07/07/2010 12:00AM

Lucarelli ready for every stakes


AUBURN, Wash. - Trainer Frank Lucarelli is riding high these days, second in the Emerald Downs standings and headed toward what could be his best meeting ever. His barn includes two leading contenders for the Longacres Mile, a top prospect for the Emerald Derby, three top 3-year-old fillies, and a handful of fast 2-year-olds with stakes-caliber pedigrees. His barn is loaded. In many cases, if Plan A doesn't work out, he's got a Plan B.

This week, for example, Lucarelli could start as many as five horses in stakes. Marvin's Magic competed in the $100,000 Hollywood Juvenile Championship on Monday. Lucarelli nominated Feeling Fancy, Rewritten, and Touch of Elegance to Sunday's $50,000 Washington's Lottery Handicap for 3-year-old fillies. And Winning Machine, a recent addition to his barn, is expected to start Sunday in the $50,000 Governor's Handicap for older horses.

Lucarelli, 53, has captured three Emerald training titles, most recently in 2006, when he saddled 54 winners. With 30 victories through 44 days of the current 89-day meeting, he's on pace to exceed his personal best. He's also in a five-way tug-of-war for the earnings lead, a title he last won in 1999. With the heart of the stakes schedule yet to be played out, he is positioned to become the first trainer to capture the wins and earnings titles in the same season since Tim McCanna in 2000.

Feeling Fancy has accounted for three wins at the meeting and will be one of the wagering favorites in the 1 1/16-mile Washington's Lottery Handicap. But Feeling Fancy last raced May 9, and Lucarelli is concerned about her conditioning following an injury-imposed two-month layoff.

"I had to scratch her last time, and it took almost two weeks to pop an abscess out of her foot," he said. "I'd feel better with one more work, but if I don't run in here, I'd have to wait another month for a race. She's close to being fit and ready, and she's doing really well physically."

Feeling Fancy has yet to race around two turns, but her breeding -- by Sky Mesa from a Distinctive Pro mare -- suggests eight furlongs is well within her scope. Lucarelli said his speedy filly doesn't need the lead to run a winning race.

"I think she'll rate fine," he said. "In the Federal Way Handicap, she was third or fourth turning for home and then she re-rallied between horses to win pretty easily. She showed me something there."

Touch of Elegance, who won a $20,000 claiming sprint in her last start, is ticketed for an allowance race Saturday, but if that one fails to fill, she will take the leap and start in the Washington's Lottery. Touch of Elegance is pure speed, and her presence could help set things up for Lucarelli's other horse, Rewritten, a recent maiden winner who was stakes-placed twice in 2009.

"I like Rewritten," Lucarelli said. "I don't know why she ran so poorly on the slop in her previous race, because she's never run a dull race in the two years I've had her. She's a better horse going long, and the way the stakes are stacking up, she can really be a contender. If the pace is honest, she could even get a trip in there. I think she's got a legitimate shot."

In the Governor's Handicap, one of the final major preps for the $250,000 Longacres Mile on Aug. 22, Lucarelli will get his first up-close look at Winning Machine, who was transferred to his barn after a last-place finish in the one-mile Budweiser Handicap on June 20. Winning Machine had won 5 of 16 starts for trainer Doris Harwood, taking down the Emerald and British Columbia derbies in a three-week span last September, and earned $288,151. He is a talented sprinter and figures to run a big race in the 6 1/2-furlong Governor's.

"He worked Sunday in 48 and change pretty easy," Lucarelli said. "He's been running a lot, and coming off the route, that's all he needed to sharpen him up. I got a good horse from Doris, he's in great shape, and we'll see what happens."

Winning Machine could join Lucarelli's stable star, Gallant Son, in the Grade 3 Longacres Mile. Gallant Son is scheduled to run in the $75,000 Wickerr Stakes at Del Mar on July 28 before shipping north for the Mile.

Marvin's Magic also is heading home after a dismal effort Monday at Hollywood Park. A powerful maiden winner in his only start at Emerald, Marvin's Magic broke behind the field and never reached contention under Mike Smith. But by Tuesday, Lucarelli already was looking ahead to the Premio Esmeralda Stakes at Emerald.

"He'll come back up and run here Aug. 8," Lucarelli said. "He looked great Tuesday morning, he was playing in his stall and he ate everything. It's one of those races you put a line through and go on."