05/16/2011 8:49AM

Emerald: You Me and Ema B gives trainer first stakes win

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AUBURN, Wash. – You Me and Ema B splashed to a front-running victory Sunday in the $50,000 Hastings Handicap at Emerald Downs, affirming her status as a burgeoning star in the local filly and mare division and giving Margo Lloyd her first stakes victory in more than 20 years as a trainer.

“It feels wonderful,” said, Lloyd, 63, who took out her first license in 1985 at Longacres and has trained a small string of horses on and off ever since. “I was a nervous wreck.”

Overlooked at 10-1 despite a 2-for-2 career record, You Me and Ema B prevailed by a neck over Sweet Nellie Brown, who closed strongly after racing wide around the turn. Kimmyv, the 6-5 favorite, was another length back in third, followed by Sis’s Sis, Rewritten, Feeling Fancy, Crocodile Tuff, Dream Sweeper, Include the Baby, and No Flies On Doodle.

Ridden by Deborah Hoonan-Trujillo, You Me and Ema B dueled with No Flies on Doodle into the turn, opened a clear lead at the top of the stretch and held gamely. She ran six furlongs in 1:10.35 on a sloppy track and paid $23.20.

One of Lloyd’s earlier pupils, Ann’s Plan, was a half-sister to You Me and Ema B, and a happy relationship with Ann’s Plan prompted Lloyd to pay $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 in 2009, the Washington-bred daughter of You and I made her career debut last August, her only start of 2010, and won a first-level allowance April 30 in her first start of 2011.

Lloyd considered withdrawing You Me and Ema B from the Hastings after heavy rains Saturday night turned the track to a sea of mud. After working horses Sunday morning, Hoonan-Trujillo told Lloyd the surface wouldn’t be a problem. A few hours later, Lloyd had that long-awaited stakes victory.

“I’m so happy for her,” Hoonan-Trujillo said. “She’s such a good person, she treats the horses so well. Who else would have waited this long with this horse?”