07/21/2008 11:00PM

Lucarelli enjoying solid results with his juveniles


AUBURN, Wash. - Just a week after sending out the second, third, and fourth finishers in the Angie C. Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, trainer Frank Lucarelli got the top prize in Saturday's six-furlong Premio Esmeralda for juvenile colts and geldings.

The Lucarelli-trained Gallant Son, who had graduated in gate-to-wire fashion in his previous start, sat well off the pace in fifth before assuming command in the upper stretch, and held off the late bid of Zagreus to prevail by three-quarters of a length in 1:10.40 under Leslie Mawing.

"I knew we could do that with him," Lucarelli said. "He is a real mellow colt, and you can place him wherever you want. There is always a lot of speed in these early 2-year-old stakes, so I told Leslie just to sit and get 'em when you're ready."

Among the surprises in the Premio Esmeralda was the price on Gallant Son. Although he was the only maiden special weight winner in a field of seven, he paid a generous $19.60 to win.

"It seems like a big price in retrospect, but some of those other horses had won very impressively," Lucarelli said. "I really didn't know who was best going into the race. I'm just glad it turned out to be us."

Lucarelli bought Gallant Son, a Malabar Gold colt who races for Chris and Dianna Randall, for $9,000 last September at Keeneland. Since he is a Kentucky-bred, Gallant Son won't be eligible to compete in either the Aug. 9 Strong Ruler Stakes, which is restricted to the progeny of eligible (mostly Washington-based) stallions, or the Sept. 14 Captain Condo, which is restricted to Washington-breds. He is, however, eligible to run in both the $50,000 WTBA Lads at a mile on Aug. 30 and the $100,000 Gottstein Futurity at 1 1/16 miles on Sept. 27.

"I hope we can find an allowance race for him before the Lads," Lucarelli said. "He has raced three times in a month, but he doesn't act like he needs a break. Six weeks between races would be too long."

Gallant Son gave Lucarelli his fourth 2-year-old win at the meet and he is now second only to Doris Harwood, who has six juvenile wins at the stand.

Elusive Horizon bests Enumclaw Girl

Elusive Horizon broke Enumclaw Girl's stranglehold on the local 3-year-old filly division in Sunday's Washington's Lottery Handicap at 1 1/16 miles, and she may be in the process of establishing one of her own.

In her first attempt around two turns after winning 2 of 6 sprints, Elusive Horizon didn't just win. She took the lead at the start and widened at every pole under rider Juan Gutierrez, drawing off to win by 5 1/2 lengths over longshot Sweetheart Deal in a very fast 1:41.20. Enumclaw Girl, who was bet down to 1-5 off a pair of easy stakes wins at the stand, finished almost five lengths farther back in third.

"She didn't seem herself today," rider Gallyn Mitchell said of Enumclaw Girl. "At the quarter pole, she was empty for some reason."

Though Elusive Horizon was dismissed at 11-1, trainer Doris Harwood felt she had a big chance to win if she could establish a clear early lead.

"She is just so comfortable on the lead," she noted. "I had no doubt she could get the distance if she could relax on the lead, and she did that beautifully."

Elusive Horizon, a daughter of Elusive Quality and Exogenetic, by Unbridled's Song, was bred by owner Jerre Paxton's Northwest Farms.

"I bought her dam from my friend Vern Heath in Minnesota," Paxton said. "Exogenetic was unraced, but I liked her dam."

Exogenetic's dam was the good sprinter Tangled Up in Blue, a Phone Trick mare who won 3 of 7 starts, a record that Elusive Horizon has now matched.

Paxton said he has a 2-year-old Smarty Deb filly out of Exogenetic who is now in training with Harwood at Emerald Downs.

"She has tender shins right now, so she isn't close to starting, but she is absolutely gorgeous," Harwood said. "We're really looking forward to racing her."

As for Elusive Horizon, Harwood said her next assignment will be the $100,000 Washington Oaks at nine furlongs on Aug. 16.

Nine in row for Victory Script

Victory Script won last Thursday's six-furlong feature for $20,000 fillies and mares, giving her nine wins in a row over the Emerald Downs oval and tying her with Halonator for the track's longest win streak. Victory Script, a daughter of Game Plan, won her final start here in 2005 before sitting out the 2006 season. She won all seven of her starts here last season, and Thursday's outing was the first of her current campaign. For her career, Victory Script is 10 for 12 at Emerald and 0 for 8 elsewhere.

Victory Script began her win streak for trainer Terry Gillihan, then won four in a row for trainer Tim McCanna before being claimed by Roy Lumm. On Thursday, McCanna claimed her back for Charlie Dunn's Dunn Bar Ranch LLC.

Stakes doubleheader Sunday

Sunday's card will be the first of the season to offer a stakes doubleheader.

Firetrail heads a list of nine older fillies and mares nominated for the $50,000 Boeing Handicap, a prep for the $100,000 Emerald Distaff on Mile Day, Aug. 17, and Wasserman tops 10 nominees for the $75,000 Mt. Rainier Handicap, a prep for the Grade 3, $300,000 Longacres Mile.

This year's Longacres Mile will be the first renewal with Win and You're In status, meaning the winner will be guaranteed a slot in the gate for the $1 million Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita.