Emerald Downs Kicks Off Season Friday

Leading trainer Howard Belvoir has eight going opening night.

Racing will get underway Friday at Emerald Downs with 62 horses entered for the eight-race card. Trainer Howard Belvoir leads all trainers with eight.

Belvoir, third all-time with 561 wins at Emerald Downs, comes off a superb 2011 campaign that produced 52 winners, just one shy of leading trainer Frank Lucarelli. A Martin Durkan award recipient in 2010 for his efforts to help fill races, Belvoir said he was impressed with the number of horses entered for Friday.

“The trainers have all done a good job filling up races,” Belvoir said. “Now let’s just hope for good weather.”

Belvoir, who will saddle Advancement in Friday’s feature race, a conditional $12,500 claiming race for older horses, said he would enter up to as many as 20 horses for this weekend’s races. Entries for Saturday and Sunday will be taken Wednesday morning.

First post Friday is at 6 p.m. (PDT), but race fans may want to arrive early for the jockeys’ introduction, which takes place in the winner’s circle at approximately 5:40 p.m. New jockeys to be introduced include William Antongeorgi III, Rocco Bowen, and Mark Anderson. Czech Republic native and apprentice Eliska Kubinova leads all riders with a mount in each of the eight races.

For the second straight season, CSN (Comcast Sports Network) will cover Emerald Downs’ every Saturday live throughout the 2012 meeting.

Hosted by director of publicity Joe Withee, “Emerald Downs Live” runs from 2-6 p.m. and will feature the track’s entire card. Emerald Downs’ race replays will also be available on XFINITY TV On Demand from Comcast.

Another returning feature includes “Vic’s Trips” a TV segment that showcases Victor Cozzetti’s trip horse of the day and airs on every live racing day. “The Predictor” analyzes horses whose previous race may have been compromised by bad racing luck.