06/23/2008 11:00PM

How good is Enumclaw Girl?


AUBURN, Wash. - Enumclaw Girl did everything asked of her in Sunday's one-mile Irish Day Handicap for 3-year-old fillies at Emerald Downs, and she did it in style.

It would be stretching the truth, however, to say that she proved she can win around two turns in a fairly run race against quality competition.

First of all, the Irish Day wasn't really a fairly run race. After the presumed pacesetter No Constraints broke a step slowly from the rail post, Enumclaw Girl was able to cruise to the lead and dictate the fractions. Under a clever ride by Gallyn Mitchell, Enumclaw Girl backed up the pace with a quarter in 24.20 seconds, a half in 48.40, and six furlongs in 1:12.60 while comfortably in front. When Mitchell turned her loose at the top of the lane, Enumclaw Girl powered away to win by 3 1/2 lengths in 1:37.

Second, the quality of Enumclaw Girl's competition was dubious. Runner-up Naturally Perfect last won for a $16,000 tag, and third-place finisher Light Up the Lane has only a maiden win to show for nine starts. Fourth-place finisher Fever Reliever is a maiden. As for No Constraints, the only other stakes winner in the field, she left the paddock early before leaving the gate late, then stopped to a walk after six furlongs. It was the second race in a row in which No Constraints was virtually eased, and she apparently has problems.

Still, there is no question that Enumclaw Girl is an exceptional filly. She won her first two starts including the six-furlong U.S. Bank Stakes in commanding fashion. In her last start she ran tough against the talented Jerry Hollendorfer trainee Startjumpin Marnie, losing by a neck in the 6 1/2-furlong Federal Way Handicap when it appeared at the top of the stretch that she could lose by many lengths. And on Sunday she ran her final quarter mile in 24.40, which is something only good horses do.

As trainer Rosie Simkins noted, she appears at this point to be the total package.

"She's fresh, she's lightly raced, and she is sound," Simkins said. "Plus she has the natural ability and the heart."

If Enumclaw Girl still has a thing or two to prove, there will be time and opportunities enough for her to do so. Simkins, who trains Enumclaw Girl for breeder and owner Doris Konecny, said she will go next in the $60,000 Washington Lottery Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on July 20.

Robbie Baze surprising even himself

Trainer Robbie Baze had another good week with 4 wins from 15 starters, and now he finds himself second only to Tim McCanna in the trainer standings, with 19 wins.

"I'm kind of amazed," said Baze, who finished 10th in the standings last year. "I really didn't expect to do quite this well, but my horses have been running great."

Morgan's Money, Mazel Power, and Flaming Bullet have been running particularly well for him, winning three races apiece through the first 35 days of the 91-day meeting. Mazel Power got his third win in Friday's feature, against $25,000 rivals with 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.60. Flaming Bullet won for the third time in a row in Saturday's headliner for $40,000 optional claimers, running six furlongs in 1:09.60.

"I've always liked Flaming Bullet," said Baze. "He runs well every time, and it is really only a matter of getting him in the right spots. I've been lucky this year in getting races to fill for him.

"Mazel Power has just been a pleasant surprise. He ran big for $15,000 in his last race, and I was afraid he would regress when I jumped him up to $25,000 last time. Instead, he took another step forward. He seems to get better every time I send him out there."

Hot riders stay hot

Riders at this meeting are also winning races in bunches. Gallyn Mitchell on Saturday became the third rider at the meet to have a five-win day, and Seth Martinez nearly became the fourth when he won four of the first five races on Sunday.

Mitchell, the only jockey to ride at Emerald Downs in each of the track's 13 seasons, also won three races on Sunday to bring his career win total at Emerald Downs to 997. He should become the first rider to push his Emerald Downs win total into four digits sometime this week.

Kevin Radke had a string of 18 consecutive days with at least one win broken on Sunday. Even so, Radke notched six wins last week to move into first place in the rider standings. Radke, who won riding titles here in 2002 and 2003, leads defending riding champ Ricky Frazier by a 54-50 count.

Kennewick man wins contest

Christopher Larmey of Kennewick, Wash., won Saturday's inaugural West Coast Handicapping Challenge, which was conducted simultaneously at Hastings Park, Emerald Downs, Golden Gate, and Hollywood Park. Larmey turned his $200 live betting bankroll into $3,956.10 to top Ian Johnson at Golden Gate, who amassed $3,479.70. In addition to his winnings, Larmey will receive a funded $7,500 entry into the $65,000 Gold Cup Handicapping Challenge at Hollywood Park on June 28-29.

He will also receive airfare and accommodations for that tournament.