05/04/2012 4:04PM

Emerald Downs: You Me and Ema B will sit out Hastings Handicap

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AUBURN, Wash. -- You Me and Ema B will be noticeably absent when Emerald Downs kicks off its stakes schedule next weekend. The speedy mare with the alliterative name was expected to be one of the favorites in the $50,000 Hastings Handicap, a race she captured last year, but interruptions in her training schedule have left You Me and Ema B in less than optimal condition.

“She’s a little behind schedule,” trainer Margo Lloyd said Friday morning of You Me and Ema B, whose last official workout was on April 22. “I didn’t want to train her too much on a bad track, so she probably won’t be going in the Hastings. She’ll probably go in the next one.”

That would be the Washington State Legislators Stakes on June 10, the final sprint-distance event for older fillies and mares on Emerald’s stakes calendar.

You Me and Ema B has won 4 of her 6 lifetime starts for Lloyd, 64, who took out her first trainer’s license in 1985 at Longacres. She has a handful of other horses, but You Me and Ema B is the undeniable meal ticket. Prior to 2011, Lloyd had never saddled a stake winner. She did it twice last summer with the same horse.

Lloyd paid $8,700 for You Me and Ema B at the Washington mixed sale in October 2008. After some setbacks during her 2-year-old year, the Washington-bred daughter of You and I won her only start in 2010, and then captured 3 of 5 starts last summer. Now 5, she has just six career starts.

“I’ve been kind of cautious,” Lloyd said. “She did have surgery last September for a non-displaced chip on her ankle. That is doing fine, but then she got a little body sore, probably because of the track.”

With rain a persistent springtime event in the Northwest, Lloyd was forced to cancel some scheduled work for You Me and Ema B in an effort to keep her away from the mud.

“Last year, she never even worked on an off track,” Lloyd said. “The first time she ran fast on an off track was in the Hastings. I haven’t been able to pick and choose like that this year.”

When she does make it back, You Me and Ema B will have to earn her stripes in a competitive division. Class Included, Emerald’s leading 3-year-old filly last year, dominated an allowance sprint in her first start of 2012.

“I think it’s a nice division. Class Included is a very nice horse,” Lloyd said. “When Ema shows up, she should be right there with them.”