04/27/2016 12:00PM

Party Pooper primary threat in sprint

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Four-Footed Fotos
Party Pooper hasn't won a race since taking the 2014 New Westminster as a 2-year-old.

Party Pooper hasn’t lived up to the promise he showed at Hastings, where he won the $50,000 New Westminster in his second start as a 2-year-old for trainer Troy Taylor in 2014. In fact, he hasn’t won a race since. That figures to change when he runs in a $25,000 claiming race at Emerald Downs on Friday. The 5 1/2-furlong dash for 3-year-olds and up who have never won two races drew six horses and headlines a seven-race card that begins at 6:30 p.m. Pacific.

Trained by Michael Puhich, Party Pooper was running above his conditions when he finished second in a $15,000 claimer for non-winners of three on April 9. After breaking a half-step slowly, he gradually moved into contention at the top of the stretch before making a strong late move to just miss to Thisdewarsforyou who got away on his own.

It was his first start since he finished second in a second-level allowance race at Portland Meadows on Feb. 1, and if he takes the expected move forward in his second start back, he is going to be tough to handle with Joe Steiner retaining the mount.

If Party Pooper regresses, it’s anybody’s race.

It’s Little Richie romped when he debuted in a $25,000 maiden-claiming race at Emerald last May and could come out firing for trainer Charles Essex.

Trained by Chris Stenslie, Christmas Caballo was a gem of consistency as a 3-year-old last year and may have tipped his hand when he worked six furlongs out of the gate in 1:11.20 last Saturday.

KEY CONTENDERS

Party Pooper, by Desert Party

Last 3 Beyers: 77-65-70

◗ The 77 Beyer Speed Figure he received for his runner-up finish April 9 stands out, and he came back with a bullet four-furlong work in 46.60 seconds on April 24.

It’s Little Richie, by Harbor the Gold

Last 3 Beyers: 59-54-73

◗ He tailed off in his last two starts in 2015 but has been working sharply and ran a huge race when he debuted last year.

DRF FORMULATOR FACT: Over the past five years at Emerald, Essex has a 24 percent strike rate with horses coming off a layoff of 180 days or more.

Christmas Caballo, by Papa Clem

◗ For the most part, he was facing tougher when he compiled a 1-4-2 record from nine starts last year. If his last two works are any indication, Stenslie has him primed for a big effort coming off the bench.

Big Hat Charlie, by Indian Charlie

Last 3 Beyers: 67-44-60

◗ The Frank Lucarelli trainee figures to move forward after tiring late when he made his first start of the year in a similar race at Golden Gate on March 26.