feature

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AUBURN, Wash. – Tom Wenzel, as hot as any trainer at Emerald Downs, will send out the powerful entry of Tasya and Rossi Reserve in Saturday’s feature race, a $20,000 claimer for 3-year-old fillies at 5 1/2 furlongs. The eight-race card begins at 2 p.m. Pacific.

Wenzel had a rather quiet 2010 at Emerald, saddling 15 winners and finishing in the middle of the pack in the trainer standings. But less than halfway through the current meeting, Wenzel, 45, is poised to meet or surpass his 2010 win total in the very near future, perhaps as early as Saturday.

No matter how one slices it, Wenzel is having a terrific meeting. He won with 13 of his first 40 starters through the July 4 holiday weekend. He has been first, second, or third with 68 percent of his starters. Elusive Noise, whom he trains for Jerre Paxton’s Northwest Farm, captured the Irish Day Handicap for 3-year-old fillies on June 26, and Rainier Ice, another Northwest Farms dynamo, finished first in a stakes race for colts and geldings on the same day but was disqualified for interference in the stretch.

Tasya and Rossi Reserve figure to dominate the wagering Saturday in a race that attracted just five entrants. Tasya is a committed front-runner, while Rossi Reserve is a hard-charging closer. In terms of running styles, Wenzel has his bases covered. If the pace is slow, Tasya will be formidable. If the pace is reckless, Rossi Reserve is the most likely winner from off the pace. Regular rider Juan Gutierrez has the call on Tasya. Leslie Mawing, Emerald’s leading rider, will handle Rossi Reserve.

Wings of Pegasus, trained by Vann Belvoir, also will be running late. Winless in three starts in 2011, Wings of Pegasus most recently finished third in a first-level allowance on June 19. She was stakes-placed twice last summer at 2. Javier Matias is the jockey.

Also in the field are Fairaway, a speedy Arizona-bred who captured a five-furlong allowance on the grass at Turf Paradise in early April but was a distant last in her Emerald debut three weeks ago, and Coatofmanycolors, an impressive maiden winner in May and then a non-threatening fifth in her first start against winners.

◗ In race 4, Wenzel is scheduled to saddle Exclusive Diva as she makes her career debut for Northwest Farms. A 2-year-old filly by Bernardini, from the stakes-winning mare Puxa Saco, Exclusive Diva figures to be a popular item in the wagering.