09/17/2009 12:00AM

No stopping Clair Annette


AUBURN, Wash. - Connie Bouslaugh has saddled eight winners at Emerald Downs this summer. She won't be the track's leading trainer, not by a longshot. But there's an award for top training achievement, and she assuredly will get votes for her work with Clair Annette, who raced to a front-running victory in the $50,000 Belle Roberts on Washington Cup Day last Sunday.

Absent from the races for three months and making her first start around two turns, the 6-year-old Beau Genius mare defeated 1-2 wagering favorite Gadget Queen by 1 1/2 lengths. Expertly rated over the 1 1/16 miles by jockey Seth Martinez, she held gamely after the favorite made a menacing run past the quarter pole, reaching the wire in 1:42.40.

Clair Annette had been sidelined since finishing fourth in the 6 1/2-furlong Washington State Legislators Handicap on June 7. She underwent throat surgery at Washington State University later that month to remove an obstruction, and returned to training in late July. Her first official workout was delayed until Aug. 9, forcing Bouslaugh to play catch-up with the Belle Roberts looming.

"We went back to training her like we were before, trying to stretch her out," Bouslaugh said. "She was galloping two miles a day and picking it up the second mile. We'd let her gallop out after her works, trying to build some air and strength. Seth worked her for me the Tuesday before the race and she went a mile in a 1:40. She got a lot out of it, and we were pretty confident she was ready to go."

The victory capped a remarkable two-year run for Clair Annette, who finished first in six consecutive races (losing one via disqualification) before her defeat in the Washington State Legislators. Emerald's 2008 claimer of the meeting, she secured her first stakes victory in the Hastings Park Handicap this May, running six furlongs in 1:08.60.

Clair Annette has 8 wins in 16 starts and earnings of $106,063 for owner Nina Egbert. If Egbert is willing, she could add to her burgeoning bankroll this fall, with the six-furlong, $50,000 Harvest Stakes at Fresno on Oct. 16 a possible target.

"I'm talking it over with Nina," Bouslaugh said. "We've put so much time into her, and she came out of this race as well as she ever has. She was just bouncing. She's pretty awesome. I'd like to try her on the turf, try her against tougher company, and see how far we can go with her."

That's why they run the race

Have'n a Wild Time's victory in the $50,000 Diane Kem Stakes was the second-biggest stunner on Washington Cup Day. Most surprising was Knight Raider's fourth-place finish in the same race. Victorious in four consecutive races, including three stakes, she went to post as the 1-5 favorite.

Tom Wenzel, who trains Have'n a Wild Time for owner Ron Crockett, figured Knight Raider's 10 opponents were running for second money in the 6 1/2-furlong race for statebred juvenile fillies.

"I had worked her three quarters of a mile out of the gate, and for a 2-year-old to go 1:11.60, that's a really solid move," Wenzel said of Have'n a Wild Time. "I thought she had a shot to get part of it. You knew Knight Raider had the accomplishments, but she was coming back off a mile, and you never know when a horse like that is going to bounce. Six and a half furlongs is a tricky distance for 2-year-olds, and you can see some surprises. And that's what happened; they got enough pressure on Knight Raider, and it softened her up quite a bit."

More than $150,000 was wagered to show on Knight Raider, triggering spectacular payoffs when she failed to hit the board. Have'n a Wild Time, who had lost her only two starts, paid $56.40 to win and $187 to show. Runner-up Private Fortune paid $23.40 to place and $108.60 to show, and third-place Pistolpackin'gal paid $156.40 to show.

Have'n a Wild Time gave journeyman jockey A.L. Gutierrez his first Emerald Downs stakes victory.

"Tony has ridden a lot of horses for me, usually lower-level horse," Wenzel said. "I had given Gallyn Mitchell first call on the filly, but he went elsewhere, and I looked around and all the top riders were taken. I had a few choices, but Tony has worked hard for me all year, and this filly isn't that hard to ride, so we gave Tony the call. The fact that she won it, it was really nice to see."

Frazier to stick with Atta Boy Roy

Ricky Frazier will ride Atta Boy Roy in the Grade 1, $300,000 Ancient Title Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 11, agent Boone McCanna confirmed Wednesday. Atta Boy Roy won the $50,000 Chinook Pass Sprint by 10 3/4 lengths Sunday, running six furlongs in a track-record 1:07, and is being pointed toward a possible start in the Grade 1, $2 million Breeders' Cup Sprint at Santa Anita on Nov. 7.

"We talked it over, and he's definitely going," McCanna said, adding that Frazier intends to ride at Fresno following the Emerald meeting before setting up shop at Golden Gate this winter.

With Frazier aboard for the first time, Atta Boy Roy finished fifth in the Grade 3 Longacres Mile two starts ago, setting the fastest six-furlong split (1:07.60) in the race's 74-year history. The Mile has come back as a key race, yielding five next-out winners from seven starters, and Atta Boy Roy's effort stands out because he lost a shoe with more than three furlongs to run.

"We talked to some people down there who would love to ride the horse," trainer Valorie Lund said of interest from Southern California-based jockeys. "But the horse really likes Ricky. He's a sensitive horse, and Ricky knows how he goes. We want Ricky to go with him."