09/01/2012 2:04PM

Emerald Downs: Who's Your Next Ex the one to catch in Monday claimer


AUBURN, Wash. – A pair of claiming races – a $10,000 mile for older horses and a $12,500 sprint for fillies and mares – will serve as co-feature races Monday at Emerald Downs. First post on the nine-race holiday card is 2 p.m. Pacific.

The $10,000 claimer, race 7, attracted seven runners, and it would be easy to make a winning argument for any of the seven. Who’s Your Next Ex is an experienced and consistent miler and could start as the favorite, though Zagreus, Tapadero, and Ontheshadyside will be popular in the wagering.

Trained by Charles Essex for most of his 26-race career, Who’s Your Next Ex has finished in the top three in 10 of 11 starts at one mile. He will be making his first start following a two-month layoff, and judging by his string of fast workouts, the freshening may have done him some good. While he can be effective from a stalking position, Who’s Your Next Ex is best on the front end, and with no obvious speed horse in the field is likely to set the pace and try to hold on late.

Zagreus had a less-than-ideal trip in his last start and came home fourth in the $12,500 claimer. Tapadero finished a fast-closing second in a $10,000 sprint in his most recent outing, while Ontheshadyside crushed a weak field of $7,500 claimers just eight days ago. Ontheshadyside figures to be closest to Who’s Your Next Ex in the early stages, with Zagreus, a front-running winner in a 6 1/2-furlong sprint Aug. 4, in close pursuit.

Single N Lovin It, 4 for 10 lifetime but unbeaten in her three sprint attempts, profiles as the horse to beat in the eighth race. In her most recent outing, the Frank Lucarelli trainee rallied smartly from off the pace to win a $7,500 claimer by nearly three lengths. Single N Lovin It, who spent most of the winter and spring competing in middle-distance races on the synthetic Tapeta at Golden Gate, has won two of her three starts since switching to shorter trips on the sandy dirt at Emerald Downs.

Single N Lovin It, a late-running sprinter, will have to catch speedy stablemate Cookies and Milk as well as Montelena. The latter won three of her first four starts, but has lost four in a row since a season-opening victory in April. Leslie Mawing, a distant second behind Juan Gutierrez in the Emerald rider standings heading into the final 10 days of the meeting, has the call on Single N Lovin It.