06/19/2008 11:00PM

Enumclaw Girl takes Simkins to new level


AUBURN, Wash. – Enumclaw Girl has shown a lot in just three races. She flashed enough precocity to win her only start last year at 2. She demonstrated enough class to win the six-furlong U. S. Bank Stakes in her first start this season. And she showed enough grit to look the talented Startjumpin Marnie in the eye through the length of the stretch before dropping a neck decision in the 6 1/2-furlong Federal Way Handicap here on May 31.

What she has not yet had the opportunity to show is an ability to win around two turns, but she will have her chance in Sunday’s $50,000 Irish Day Handicap at a mile.

“It’s a big test for her,” said trainer Rosie Simkins. “This race will have a big impact on what we will do with her for the rest of the season. To tell you the truth, though, I’ll be very surprised if she can’t get a mile. She just gets over the ground so fluidly, and she never seems to get tired. She might even be better around two turns.”

Simkins said she hasn’t altered Enumclaw Girl’s training pattern a great deal to prepare her for the task at hand.

“She has had a few more long gallops, but that’s about it,” she said. “She worked five furlongs in 58.20 last Thursday, so I decided not to work her again this week. I think she is plenty ready.”

Simkins cut her teeth in horse racing when she helped her father, Gary Quinsland, race horses at Northwest bush tracks as a girl. She served her apprenticeship with trainer Jimmy Iselin at Monmouth Park in New Jersey during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

“I was with Jimmy as a groom and exercise rider for six years,” she said. “I learned a lot and met a lot of people, and I had a lot of fun. Jimmy had Stutz Blackhawk and Crafty Prospector during that time, and he sent me with them when they raced at other tracks. Jimmy knew I didn’t drink or do drugs, so he trusted me.”

Upon returning to the Northwest, Simkins took out her trainer’s license at Portland Meadows and raced mainly at Yakima Meadows until Longacres closed in 1992. She trained Arabians until Emerald Downs opened in 1996, and has campaigned at Emerald in each of the track’s 13 seasons. She had her best season last year, when she won with 8 of her 36 starters (22 percent), and got her first Emerald stakes win courtesy of Enumclaw Girl in this year’s U. S. Bank.

Naturally Perfect a solid newcomer

Among Enumclaw Girl’s most intriguing challengers in the Irish Day is Naturally Perfect, who ran fifth of eight when she made her Emerald Downs debut for trainer Kathy Schenk in the Federal Way.

“I thought she ran well considering that she had just shipped up here,” said Schenk. “The distance was probably short of her best, and she got dirt in her face for the first time, which made her throw her head on the turn. She finished well, though, and overall I was encouraged.”

Naturally Perfect, a daughter of Wild Event who races for prominent California owners Theresa and Edward DeNike, raced five times in California before shipping here. She graduated in her second start at the maiden $20,000 level at Golden Gate in January and came right back to defeat $16,000 winners. After a break, she came back to finish second in a one-mile allowance race on the Bay Meadows turf course, then ran a distant fourth of six in the 1 1/16-mile Bay Meadows Oaks in April.

“I watched tapes of all of her races, and I was impressed with how much of a fighter she was,” said Schenk. “She got in a lot of trouble, especially in the grass race, but she kept digging in. She is a very tough filly.”

Naturally Perfect prepped for the Irish Day with a bullet five-furlong drill in 58.80 last Saturday under rider Leslie Mawing.

“She worked quite a bit faster than she did before the Federal Way, so maybe she is settling in here and feeling more comfortable,” said Schenk. “I hope she will move forward in this race. The owners are willing to leave her with me for the whole meeting if she runs well, so I’m doing my best to make sure she does.”

Call on Carson headed back

Call on Carson was due to arrive back at Emerald Downs this weekend after a three-race campaign at Bay Meadows and Golden Gate, according to trainer Dan Markle. Call on Carson, who won the Auburn Stakes and the Pepsi Cola Handicap here last season as a 3-year-old, ran fourth, fifth, and fourth in three Northern California sprints against extremely tough company. He boosted his Beyer Speed Figures in each start, and closed with a rush to be beaten only3 1/2 lengths by Bonfante in his most recent outing, last Saturday’s $75,000 Oakland Handicap at six furlongs.

“I felt kinda sorry for him after I entered him, because that race came up really salty,” said Markle. “He came flying at the end, though, and he just missed catching Vicarino for third. He seems to be coming around.”

Markle said Call on Carson will race next in the $50,000 Governor’s Handicap at 6 1/2 furlongs on July 6.

Estrada to miss six weeks

Jockey J.C. Estrada broke his collarbone in a spill in last Sunday’s final race and is expected to miss about six weeks.

Sweeping AA, who was ridden by Matt Hagerty, broke down and fell on the turn in Sunday’s nightcap. Estrada’s mount, Miss Gold Pacific, tripped over the fallen horse and unseated her rider. Hagerty and Miss Gold Pacific escaped unscathed, but Sweeping AA was euthanized after breaking a leg.