07/23/2007 11:00PM

Harwood sub gets the job done


AUBURN, Wash. - One came hard and the other easy, but at the end of last weekend, trainer Doris Harwood had added two more stakes wins to her total. She now has seven stakes wins at the meet, just one shy of the single season record held jointly by Bud Klokstad and Steve Bullock.

Asked if she would set a new record, she replied cautiously.

"I think I've got a shot at it," she said.

With just 15 of the 35 stakes at this meet in the books and three divisional leaders in her barn, it would be surprising if Harwood didn't shatter the old mark.

One of her divisional leaders, Margo's Gift, earned that distinction, albeit by disqualification, in Saturday's Premio Esmeralda, the first stakes of the season for 2-year-old colts and geldings. That was something of a surprise, because at the beginning of last week Margo's Gift ranked no higher than third among the juveniles in Harwood's barn. First was the super filly Smarty Deb, who defeated the boys in a maiden special weight race before winning the July 15 Angie C. Stakes in authoritative fashion. Second was Dat's Dream, who finished just a neck behind Smarty Deb in his maiden special weight debut before graduating with the fastest five-furlong clocking - 56.60 seconds - ever registered by a 2-year-old at Emerald Downs.

Dat's Dream came up with a sore shin after his final prep for the Premio Esmeralda, however, and dat was dat.

"I turned him out until next year," Harwood said. "That's my rule with the babies. If they have any problem at all, they go on the shelf until next year. It was a very easy decision with Dat's Dream, because he is way too nice to take any chances."

It was left to Margo's Gift, himself an impressive debut winner over $40,000 maidens, to represent the stable in the Premio Esmeralda. He dueled for the lead throughout with Courageous Son before yielding grudgingly to that one's stablemate Gallon, losing by a head in 1:09.20 for six furlongs. Gallon had come in to bump Margo's Gift near the finish, however, and given the slight margin between the first two finishers, the stewards took Gallon down and placed him second. Courageous Son, who was checked nearing the wire, finished a length back in third.

"All three horses ran their hearts out," said Ricky Frazier, who rode Margo's Gift. "It's a shame that any of them had to lose."

Harwood would have preferred to win the race outright, but she nevertheless found the win by Margo's Gift, who races for Ken Alhadeff's Elttaes Stable, to be especially gratifying.

"Ken got me started in this game 20 years ago," she said. "He gave me some horses to train and he let me learn with them. I owe him a lot and I can't tell you how sweet it is to win a stakes for him."

Harwood said Margo's Gift, a son of Polish Gift who sold for $10,000 at last year's Washington Thoroughbred Breeders Association winter sale, was almost an afterthought.

"Ken decided at the last minute that he wanted to buy a horse, and he was the best one I could find on short notice," she said. "He has worked out pretty well so far."

Shampoo keeps rolling in stakes

Harwood's second stakes win of the weekend, which came in Sunday's 1 1/16-mile Washington's Lottery Handicap, was widely anticipated, and rightly so. Shampoo had dominated the first three stakes for 3-year-old fillies at the meeting, including a 4 1/2-length drubbing of her opposition in the one-mile Irish Day Handicap, and she didn't disappoint those who backed her down to 3-5 in Sunday's field of seven.

Shampoo, a daughter of Gulch and Taste the Passion who races for Jerre Paxton's Northwest Farms, stalked the pace of a very game Firetrail from the inside, swung out for room at the top of the lane, and powered by to prevail by 1 1/2 lengths in a stakes record 1:41. Asked if he had any dicey moments, rider Ricky Frazier confessed to just one.

"The dicey part of it was getting the race to fill," he said. "After that, I was pretty confident. She's just an awesome filly."

Shampoo became the first horse to win the first four stakes in her division at Emerald Downs, and she gave Paxton his sixth stakes winner at the stand. Paxton also races Hastings Park Handicap winner Dinner at Arlene's and Shampoo's little sister Smarty Deb. Harwood said Shampoo and Smarty Deb have a yearling half-brother who was scheduled to sell at auction in Kentucky earlier this week.

"I told Jerre he should name him Conditioner and keep him, but it was too late," Harwood said.

The trainer is content enough with the horses she has, and most especially with Shampoo.

"She is really a special filly, and she knows it," Harwood said. "You can see that in the way she acts around other horses. She's not a big filly at all, but she intimidates them. She just has this attitude like she knows she is good, and I can see the same thing in Smarty Deb."

Harwood said she is not looking beyond Shampoo's next scheduled start in the $100,000 Washington Oaks at 1 1/8 miles on Aug. 18. Asked if she would consider running Shampoo against the boys in the $100,000 Emerald Derby at the same nine-furlong distance Sept. 3, she did not rule out the possibility.

"If we would ever run a filly in the derby, she is the kind of filly we would run," she said.