Washington Hall of Fame trainer Jim Penney appears to have great depth this season in the filly and mare division at Emerald Downs.
That certainly was the case Friday evening as a festive opening night throng braved cool and rainy weather to celebrate the beginning of the track’s 16th season.
Michael and Amy Feuerborn’s Sis’s Sis, the track’s champion 3-year-old filly last year, was scratched earlier in the day with a bruised foot. But Sweet Nellie Brown—also trained by Penney—rallied from off the pace for a one-length victory over Rewritten in the $21,000 Sports Radio 950 KJR Purse for older fillies and mares.
Ridden by Pedro Terrero at 119 lbs, Sweet Nellie Brown ran 5-½ furlongs in 1:03.54 on a wet-fast track and paid $6.40, $3 and $2.40 as the second choice in the wagering.
Rewritten, a stakes winner last year around two turns, rallied strongly to finish second and paid $3.20 and $2.10. Joe Crispin, who rode two winners on the eight-race card, was aboard the runner-up at 119 lbs.
Feeling Fancy, the 4-to-5 betting favorite, was three-quarters of a length back in third place and $2.10 to show. It was another nose back to Crocodile Tuff in fourth place.
Penney, fourth all-time with 506 wins at Emerald Downs, praised the ride by Terrero, who surprisingly took Sweet Nellie Brown off the pace as Feeling Fancy and Crocodile Tuff dueled through fractions of :22.38 and :45.27.
“I thought (Terrero) showed good judgment to wait,” Penney said. “It might have made the difference.”
Terrero, who rode 65 winners last season as an apprentice, had Sweet Nellie Brown swoop to the lead into the stretch, and they held off the fast closing Rewritten for the victory.
A 4-year-old Washington-bred by Cape Canaveral, Sweet Nellie Brown has 4-3-1 record in 12 starts with earnings of $56,675 for owners James and Zola Proffitt of Tacoma. The bay filly caused a splash when she won her debut by 17 ¼ lengths on June 13, 2009. Friday’s win was worth $11,550.
The mutuel handle of $1,512,517 was up over five percent from opening day in 2010.
NOTES: Juan Gutierrez was the other jockey to ride two winners on the card…For the second straight year Deborah Hoonan-Trujillo rode the first winner of the meet, guiding betting favorite Flying Jack ($5.40) to a rail-skimming victory over 36-to-1 long shot Krain Corner…The track was listed “good” for the first three races and upgraded to “wet-fast” for the final five races…Owner Riverview Farm and trainer Gary Morris made the first claim of the meeting, haltering fourth-place finisher Cantcatchkato from the first race for $7,500…That transaction began a flood of claims…In the second race, owner Jack Zaborac and trainer Steve Koler claimed fourth-place finisher Kafwain Secret M D for $5,000…In the fourth owner-trainer John Holmes tagged third-place finisher Smart as Jim for $5,000…In the fifth owner Gregory Biddell and trainer Robbie Baze claimed fourth-place finisher Hot Box for $4,000…And in the sixth race owners Gordy Jarnig, Ken Marshall and Eric Schweiger of Reba Is Tops fame tagged 4-year-old gelding Cyber Bell for $12,5000…All-time leading trainer Tim McCanna saddled his first winner of the meet when odds-on Yakutat ($3.40) romped in the sixth race under Joe Crispin. It was McCanna’s 771st victory atEmerald Downs… Former Seattle Post-Intelligencer sportswriter Joe Mooney passed away April 8 in Seattle. Mooney, who was 66, was known in print as “The Betting Man” for his daily handicaps and wagers in the 1970s…Racing resumes Saturday with first post at 2 p.m…Simulcast action features the final slate of major 3-year-old Kentucky Derby preps, led by the $750,000 Blue Grass at Keeneland and the $1,000,000 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park. Santiva is the 3-to-1 morning line favorite in the Blue Grass while The Factor is 7-to-5 in the Arkansas Derby.