09/10/2010 3:36PM

Noosa Beach targets record fifth stakes at meeting

Emerald Downs
Noosa Beach, winner of the Longacres Mile, will be seeking his fifth stakes victory of the Emerald Downs meet in Sunday's Muckleshoot Tribal Classic.

AUBURN, Wash. – Noosa Beach can cap a near-perfect 2010 and set an Emerald Downs record for stakes victories in a season with a win Sunday in the $50,000 Muckleshoot Tribal Classic.

One of six stakes for statebreds on Washington Cup Day, the one-mile Muckleshoot Tribal Classic attracted six runners, with Noosa Beach towering over the other five. A 4-year-old by Harbor the Gold, he has won 5 of 6 starts this year, beginning with a 5 1/2-furlong allowance race in April and culminating with an easy victory in the Grade 3 Longacres Mile three weeks ago. Only a neck loss to Assessment in the 6 1/2-furlong Governor’s Handicap has kept him from a perfect season.

A victory would give Noosa Beach a record five stakes wins in 2010, and with Ricky Frazier riding, the Doris Harwood-trained Noosa Beach figures to be one of the shortest prices of the meeting. Frazier entered the week with a 105-78 lead over Juan Gutierrez in the jockey standings, well on his way to his fifth Emerald title in the past seven years.

Noosa Beach earned a guaranteed starting spot in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile with his victory in the Longacres Mile but, because he is not Cup eligible, would have to be supplemented to the Nov. 6 race at Churchill Downs. Owner Jeff Harwood, the trainer’s husband, has not ruled out a Breeders’ Cup run but said he would need to find a partner with deep pockets to make it happen.

“More than likely, this will be his last race of the year,” Doris Harwood said. “He’s coming up to it perfect. We’re looking forward to a good showing for his fans, and he has a lot of them. If he gets a clean trip, there’s no reason why he won’t run a good race and end the season on a positive note.”

He’s All Heart, a two-time winner at the meeting but a distant last in the Governor’s Handicap in his only stakes appearance, has the best chance to upset Noosa Beach. Siberian Cocktail, who ran six furlongs in 1:08.80 in his last start, will help ensure a fast pace. Wasserman, Margo’s Gift, and Scalding Passion figure to be longshots, clearly outmatched by Noosa Beach on paper.

In other Washington Cup races:

◗ Zenovit, dominating winner of the nine-furlong Washington Oaks in her last start, headlines a five-horse field in the $40,000 John and Kitty Fletcher Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at one mile. She could receive a stern challenge from Sis’s Sis, who held off Zenovit by three-quarters of a length on a sloppy track in the one-mile Irish Day Handicap in June.

◗ Clair Annette, a front-runner, and Private Fortune, a closer, are the leading contenders in the $40,000 Belle Roberts for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles. Clair Annette captured the one-mile King County Handicap and the 1 1/16-mile Boeing Handicap this summer but faded to finish last in the nine-furlong Emerald Distaff in her most recent outing. Private Fortune, a 3-year-old with just one career victory, closed with a rush to finish second behind Zenovit in the Washington Oaks.

◗ Lady Golightly, who scored a $42.40 upset in the one-mile Barbara Shinpoch Stakes in her last start, will turn back to 6 1/2 furlongs in the $40,000 Diane Kem Stakes for 2-year-old fillies. Other contenders include Iforgottobeme, runner-up in the restricted Knights Choice Stakes in July, and likely pacesetter Allison Ridge.

◗ Newfound Man, a disappointing sixth in the Emerald Derby after a victory in the 1 1/16-mile Seattle Slew Handicap, and Derby fourth Slew the Man top the $40,000 Chinook Pass Stakes. The one-mile Chinook Pass lured 10 runners, many with a realistic chance to win.

◗ Winter Warlock and Couldabenthewhisky, both stakes winners at the meeting, renew their budding rivalry in the $40,000 Dennis Dodge Stakes for 2-year-old colts and geldings at 6 1/2 furlongs. Winter Warlock prevailed in the six-furlong Premio Esmeralda Stakes on Aug. 8 and then was second behind Couldabenthewhisky in the one-mile WTBA Lads on Aug. 29.