(Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Aug. 3, 2003)

The third race today, a $12,500 allowance race for mules, will go a long way toward deciding who the dominant mule will be this summer. Black Ruby has been virtually unbeatable the last 10 years, but has been vulnerable in her last three starts, finishing third once and second twice.

Smoking Joe defeated Black Ruby at Solano and came back to beat her again the first week at Santa Rosa. In between, Sarah Nelson beat her at Pleasanton. Black Ruby is listed in the morning line at 5-2, the first time in several years she has not been the favorite.