07/01/2010 12:00AM

Former reject Bijou Barrister just keeps winning


AUBURN, Wash. - Bijou Barrister, a horse his trainer literally couldn't give away, will shoot for his eighth consecutive victory Saturday in a prelude to Emerald Downs's annual fireworks spectacular. First post for the nine-race card is 5 p.m. Pacific. The final race goes shortly after 9 p.m., and the fireworks begin about an hour later.

Bijou Barrister, trained by Pat Mullens, is one of five horses entered in the second race, a $17,500 claimer for older horses at one mile. It's a substantial class jump for the 4-year-old Bijou Barrister, who won for $10,000 in his last start June 13. That also was his first try around two turns, and he handled the distance with aplomb, tracking a fast pace and rolling by the leaders to win by two lengths in 1:35.40.

Mullens and co-owners R.A. Larson and Ed Zenker purchased Bijou Barrister for $2,000 at the 2007 Washington Thoroughbred Breeders' Association summer yearling sale.

"He was just a nice, big colt, but we really didn't know that much about him," Mullens said. "We found out he had some problems as a baby, and it didn't look like he would even survive, let alone be a racehorse. His front leg was so crooked, it was pitiful.

"It's amazing the job they did with him, getting him ready. He's knees were awfully big, they still are, but so far, we've been able to hold him together."

Unraced at 2, and nothing special last year at 3, Bijou Barrister began his winning streak in a lowly $2,500 claimer at Portland Meadows last October.

"I tried to give him away as 2-year-old, and nobody wanted him," Mullens said. "He went sour again at 3, and I tried to give him away again. Nobody wanted him then, either, so I laid him off 35 or 40 days, and at the end of the meet up here, I stated training him and he was going good, so we took him to Portland and ran him for quarter thinking someone would take him. Well, he won and kept climbing the ladder, and he just keeps getting better and better."

Bijou Barrister will have a new rider, Inoel Beato, on Saturday. They could have their hands full with a Way Too Much, who has won his past two starts. "It's a pretty salty group he's in with, but he's good right now," Mullens said. "If we get enough speed in there, I think he'll run his race."