05/13/2008 11:00PM

Upsets abound at Emerald Downs


AUBURN, Wash. - Selections made with birthdates, addresses, and social security numbers surely outperformed those based on sound handicapping principles last week at Emerald Downs, and it wasn't any photo finish.

Favorites won 2 of the 28 races run during the three-day race week, and fully 19 of the winners were more than 5-1. Among the notable upsets, though by no means the most outlandish, came in the twin $50,000 stakes for 3-year-olds at six furlongs.

Enumclaw Girl, making her first start of the year and the only second start of her career, was a $39 surprise in Saturday's U.S. Bank Stakes. Most handicappers all but conceded the race to the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained California shipper Startjumpin Marnie, who went off at 2-5, yet there was nothing flukey about Enumclaw Girl's victory. Under rider Gallyn Mitchell, she split rivals at midstretch and drew out to a 2 1/2-length victory over No Constraints in 1:10, seemingly with speed to spare. Startjumpin Marnie finished fourth.

No one but trainer Rosie Simpkins seemed to see it coming.

"We thought her race last year showed she was stakes caliber," Simpkins said. "We didn't get her started until the very end of the meeting, and we weren't expecting that much, but she won so convincingly that she really impressed us. She grew a lot over the winter and she trained well this spring, so there was no reason to change our opinion of her."

Simpkins said that Enumclaw Girl, a homebred daughter of Katowice who races for Doris Konecny, will go next in the $60,000 Federal Way Handicap on May 31.

Scratches help Fear No Evil

Fear No Evil needed a little luck to win Sunday's Auburn Stakes at 9-1, but it wasn't really racing luck. It came in the form of the prerace scratches of Bobby Rar Rar and Easy Going Cecil, who appeared to be the speed of, originally, an eight-horse field.

"We were going to lay off those two horses, but once they scratched we realized we could probably be alone on the lead," said trainer Frank Lucarelli. "That made things easier."

Fear No Evil cut legitimate fractions under rider Leslie Mawing through a half-mile in 44.80, and he received no pressure until Gallon came calling at midstretch. Though Gallon cut a 1 1/2-length deficit to a head, Fear No Evil prevailed.

It was only the second win from six tries for Fear No Evil, a son of Trust N Luck who races for Chris and Diane Randall. Lucarelli hopes to see more wins as he works his way through the open stakes schedule for 3-year-olds, which culminates with the $100,000 Emerald Derby at nine furlongs in September.

"I think he'll be okay as the races get longer," said Lucarelli. "He can pass horses, so it is really just a matter of getting him to relax. Whether he'll handle distance as well as some of the others, we'll just have to see."

Lucarelli watched the Auburn from his home, where is is recuperating from a knee replacement operation, which he underwent on Tuesday.

Fear No Evil's Auburn win provided a much-needed tonic. "They told me I'd be miserable for the first two weeks, and so far they haven't lied," Lucarelli said. "This helps."

Lucarelli's next win will be memorable - his 500th at Emerald Downs. He will join Tim McCanna as the only trainers to reach that plateau.

Mountain Cop returns in style

The training feat of the meeting to date came in Sunday's eighth race, when Jonathan Nance sent out Ex Mountain Cop to win his first start in 18 months. Ex Mountain Cop, 4, won four consecutive stakes at Portland Meadows in the fall of 2006, but he sustained what was feared to be a career-ending injury to his suspensory ligament in a training accident at Bay Meadows in January of 2007.

Nance put Ex Mountain Cop back into training in January of this year, nursed him along slowly and carefully, and finally got to watch him defeat a tough field of $40,000 optional claimers in gate-to-wire fashion in 1:10.20 for six furlongs.

"It's great to have him back," said Nance, who did not know where Ex Mountain Cop would run next.

Hot rider

Carlos Silva has ridden only six horses in the two weeks since he arrived at this track, but that will surely change. He won with three of those mounts, and the winners paid $40.40 (Vegas Queen), $55.60 (She's Rio Fast), and $37.40 (Russian).

The ROI for $2 bets on Silva's mounts stands at $22.23, or more than 11 times the investment.

* Portland Meadows will bring back its popular handicapping contest on Saturday after a hiatus of several years. Saturday's Preakness Day contest participants will pay a $100 registration fee: $50 to enter and $50 for a live betting bankroll. Entry fees will be returned in the form of prize money, and players will keep whatever remains on their live betting bankroll at the end of the contest. A free brunch buffet will be included. For more details, visit the track's website at www.portlandmeadows.com.