In an effort to enhance live, race day exposure, Emerald Downs will add new elements to its TV coverage throughout the 2011 season.
During selected races, Director of Publicity Joe Withee will complement his prerace analysis with a brief interview with a race entrant’s trainer or owner, as their horse warms up before post time. The interview will be done live, immediately after the post parade. Withee said the new coverage would give racing fans a fresh take on the upcoming race.
“We were looking to upgrade the coverage at Emerald Downs,” Withee said. “The new exposure will certainly make the segment more exciting.”
According to Wes Petree, director of TV services, the television department will capture the winning connections on camera while they celebrate as their horse gallops back to the winner’s circle. In previous years only the winning horse would be displayed.
The track also announced the addition of veteran handicapper Vic Cozzetti’s new feature. “Vic’s Trips” will showcase Cozzetti’s trip horse de jour, featuring a runner whose previous race might have been compromised by bad racing luck. Petree said the feature would air on the track’s daily show “Handicapper’s Corner” and at least one other time during the card.
For his part, Cozzetti said he thought it was a great idea to do something and different, and that the new feature would emphasize an important aspect in Thoroughbred handicapping.
“Trip handicapping is my bread and butter,” Cozzetti said. “I’ll make sure to introduce what trip handicapping is, and then give racing fans my notebook horse of the day. I’ve been doing this a long time, and perhaps the fans can profit from my experience.”
COULDABENTHEWHISKY THE EARLY FAVORITE FOR TOP 3-YEAR-OLD
Noosa Beach might have been Emerald Downs’ most dominant horse in 2010, but Couldabenthewhisky wasn’t far behind. Both were sons of the red-hot stallion Harbor the Gold, and while Noosa Beach dominated older horses Couldabenthewhisky conquered the juveniles with three stakes wins capped by a five-length romp in the $75,000 Gottstein Futurity on closing day.
“He just ran awesome last year,” trainer Bonnie Jenne said of Couldabenthewhisky. “The funny thing is, nobody ever really game him that much credit.”
The betting public made Couldabenthewhisky the third and fourth choice in two of his three stakes scores, while Winter Warlock and Seattle Sniper garnered most of the wagering support. Winter Warlock finished first or second in each of his first five career starts, including a narrow victory over Seattle Sniper in the Premio Esmeralda. Seattle Sniper was favored in his first four starts last season including two stakes races, but it was Couldabenthewhisky in Jenne’s yellow and green silks taking down the victories.
Owned by Jenne in partnership with Andy Maib and Craig and Stan Fredrickson, Couldabenthewhisky has trained as though the transition from 2-to-3-year-old will be smooth, but there are several other contenders among the sophomores.
Mack’s Gold Bullet, for example, could make noise as the son of Private Gold beat Winter Warlock and Couldabenthewhisky with a wire-to-wire victory in last year’s Dennis Dodge Stakes on Washington Cup Day. And, of course, Seattle Sniper and Winter Warlock are back for another go-round, as is Zayda, a strapping Bluegrass Cat colt from the Blaine Wright barn coming off a third-place finish in a Feb. 10 allowance race at Golden Gate Fields.
The track’s condition book has a 3-year-old allowance race on April 24, which could be an eventual prep for the Auburn Handicap on May 30. The six-furlong race features a $19,600 purse and is written for 3-year-olds, which have not won $30,000 twice other than maiden claiming or starter in 2011.
- KJR Sports Radio 950 AM will broadcast live from Emerald Downs 3-10 p.m. on opening day, Friday, April 15.
- West Seattle Boy has returned from Portland Meadows and was right at home Friday morning, playfully kicking and bucking after a light workout under trainer/exercise rider Jesse Velasquez. The track’s all-time leader in wins, West Seattle Boy will celebrate a rare milestone this season, as June 3 marks the 10-year anniversary of his first career start at Emerald Downs. The 12-year-old gelding debuted with a 1 ¼-length victory in a $25,000 maiden claiming race on June 3, 2001.
- Vic Cozzetti celebrates his birthday Saturday and 2011 marks the 40th season in Northwest horse racing for “The Predictor.”
- Gary Baze and Vicky Baze both plan to ride at Prairie Meadows this summer. The 63-day meet runs April 22-Aug. 13.
- Tribal Warrior will represent owners Fred & Cindy Desimone in a $56,000 allowance race on the turf Sunday at Santa Anita. Purchased for $900 at the 2009 Washington Winter Sale, the 3-year-old Tribal Rule gelding won 2-of-4 starts at Turf Paradise for trainer Mike Chambers.
- You Me and Ema B, a 4-year-old You and I filly who blitzed maiden special weights in her only start last year, worked a half-mile in :49 2/5 Friday for trainer Margo Lloyd.
- Co-owner Nina Hagen said Thursday that 2009 Top 2-Year-Old Filly Knight Raider will be bred to multiple graded-stakes winner Grand Slam.
- Trainer Joe Toye, 15-for-156 at Turf Paradise this winter, plans to run a string at Emerald Downs once the Phoenix track complete its winter/spring meeting May 8*Entries for Emerald Downs’ opening night will be taken Tuesday, April 12.