07/20/2010 8:55AM

Frazier on a major roll at Emerald


AUBURN, Wash. – Ricky Frazier enters the racing week Thursday at Emerald Downs on a remarkable roll. The four-time Emerald riding champion has built a commanding lead in the standings through 52 days of the 89-day meeting, and he’s working on a five-race winning streak, though with an asterisk attached.

Frazier rode the winners of the fourth, sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth races last Sunday. That afforded him a chance to make history if he could win the 10th and final race aboard 7-1 shot Sky Tribute. In addition to tying the track record of six victories in a day shared by Kevin Radke and Seth Martinez, he was aiming to tie another record with victories in five consecutive races.

Sky Tribute did reach the wire first, but the effort went for naught when the filly was disqualified from first to fifth for causing interference inside the eighth pole. Instead of 69 victories for the meeting, Frazier has 68 – 14 more than runner-up Juan Gutierrez, who won three times Sunday, and 24 more than Gallyn Mitchell and Francisco Duran, who are tied for third.

Frazier, 45, will have only three chances to add to his total during Thursday’s seven-race card, a surprisingly quiet day for a man who was Emerald’s leading rider in wins, stakes wins, and earnings in 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2009. He’ll ride a first-time starter for trainer Roy Lumm in the fourth race, a $12,500 claimer for maiden 2-year-old fillies, and a couple of $4,000 claimers, probable wagering favorite He’s the Pitz in the fifth race, and Liv to Dance in the nightcap. First post is 6 p.m. Pacific.

Unless his punishment for the disqualification includes time off, Frazier’s week could pick up Sunday, when he is scheduled to ride Koala Beach in the $50,000 Seattle Slew Handicap for 3-year-olds, the final stepping-stone to the $75,000 Emerald Downs Derby on Aug. 15. Frazier guided Koala Beach to a nose victory over 3-5 favorite Posse Power in the Pepsi Cola Handicap in his last start.

Frazier’s haul last Sunday included stakes victories on 2-year-olds Couldabenthewhisky in the $30,000 Strong Ruler Stakes, and Carrabelle Harbor in the $30,000 Knights Choice Stakes, increasing his track-record total to 67 stakes victories.

At his current pace, Frazier would ride 116 winners this summer, well short of his record 157-win season in 2007 but probably more than enough to secure his fifth title in seven years.