05/26/2008 11:00PM

Wasserman works hard to get his job done


AUBURN, Wash. - Howard Belvoir describes Wasserman as a ditch-digger. "He just comes to work every day and digs," said the trainer and owner.

Wasserman, a 6-year-old son of Cahill Road, dug particularly deep at Emerald Downs in Monday's $50,000 FSN Handicap at 6 1/2 furlongs. He found himself dead last in a field of 10 after a quarter-mile in 21.60 seconds, and he still had 3 1/2 lengths to make up on the dueling Westsideclyde and Chhaya Dance with a furlong remaining. That's just what he did, though, getting up in the last jump to score by a head over Westsideclyde in 1:14.20 under a superbly judged ride by Jennifer Whittaker.

"Jen rides the horse well," said Belvoir. "She gallops him every morning and she knows him as well as anybody. The only instructions I ever give her is to say good luck and have fun."

Whitaker is the leading female rider in Emerald Downs history with 305 wins at the track, including 12 stakes. She will have plenty of opportunities to add to her stakes total at this meeting aboard Wasserman.

"He won't skip any dances," said Belvoir. "He'll run six or seven times at this meeting and that's it. I turn him out every winter, and that's probably the key to his success."

Wasserman has won 6 of 34 starts and $239,471, which makes his owner's description of him as "a good poor man's horse" ring just a tad disingenuous. He explained what he means by that phrase.

"Everybody who works for a living has to like him because he tries so hard," said Belvoir. "Any surface, any distance, he is always finishing. He never gives up."

Belvoir gave a nod to defending FSN champion and runner-up Westsideclyde, calling him "a double-game horse." Westsideclyde hadn't raced since winning last year's Budweiser-Emerald Handicap on June 17 and came into this year's FSN with only a brief work tab. Nonetheless, he pressed a fast pace throughout under Gary Baze and fell just a head short. Now that he has a race under his girth, Westsideclyde may be extremely difficult to beat the rest of this meet.

Frazier will ride for raffle winner

Becky Thomas of Bothell won Monday's Win-A-Jockey Sweepstakes and chose leading rider Ricky Frazier to ride for her at the 2008 meeting.

Good choice. Frazier has been the leading money-winning jockey at Emerald in three of the four last seasons, and he set an earnings record last year with $1,632,102 in purses.

A similar record at this meeting will net Thomas, who gets the equivalent of 1 percent of Frazier's purse earnings, more than $16,000.

Enumclaw Girl fit for Federal Way

Trainer Rose Simkins reported that Enumclaw Girl is "A-okay" for Saturday's $60,000 Federal Way Handicap for 3-year-old fillies.

"She worked really well last Wednesday," Simkins said. "The track was wet, but she got over it nicely. She has a nice, easy, flowing way of going, and that's what I really like about her. She is average-sized, but she is light and agile and she doesn't hit the ground hard."

Enumclaw Girl, a daughter of Katowice who races for breeder Doris Konecny, will be attempting to stretch her unbeaten string to three in the Federal Way. She defeated maiden special weight company in her only start at 2, then came back to post a convincing 2 1/2-length victory in the six furlong U.S. Bank Stakes in her 3-year-old debut on May 10.

Eight fillies were nominated for the Federal Way, including U.S. Bank runner-up No Constraints, third finisher Jasmine's Melody, and Startjumpin Marnie, who finished a troubled fourth as the 1-5 favorite.

Lucarelli's horses winning without him

Frank Lucarelli has been one of the hottest trainers on the grounds over the last three weeks, winning with 9 of 32 starters for a 28 percent success rate. Coincidentally, Lucarelli hasn't been to the track since undergoing knee replacement surgery a little more than three weeks ago. It would be churlish to suggest the two things are related, so of course that is just what his friends have been doing.

"I was with some of Frank's owners after they won a race last week," said jockey agent John Moresco. "I was reporting to Frank on my cell and I told him the owners had something to say. I held up the phone and they all yelled, 'Stay home!' "

Moresco, who has been helping assistant trainer Juan Huerta with some of the duties around Lucarelli's barn, said the trainer will likely be fit to return to the track this week.

Harwood yet to unveil her best babies

Doris Harwood has been Emerald's leading trainer of 2-year-olds for the past couple of seasons, and she is off to a good start again this year. Harwood saddled two starters in the second juvenile race of the meeting on Monday, a $40,000 maiden race at 4 1/2 furlongs, and watched them run one-two. Enumerator, a son of He's Tops who races for Herman Sarkowsky, outfinished Winning Machine by 4 1/4 lengths in 51.40.

Harwood said both Enumerator and Winning Machine are "nice horses," but that she has other 2-year-olds in her barn who are more promising at this stage of their development.

"Just wait until the maiden special weight races start filling," she said.