Two of the top performers in Emerald Downs history called it a career July 3 at the Auburn, Wash. track.
Jockey Ricky Frazier and 7-year-old gelding Noosa Beach—who combined for a dominating victory in the 2010 Longacres Mile Handicap (gr. III)—retired simultaneously in the winner's circle ceremony before the fourth race Wednesday.
Frazier, 48, was presented a plaque from Emerald Downs' president Ron Crockett. Jeff Harwood and Doris Harwood, owner and trainer of Noosa Beach, whom they bred, were given a plaque by Emerald Downs' vice president Jack Hodge. Earlier in the day, Frazier and Doris Harwood autographed full color posters that featured Frazier aboard Noosa Beach and listed many of their best achievements at Emerald Downs.
Between them, Frazier and Noosa Beach practically rewrote the track's record book, and during one stretch they reeled off six consecutive stakes wins including a 1 1/2-length victory in the 75th running of the Longacres Mile Aug. 22, 2010.
Before visiting the winner's circle, Frazier climbed aboard Noosa Beach, and together they paraded in front of the grandstand one last time.
"A lot of people ask me how does (Noosa Beach's retirement) feel, and the only thing I can say is if you're a little kid, and you dreamed about that trip to Disneyland," Jeff Harwood said. "You finally got to go, and it was better than you ever dreamed.
"Still, you're still kind of sad when you're in the car leaving and it's over. It's just been a wonderful trip with Noosa Beach. I just want to thank all the fans for all their good wishes."
Frazier was unable to get medical clearance from a head injury he sustained nearly three years ago. Noosa Beach suffered an ankle injury last month and the Harwood's decided to call off comeback plans.
A Washington-bred by Harbor the Gold--Julia Rose, by Basket Weave, Noosa Beach won a record 11 stakes races at Emerald Downs and Horse of the Meeting titles in 2010 and 2011. The dark bay or brown gelding also won Washington state championships at ages 2, 3, 4, and 5, and compiled a 13-4-1 record in 20 starts at Emerald Downs with earnings of $465,305.
Noosa Beach's overall career mark, including a stakes win at Hastings Racecourse, was 14-4-2 from 22 races with purses of $524,472.
A Native of Hot Springs, Ark., Frazier rode 3,490 winners in a career that lasted nearly three decades. At Emerald Downs, he ranks No. 3 all-time with 886 wins and No. 2 all-time with 72 stakes wins. He won five of seven riding titles from 2004-2010 including a track record 157 wins in 2007. He was the leading stakes rider seven straight seasons and scored his first Longacres Mile victory on Flamethrowintexan in 2006.
"I don't feel like I came back to Emerald Downs to retire," Frazier said, "I feel like I came here to thank everybody for supporting me all these years. The reason I came to Emerald Downs to ride was because of my agent Boone McCanna, and the reason I stayed was because of everybody else."
Doris Harwood ranks first with 56 stakes wins at Emerald Downs, but Noosa Beach gave the trainer her first Longacres Mile victory. The cupboard isn't bare, however, as Harwood trains two full brothers to Noosa Beach, multiple stakes-winning 3-year-old Music of My Soul and unraced 2-year-old Noosito.
"It's really been an honor to have a horse like Noosa Beach in my barn," she said. "It's going to be a very empty stall when he leaves on Friday morning.
"We're looking forward to his little brothers—Music of My Soul and Noosito—running too, but there won't be another horse like Noosa Beach."