04/27/2010 11:00PM

Rolling doubles off to slow start


AUBURN, Wash. - Emerald Downs added rolling $2 daily doubles to its wagering menu last week, giving bettors another multi-race option to complement the pick three and the pick four.

While the initial rolling double pools were small - an average of $1,847 per double Sunday - track officials expect them to grow as bettors realize the wager is available on every race. Previously, Emerald Downs offered doubles on the first two races and the last two races of every card, and those pools were markedly higher last weekend, averaging $4,655 for the two wagers Sunday.

"The pools will pick up," Emerald marketing director Adrian Buchan said. "When we launched the wager on Friday, the cumulative handle on the first four races was up 17 percent, so the rolling doubles didn't cannibalize the pick three pools. I think generally, bettors like as many wagering options as possible, and they had been asking for the rolling double."

Hollywood Harbor reloads

Trainer Chris Stenslie won a race last Sunday with promising first-time starter Runaway Speed, but her stable star, Hollywood Harbor, was soundly beaten last Wednesday in the $60,000 Harry Henson Stakes on the grass at Hollywood Park.

Making his 2010 debut against quality horses on an unfamiliar surface was too much to overcome, and Hollywood Harbor checked in ninth of 10 under Tyler Baze, six lengths behind the winner.

"He just couldn't get ahold of the turf," Stenslie said. "He tried hard, but he just kind of bobbled all the way around there, and Tyler said he didn't like it. It was disappointing, but the race didn't take anything out of him. He's back up here already. I'm giving him a little time."

Stenslie said she intends to point Hollywood Harbor for the Auburn Handicap here on May 23.

The leading 2-year-old male at Emerald last summer, Hollywood Harbor won three stakes by a combined 12 3/4 lengths for owners Jody Peetz and John Holmes. Each victory was accomplished in front-running fashion, but Stenslie figures he will be a more versatile runner in his second season.

"He really matured a lot over the winter," she said. "He's a lot more rateable now, whereas he was speed, speed, speed last year at 2. It opens up all kinds of possibilities for him in terms of running style, and that's good because there are a lot of really nice 3-year-olds here this year."

Stenslie is optimistic about Runaway Speed, too, after the 3-year-old filly held off 3-5 favorite Rewritten to prevail by a neck in last Sunday's third race. Peetz owns Runaway Speed with Tony Lofton, who sells feed on the Emerald Downs backside. They purchased Runaway Speed for $35,000 last April at the Ocala Breeders' Sale Company's 2-year-olds in training auction in Ocala, Fla.

"She ran a really nice race for the first time out, to be in between horse like that and pressured the whole way," Stenslie said. "She ran tough and I was really proud of her. She ran pretty professionally. She wasn't going to let that other one by her."

Former trainer Jim Hill dies

Memorial services were held Wednesday in Kingman, Ariz., and were scheduled for Thursday at Turf Paradise in Phoenix for longtime Northwest trainer Jim Hill, who died of lung cancer April 17. He was 72.

Born in Renton, Wash., and raised in nearby Kent, Hill took over a small string of horses at Longacres after his father, trainer Howard H. Hill, died in 1967. Four years later, Hill saddled Silver Double to win the 1971 Longacres Mile, the Northwest's most prestigious race.

Hill retired from training in 1975 and moved to Kingman, where he opened a used-car dealership that is still family owned. He returned to training at Turf Paradise in the early 1990s and eventually found his way back to Emerald Downs, where he stayed for two summers, winning the 1998 Captain Condo Stakes with Bay Runner and the 1999 Washington State Legislators with Boca Fast.

Hill continued to train until last year, when he turned his runners over to Mike Chambers, one of many horsemen who learned their trade under Hill.

Boundtogetbusy impressive in win

Add Boundtogetbusy to the growing list of top-flight 3-year-olds at Emerald Downs. Making his local debut after three starts at Turf Paradise, the Charles Essex-trained Boundtogetbusy dominated four rivals in last Sunday's feature race, a first-level allowance at 5 1/2 furlongs.

Pressured early, Boundtogetbusy opened a commanding lead into the stretch and won by four geared-down lengths in 1:02.20, one second off the track record, on a day when the surface wasn't particularly fast. Troy Stillwell rode Boundtogetbusy for the first time and was duly impressed.

"He's probably one of the best 3-year-olds I've ever been on," Stillwell said after steering Boundtogetbusy through fractions of 21.40, 44.20, and 56 seconds. "He did it pretty easy."