08/05/2010 12:10PM

Talented but fragile Davos tries to handle two turns

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AUBURN, Wash. – Davos, a talented but star-crossed 5-year-old, is the horse to beat Saturday in the feature race at Emerald Downs.

The card begins at 2 p.m. Pacific, and the feature, a second-level optional $50,000 claimer for older horses at a mile, is the eighth of nine races.

A homebred for Emerald Downs president Ron Crockett, Davos will race around two turns for the first time. Crockett and trainer Junior Coffey had hoped Davos would be a contender for a bigger mile, the Aug. 22 Longacres Mile, when the Emerald Downs meeting began in April, but Davos has made just two starts, one in early May, the other in early July. If he makes it to the Longacres Mile, it probably will be the 2011 edition of the Northwest’s richest race.

Davos is by Langfuhr, a son of Danzig, from the Saratoga Six mare Carrie Can. Crockett purchased Carrie Can at Keeneland in 1993 and won a handful of stakes with her. As a broodmare, Carrie Can produced a slew of runners, including Harvard Avenue, who finished fourth for Crockett in the 2004 Arkansas Derby and earned more than $600,000, and Carrie Cat, a promising 3-year-old who broke down last fall while training at Hollywood Park.

Naturally, hopes were high for Davos when he began racing in January 2008, but injuries have led to a succession of layoffs – six months, five months, 10 months, and, most recently, two months.

There have been some notable highlights, however. He earned a 100 Beyer Speed Figure in an allowance sprint at Santa Anita last March, was a close fourth in the Grade 2 Potrero Grande Handicap at Santa Anita last April, and fifth, less than four lengths behind the winner, in the Grade 3 Ack Ack Handicap at Hollywood Park last June. In his most recent start, Davos was a fast-closing fourth in the 6-1/2-furlong Governor’s Handicap after encountering traffic on the backstretch.

Five horses will vie with Davos for the winner’s share of the $20,000 purse. Davos will break from the No. 3 post position under Kevin Krigger, with likely pacesetter Seven Torrents to his outside, and leading contender He’s All Heart to his immediate left. He’s All Heart closed readily to finish second behind Jersey Town over 6 1/2 furlongs in his last start and may prefer a flat mile. He will be hard to deny, but if Davos runs his race, the bigger battle might be for second place.