09/04/2006 11:00PM

Gottstein likely next for Lads' top two

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AUBURN, Wash. - Trainer Aubrey Villyard said that Wild Cycle and Pirates Deputy, the one-two finishers in Saturday's $65,000 WTBA Lads Stakes for 2-year-old colts and geldings, will both be pointed toward the $100,000 Gottstein Futurity at 1 1/16 miles on Sept. 30.

Their fees to run in the race, however, are very different. Wild Cycle, who was made eligible for the Northwest Race Series as a yearling for a fee of $500, will get into the futurity by paying $500 to enter and another $500 to start. Pirates Deputy, who was not made eligible to the Northwest Race Series, will have to be supplemented to the futurity at a cost of $10,000.

"At least he has earned his way," said Villyard, whose wife, Sue, owns Pirates Deputy. "He got $11,700 for running second in the Lads. Even so, we're barely breaking even with this horse so far."

Pirates Deputy was supplemented to the Emerald Express for $4,000 and to the Lads for $5,000. Adding the $10,000 supplemental fee for the Gottstein, the supplemental fees nearly eat up Pirates Deputy's $22,187 in earnings.

Aubrey and Sue Villyard say they wish they had nominated Pirates Deputy to the Northwest Race Series, which consists of seven races for 2-year-olds and four more for 3-year-olds with purses totaling $675,000. It wasn't such an easy call, however, when the deadline for nominating yearlings to the series rolled around last Dec. 31.

"He was such a big yearling we thought we would be lucky just to get him started at 2," said Sue Villyard. "Then as it turned out, he was our first 2-year-old to be ready to run. He just surprised us."

Financial considerations aside, Aubrey Villyard was thrilled to saddle the top two finishers in the Lads. It was only a couple of years ago that he collected his first Emerald Downs stakes win with Charming Colleen. He added another local stakes win with Random Memo last year, and Wild Cycle gave him his third on Saturday. Of the three, Wild Cycle's win was by far the most surprising, because he overcame post 12 to win at odds of 47-1 under longshot king Juan Gutierrez.

"I really thought he had no chance after he drew so far outside," said Aubrey Villyard. "He didn't catch any breaks, either. He raced wide around both turns, but he still got the job done. It was really a heck of an effort."

The timing was good for breeders Robin Mason and Stormy Hull, who bred their mare Northern Whirl to Free at Last to produce Wild Cycle. Mason and Hull had a full sister to Wild Cycle selling as Hip No. 208 in the WTBA summer yearling sale on Tuesday.

Harwood also finishes one-two

Not to be outdone by Villyard, trainer Doris Harwood saddled the top two finishers in Sunday's $100,000 Barbara Shinpoch Stakes for 2-year-old fillies. Irene's Bonus Baby led throughout a mile under Ben Russell to prevail by three-quarters of a length over stablemate Cascade Rose, with the favored Judicature finishing third.

Irene's Bonus Baby, who also is by Free at Last, matched Wild Cycle's winning time of 1:37 in the Shinpoch. That fact wasn't missed by Harwood, who said she will consider running Irene's Bonus Baby against the boys in the Gottstein Futurity.

"I'll have to think about running both of my fillies in the Gottstein," she said. "I think the extra sixteenth would suit Cascade Rose especially well. She is a big filly with a huge stride, and I think she is going to get better the farther she goes."

Raise the Bluff proves bettors wrong

If form had held true through Monday's $100,000 Emerald Breeders' Cup Derby at 1 1/8 miles, the Steve Koler-trained duo of Reno Ringo and Zillah's Knight would have run one-two, and Reno Ringo, a son of Free at Last, would have won. Raise the Bluff spoiled those plans, however, scoring by a length over Zillah's Knight, with Exclusive Eagle third and Reno Ringo fourth.

The Derby triumph, which was accomplished in 1:49.80 with Nate Chaves riding, was Raise the Bluff's third win from five starts at the meeting. He was dismissed at 6-1, though, after seeming to lose focus in the stretch in both the one-mile Tacoma Handicap and the 1 1/16-mile Seattle Slew Handicap. Trainer Junior Coffey addressed the problem by adding blinkers to Raise the Bluff's equipment.

"We took a chance with the blinkers, and they seemed to help," said Coffey. "I always had the belief that he was the best horse in the division, though. To me, he looked better than the other horses, and he certainly had the bloodlines to go 1 1/8 miles."

Coffey said owner Ron Crockett would decide what is next for Raise the Bluff, a son of Pine Bluff and Indy Go Go, by A.P. Indy. He said that if Crockett is willing to race Raise the Bluff again this year, Raise the Bluff will be able.

"He is in great flesh, and there is nothing wrong with him physically," said Coffey. "I just don't know where there might be a race for him."

Flamethrowintexan works five

Longacres Mile winner Flamethrowintexan worked five furlongs in 58.40 under rider Ricky Frazier on Sunday in preparation for his next engagement, which may come in the Grade 2, $500,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup at 1 1/4 miles on Sept. 30. If he goes in the Hawthorne Gold Cup, Flamethrowin-texan will likely be rematched with Longacres Mile runner-up Papi Chullo, who further distinguished himself with a fourth-place finish in Saturday's Grade 1 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga.