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Winning Machine Flies Under the Radar

While Noosa Beach commands most of the attention leading into Sunday’s Grade 3 Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs, another local horse, Winning Machine, has been going about his business, more or less under the radar. Some talented runners from California and Canada are shipping in to chase a share of the $200,000 purse, but Jeff Harwood, who owns Noosa Beach, says Winning Machine is the horse he fears more than any other.

Harwood is quite familiar with Winning Machine. His wife, Doris Harwood, trained the horse until midway through the 2010 Emerald meeting, when Winning Machine was transferred to trainer Frank Lucarelli. By then Winning Machine had gone off form, but after a restful winter, the 5-year-old is rounding into peak form. He closed strongly to finish second behind Noosa Beach in the one-mile Budweiser Handicap on June 17, and followed up with a pacesetting second in the 1 1/6-mile Mt. Rainier Handicap on July 24. Winning Machine giving way grudgingly to Noosa Beach, losing by just a half-length, and posted a Beyer Speed Figure of 92, equaling his career best.

“He ran great,” Lucarelli said this week. “I wished Assessment didn’t come up and hook into him early, at the five-eighths. But Noosa Beach is a tough horse, and he might have got by us anyway. I was very pleased with the effort. He ran his guts out right to the wire.”

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