(Auburn, WA) Grandparents weekend began on Saturday with all Grandparents receiving free admission and setting up the Gramps and Granny races on Sunday. Meantime, Saturday had 8 races going with the 7th race feature a field of 6 well matched 3 year-olds and up in a 25k allowance race.

Alex Cruz won 2 to hit the career 900 win mark, Kevin Krigger doubled and remains the only rider above 30% win rate at 32% and Luis Reyes also won twice including the feature race.

Let’s get to Saturday’s races!

7th Race Feature Race The Muckleshoot Casino Purse

A strong field of 6 went 1 mile and 70 yards and the public was well split with the longshot had half the field at 6-1, then a 5-1 a 3-1 and the majority settled on Coastal Jazz at 8-5. They would be wrong with this final assessment as Coastal Jazz battled on the front end but flattened out to finish 5th.

Dirt Road Red w/ Luis Reyes

This opened the door for the 5-1 stalker who loves to win at Emerald Downs and got 1st run able to hold off the deepest closer one of the 6-1’s. Dirt Road Red was the claimer of the year last season at Emerald winning 5 times and then got claimed by John Parker for $25,000 but then hit the wall not winning again in his final 3 races. 

Trainer Candi Cryderman was not concerned and knew it had been a long season for Red and they turned him out figuring he would be ready for 2024 and Cryderman was spot on. In his opener he ran a solid 3rd going 5 1/2 furlongs at 7-1. In his 2nd start they stretched him to a mile and he would go wire to wire for a superb front-running win at 6-1 for his 1st win of 2024. Brayan Pena rode both of his 1st 2 races. Pena has since shifted his tack to Canterbury in Minnesota.

Parker and Cryderman sent the versatile 7-year-old gelding out on Saturday to run the 1 mile and 70 yards with new rider Luis Reyes. Cryderman told Reyes that Red will do whatever you want him to do and so you do not need to get him on the lead nor do you have to worry how far back he is he will come runnig whenever you ask him.

Reyes took that advice to heart and sat in 3rd 2-3 lengths behind the front pace of Coastal Jazz with Karlo Lopez and 3-1 Ever a Rebel with Kevin Krigger. Dirt Road Red would edge up to the lead by a head after 6 furlongs and Reyes would open him up to a length lead at the top of the stretch. 

But the closers were beginning to rattle led by Falsely Accused and Leslie Mawing at 6-1 down the outside came running and just fell short by a neck at the line. You’re the Cause and Javier Matias at 6-1 tried to cut the corner but had to angle out to find a running lane and ended up 4th while Ever a Rebel held on for 3rd by a neck.

Dirt Road Red

Dirt Road Red felt the pressure and dug in to finish the job and get the win in a final time of 1:39.97. Red improves to 2-0-1-0 fro 3 starts this year and is now 13-14-9 from 54 lifetime starts for a career 24% win rate and 67% top 3 finish. In the Winner’s Circle Parker thanked trainer Justin Evans for bringing this amazing horse to Emerald Downs last season and apologized that he claimed him but said he was just too good of a horse not to.

Red actually began his career in 2019 at Emerald Downs for owner Allen Kirkwood and trainer Roy Lumm where he would run 4 times and get claimed in his final start by Chad Christiansen and went to trainer Frank Lucarelli. Dirt Road Red wouldn’t break his maiden until his 9th start at Golden Gate. Evans aquired Dirt Road Red from owner/trainer Dick Cappellucci prior to coming to Emerald Downs last year.

Since then Dirt Road Red has run 12 times and won 7 races with 1 2nd, 3rd and 4th. That’s a 58% win clip and 83% superfecta finish. Red earned $14,535 for his Saturday win to push his career earnings to $236,696. Redc paid $12.10, $5.74 and $3.94, Falsely Accused $7.74 and $4.30 and Ever a Rebel $3.98 to show.

Race Replay of Feature Race

Winners Circle Ceremonies with Joe Withee


The rest of Saturday’s Races

1st Race
2 late scratches reduced the field to just 4 which also meant no show wagering. One of the scratches was morningline favorite Devil D’Oro at 4-5. The attention shifted to #1 Vandulie and Kevin Krigger who would get bet down to 3-5. Vandulie was the lone front speed and Krigger rationed that speed perfectly going the 1st quarter in a pedestrian 24.12 and the half at 47.19. From there on no one would touch Vandulie who would win handily by 6 lengths in a final time in the mile 1:37.83. Baby Martini closed well with Kevin Orozco for 2nd at 7-2 passing 7-2 My Motorhome and Alex Cruz with 5-1 Just Pin Me and Neptali Ortiz taking 4th.

Vandulie races for Just a Dream Stable and trained by Steve Bullock. The 4 year-old filly is a Washington bred by Gold Rush Dancer out of Captain Philly by Cahill Road and was bred by the owners the Just a Dream Stable.

2nd Race

A field of 6 sprinted 5 furlongs for 3 year-olds and up for a claiming price of $3,500 and favorite Taino House at 7-5 sat off the early pace and allowed the front speed to set the early fractions. Luis Reyes never let them get out too far as the splits were reasonable of 22:47 and 45:29. Turning for Taini House took aim on the leader 3-1 Decimate with Leslie Mawing and those two would duel to the end with Taino House getting the win by a neck at the wire stopping the clock in 57:47. Decimate was 2nd with 3-1 Arthur Spooner and Alex Cruz running 3rd closing up the rail and early speed Thoughts of Gold with Allyssa Morales 4th.

Taino House races for owner and trainer Sergio Perez and paid $4.94, $3.24 and $2.46. The 1st daily double of the card returned $5.80.

3rd Race
A field of 5 was left after a late scratch in the 3rd going 6 furlongs and Nation of Faith was bet down to 3-5 with Alex Cruz up and the public was confident Cruz would get win #900 of his career and they were correct. Cruz and Nation of Faith would start last but not far back swung to the outside at the top of the stretch to make it a line of 4 and then drew off to win easily to win by more than 3 lengths in a final time of 1:10.55. The quick early fractions helped in setting up the stalker win. Nation of Faith is owned by James Kiser and Dreamscape Farm and trained by Charlie Essex. Nation of Faith is a Washington bred by Nationhood out of Screaminleapofaith by Matricule and was bred by Jim Kiser.

Thusly Inspired with Leslie Mawing at 6-1 battled hard the entire stretch in an impressive effort and held off the other 3 for 2nd, 5-2 Quail and Manuel Americano took 3rd with 7-1 Wednesday at Shady with Karlo Lopez capping the superfecta. The 1st pick 3 didn’t fool anyone paying just $4.05

Cruz’s 900th win


4th Race
7 went 3/4’s of a mile and 2nd favorite Knightline had everything going his way setting soft fractions of 22:47 and 45:15 for Karlo Lopez. Lopez and Knightline held a 2 length lead turning for home and looked like a winner but 1-5 odds-on choice Uncle Pete had been looming just behind and Kevin Krigger released the brakes at the to of the stretch engaged Knightline inside the 1/8th pole and the 2 went head and head until the final 20 yards when Pete surged to get the neck victory in a final time of 1:09.29. Uncle Pete gave Krigger his 2nd win of the day and races for Uncle Pete’s Dream Team and trained by Steve Bullock also his 2nd win of the day. Uncle Pete is a Washington bred by Abraaj out of Irene’s Bonus Baby by Free At Last and was bred by Ron and Nina Hagen.

38-1 Princess of Memphis took 3rd with Allyssa Morales and 1st time starter Alzati with Carlos Montalvo were 4th. Montalvo claimed foul against the winner and the stewards conducted an inquiry but made no change to the final order of finish. The 50-cent pick 3 and pick 4 paid season lows with the pick 3 at $3.87 and the pick 4 at $7.17. The $2 show on Princess of Memphis was good for $9.18.

Race Replay

5th Race
A field of 9 $25,000 maiden claimers went 6 furlongs for 3 year-olds and up and Louiethe First at 5-1 with Carlos Montalvo got to the lead quickly and Montalvo paced the front end to leave plenty for the drive when the 8-5 favorite Street Mogul and Neptali Ortz came running on the rail. Montalvo and Louis never gave in and finished strong to complete the gate to wire win by a half length in a final time of 1:10.05. Louis the First races for Dillan Miller and Calvin Figley and is trained by Blaine Wright.

Street Mogul was a clear 2nd while 43-1 Knockout Guy with Kiaman McGregor closed well to be 3rd and kicked up the trifecta and superfecta pays with 7-1 Mr Executive taking 4th. Louis the First paid $13.38, $7.74 and $4.38, Knockout Guy returned $8.70 on the $2 show and pushed the 50-cent trifecta to $101.09 and the $1 superfecta $905.10.

Race Replay

6th Race
6 starters and 6 finishers with all 6 having a shot to win the 1 mile run inside the 1/8th pole. Moon Time at 7-2 with Alex Cruz went to the lead with 7-1 Sensemaker and Kevin Krigger and the pair set fractions of 22.82 and 45.34 and 1:10.20 and still nothing had been settled. Moon Time dug in as the stalkers and closers came running with Regulation Dazed and Allyssa Morales trying to find a way through a tight hole on the rail between the 2 front runners. By the time she got a clear shot Moon Time clinched the win by a neck over Regulation Dazed. An Inquiry was initiated by the stewards but no change was ordered and the result stood. Summer Shandee and Silvio Amador also came running late on the far outside but settled for 3rd and Sensemaker held on for 4th. 

Moon Time clocked in at 1:37.28 and races for Luciano Medina Gabriel and Hon Cheung Kum and is trained by Gabriel. Moon Time capped the 2nd pick 4 paying $64.82.

8th Race
In the Saturday finale a thrilling finish separated by a neck with 5-2 2nd choice Motivating Force and Manuel Americano just getting up in time for the win running the 6 furlongs in 1:11.43. Motivating Force runs for Dawn Spillman and is trained by Jorge Rosales. Just missing the win was 9-1 Coy Roy and Alex Cruz, 5-2 Benny Buckets with Karlo Lopez was 3rd, 3-2 favorite First Endeavor and Kevin Krigger was 4th and 24-1 Bossybynature with Leslie Mawing ran 5th to complete the 50-cent Super High 5.

 The Super High 5 returned $543.31, the 50-cent pick 5 paid a solid $2,031.12 the final pick 4 paid $569.33.

Race Replay

News and Notes

900 Wins!

Alex Cruz is shooting for his 5th straight jockey title and remains red hot picking up another 2 wins on Saturday and has 5 wins for the weekend. On Saturday he also hit a personal milestone his 900th career victory. That came in the 3rd race aboard Nation of Faith. Cruz did not waste time to get 901 and avoided the milestone jinx where you hit a big milestone and get stuck on that number as he won again in the 6th aboard Moon Time and nearly got 902 in the finale. 

Cruz is on a heater winning 17 races over the past 8 race days. Cruz won his 900th on Saturday and a week ago Saturday he won his 1st Stakes race on Blazingbellablu. Both were trained by Charlie Essex, Cruz has extended his lead over Karlo Lopez 32-18. Cruz talked with ESN about his current run including his 1st Stakes win last week on Blazingbellablu.


Outside of Cruz’s 900th win 2 others doubled on Saturday. Kevin Krigger was 2-0-1-2 from 5 mounts and now has 12 wins and a red hot 32% win rate, the highest of all riders. Both wins were for trainer Steve Bullock and the pair teamed up again in the 8th shooting for the triple and had the favorite but had to settle for 4th.

Luis Reyes got a pair of wins getting up for a neck win in the 2nd on Taino House and then the feature on Dirt Road Red. Carlos Montalvo got his 14th victory in the 5th with Louis the First and trainer Blaine Wright and Manuel Americano got his 2nd career win in the finale on Motivating Force. 

Only Bullock doubled for the trainers taking the 1st and 4th. Luciano Medina Gabriel who was the break-out trainer from 2023 has gotten off to a slower start in the win column but got his 2nd win of the 2024 when Moon Time got the win.

ESN talked with Luis Reyes about his turnaround here at Emerald Downs. Reyes got off to an up and down start here and ended up changing agents. Over the past couple of weeks Reyes has turned things around including winning his 1st Stakes race last Sunday on 18-1 Neiman. Reyes says he has really found his lane here at Emerald and is excited about the rest of the season.

ESN talks with Luis Reyes






2nd Race
Taino House went to new owner and trainer Miguel Hernandez for the claiming price of $3,500.
6th Race
Moon Time goes to Roger Hoff and Jack Arnold for trainer Vince Gibson at $5,000.
Atomic Candy was taken by Lusk Racing and Alexis Silva-Martinez and will be trained Silva-Martinez for 5k.
Regulation Dazed was red tagged by Filos Stable and Liandro Morfin and also goes to Alexis Silva-Martinez for $5,000.
8th Race
Chinook Bend goes to new owner/trainer Billy Christian for $5,000.

Saturday Photo Gallery


By paulb

WordPress Image Lightbox