04/19/2013 3:35PM

Emerald Downs: You Me and Ema B raring to go off layoff

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Coady Photography
E Z Kitty won three stakes at the Turf Paradise meeting, including the Sun City (above), and figures tough on Sunday.

AUBURN, Wash. – You Me and Ema B is a friend of the people. She won her career debut by more than four lengths and returned $21.80 for a $2 win bet. She went gate to wire in her first stakes appearance and paid $23.20. And in her first attempt around two turns, in the Boeing Handicap in July 2011, she won by daylight and paid $16.

But then something went amiss with You Me and Ema B, and the mare, now 6, has been out of action for 20 months. She’ll return Sunday for trainer Margo Lloyd in the feature race at Emerald Downs, a $21,000 allowance sprint for older fillies and mares at 5 1/2 furlongs. And once again, she figures to offer terrific value in the wagering.

The field is small, only five horses, and most of the wagering will center on Exclusive Diva and E Z Kitty. Exclusive Diva was the fastest 3-year-old filly here last summer, winning two stakes races and capping the year with an overpowering allowance victory against older horses. E Z Kitty, who handed Emerald horse of the meeting Class Included her only local defeat last year, has been the toast of Turf Paradise this winter, winning three stakes races.

Lloyd said You Me and Ema B has been itching for a race since being returned to training in January. She had undergone surgery to remove chips from her ankles, and the recovery took longer than expected.

“She has arthroscopic surgery in September 2011,” Lloyd said. “She went through a swimming program at Pegasus, went through their rehab, but she wasn’t herself. She was a little stiff, so her breeder, Jenny Webber, and trainer, Sharon Ross, took care of her. We started her up in January, and she was real good from the get-go. There have been a lot of people involved with helping this horse out.”

You Me and Ema B has tactical speed. She drew the post 3, with Exclusive Diva on the rail and E Z Kitty breaking from the outside. Smokin’ Grey and Carrabelle Harbor complete the field.

“She’s sharp right now because she knows she’s in,” Lloyd said. “She’s been to the gate and the paddock a few times. She’s acting very positive. I hope she’ll relax and run like she used to. We don’t know. It’s a very tough and talented field. The one thing I will say about Ema: She’s about the classiest horse you’d ever want to be around. We almost bred her, but we gave her a chance to tell us what she wanted to do, and she seems to want to do this.”