05/17/2007 11:00PM

Injury knocks Queenledo out of handicap


AUBURN, Wash. - Fans of Queenledo, who are legion at Emerald Downs, have been eagerly awaiting her return to action in Sunday's $45,000 Hastings Park Handicap at six furlongs.

Unfortunately, they'll have to wait at least a little longer.

"She came up with a little soft-tissue issue," said trainer Tim McCanna. "She hyper-extended something, and she's just not right. It's a bummer. She had been training really well, and I was looking forward to running her."

Queenledo, a winner of 7 of 18 starts while racing almost exclusively in stakes company, was the champion of her division at Emerald Downs in each of her three seasons of racing. She ended her 4-year-old campaign last fall with decisive victories in the $100,000 Emerald Downs Distaff and the $50,000 Belle Roberts Handicap, and she had been training as though she were ready to pick up where she left off. That won't happen on Sunday, but McCanna is hopeful that Queenledo will be able to return for a somewhat abbreviated 5-year-old campaign.

"I'm not turning her out," he said. "I'm going to keep her here at the track and work on getting the problem fixed. Ideally, this thing will get better and she'll be able to resume training pretty quickly. We can't make any plans until we get her fixed, though. We'll just have to see how she responds to treatment."

'Kissntheboys' looks to repeat

Kissntheboysgoodby won last year's Hastings Park after tuning up with an opening weekend victory in a 5 1/2-furlong optional claiming race, and trainer Charles Essex is hoping she can repeat that double on Sunday. She already has the optional claiming prep under her girth, having posted an authoritative 2 1/4-length victory with 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:02.60 on opening weekend. Kissntheboysgoodby, who is now 5, came from five lengths back to win on opening weekend after racing close to the pace in almost all of her previous outings.

"I think she is a better horse this year than she was last year, and part of the reason is that she is settling better," said Essex. "I'm hoping that will help her go farther. She has also filled out quite a bit since last year.

"That 4-year-old season is always tough because you are facing more mature horses. I was very happy she was able to win as many times as she did last year," he said of her four-win campaign. "This will be a very tough race on Sunday, but at least she is one of the more mature horses now. That should help."

Golden Pine steps up in Hastings

Among those testing their mettle against the Kissntheboysgoodby in the Hastings Park is Golden Pine, who returned from a lengthy layoff to post a game win over Hit a Star in a 5 1/2-furlong optional claiming event here on May 5.

"We're going to see what she is made of," said trainer Tom Wenzel. "It's a big step up in class, but I was impressed by the way she ran down the loose-on-the-lead pacesetter in her comeback race. I realize that Hit a Star isn't quite stakes class, but she is awfully tough to run down when she gets to the front."

Golden Pine, who is now 5, defeated Queenledo as a 3-year-old in the one-mile John and Kitty Fletcher Stakes. She raced only once last year, however, and she was coming off a layoff of nearly 10 months when she scored two weeks ago.

"We were concerned about her being knocked out from the big effort off the layoff, but she seemed to bounce out of that race very well," said Wenzel. "Now my main concern is just that she will be meeting a stellar field, but she is a quality mare. I think she deserves a shot."

Camargo makes Emerald debut

Veteran fans will see a familiar face in the riding colony this weekend. Tim Camargo, who was a regular at Longacres, will ride at Emerald Downs for the first time.

Camargo posted his first win at Yakima Meadows in the spring of 1987, then rode regularly at Longacres until that track closed in 1992. He then moved his tack to the Southwest until early in 1996, when he retired.

"I was just tired of battling my weight," he said. "I never lost my desire to ride, though, and early this year I got my weight down and started riding again at Turf Paradise."

Camargo won with 6 of 36 mounts at Turf Paradise, and he feels he is just now rounding back into top form.

"It took a while to shake off the rust, but I feel really good now," he said. "I can tack 120 pounds, and I'm eager to ride."

Camargo's book will be handled locally by agent Steve Puhich.