04/28/2011 2:35PM

Emerald Downs: You Me and Ema B tries to show she has right stuff for stakes

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AUBURN, Wash. – After a few lean years for trainer Margo Lloyd, there’s hope in 2011 for a breakthrough, maybe even a long-awaited stakes victory. Her stable star, You Me and Ema B, a 4-year-old filly, will make her second career start Saturday at Emerald Downs, and if she can build off a scintillating maiden victory last summer, Lloyd might be onto something big.

You Me and Ema B was the longest price on the board when she overwhelmed a group of $30,000 maiden claimers in her debut Aug. 1. Allowed to set a walking pace under jockey Deborah Hoonan-Trujillo, You Me And Ema B quickened when set down for the drive and then found a third gear to complete 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16. After cruising through a 46.40-second half-mile, You Me and Ema B blazed the final 2 1/2 furlongs in 29.60 seconds.

Her effort earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 77, the second-fastest race by a maiden at Emerald in 2010, and the same figure given to Clair Annette for her victory in the Boeing Handicap later that day.

But some nicks and dings – a cut to her hock suffered during the race, an illness afterward – kept You Me and Ema B sidelined for the rest of the 2010 meeting.

She has trained well for her first start after the layoff, Lloyd said, but now You Me and Ema B must jump into treacherous waters, facing four talented rivals in an $18,600 allowance race over 5 1/2 furlongs. Hoonan-Trujillo, whose father Patrick is part of the filly’s ownership group, will be back in the saddle.

“I would have liked to have one more workout in her,” Lloyd said. “I was conservative in her training this spring with all the off tracks we’ve had, but she worked out of the gate nicely last week. She’s been going well.”

Her fiercest challenge could come from Include the Baby, a similarly impressive maiden winner last April, and then a close second after setting the pace in her first start against winners two months later. Include the Baby, trained by Jim Penney, has been working brilliantly for her return from a 10-month layoff, and You Me and Ema B also must contend with Include the Baby’s stablemate Private Fortune, stakes-placed in each of the past two seasons.

“The race came up really tough,” Lloyd said. “I guess I’ll find out what kind of horse I have.”