08/27/2010 3:19PM

Harwood isn't bluffing in Emerald stakes


AUBURN, Wash. – Trainer Doris Harwood holds a strong hand Sunday at Emerald Downs – two aces in one stakes race, and the wild card in another.

Harwood, fresh from a victory with Noosa Beach in the Longacres Mile, will send out the top two contenders in the $50,000 Barbara Shinpoch Stakes for 2-year-old fillies. Carrabelle Harbor, already a double stakes winner, figures to be a short-priced favorite. Kids Kooler, an eye-catching maiden winner two weeks ago, is her most serious challenger over the Shinpoch’s eight furlongs.

Carrabelle Harbor, owned by breeders Pam and Neal Christopherson in partnership with Harwood, overcame trouble in her racing debut to win the restricted Knights Choice Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths July 18. She followed with an overpowering victory in the Angie C Stakes three weeks ago, moving away from the pack at will to finish nearly 10 lengths clear under regular rider Ricky Frazier. If she can negotiate two turns for the first time, Carrabelle Harbor can stay perfect through three starts.

Kids Kooler skipped to a 6 3/4-length maiden victory under Gallyn Mitchell on Aug. 14, finishing like a horse who could relish the added distance. Owned by her breeder, Jerre Paxton of Northwest Farms, Kids Kooler is by First Samurai, who won a couple of routes, out of the speedy Smart Strike mare Bisbee’s Prospect.

Carrabelle Harbor and Kids Kooler worked four furlongs in company Wednesday, giving Harwood a preview of how the race might unfold.

“Kids Kooler can relax,” she said. “I think Carrabelle Harbor will probably lead, and then Kids Kooler can stalk her.”

Others in the Shinpoch are Rossi Reserve and Chasing Demons, both recent winners in maiden-claiming company; Wings of Pegasus, a distant third behind Carrabelle Harbor in the Angie C; and Ladygolightly, winless in two starts.

In the $50,000 WTBOA Lads Stakes, Harwood sends out Gdanz Express, a sharp third in the six-furlong Premio Esmeralda after pressing the pace. He will be rematched against Winter Warlock and Seattle Sniper, one-two in the Premio Esmeralda.

Both Winter Warlock and Seattle Sniper have ample speed, though Seattle Sniper tried rating tactics last time and came up short. Juan Gutierrez will ride Seattle Sniper for trainer Tom Wenzel; Kevin Krigger has the assignment on Winter Warlock for Tim McCanna.

Others in the one-mile Lads are Couldabenthewhisky, winner of the restricted Strong Ruler Stakes on July 18 but fifth in the Premio Esmeralda; longshot Tatenator; and recent maiden winner Hayja.