Blaine Wright, the leading trainer at Emerald Downs last year, got an early start on a repeat, with two of his horses winning on opening night of the 2017 season.

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Blaine Wright, the leading trainer at Emerald Downs last year, got an early start on a repeat, with two of his horses winning on opening night of the 2017 season.

But Wright wasn’t taking anything for granted.

“It’s a long ways to go,” he said after Oh Marvelous Me won the feature Saturday at the Auburn track. “We had a bit of luck tonight, and we’ve got fit horses right now.”

He gave credit for that to owners Todd and Shawn Hansen of Tenino.

“They have these horses in a good spot, and Jose put Oh Marvelous Me in the race.”

Jockey Jose Zunino did that by stalking the pace until the far turn, when he had the 5-year-old gelding lined up for a straight run down the stretch to beat Lord Walton and Cause I’m Bad.

Oh Marvelous Me, by Bluegrass Cat, returned $5.40 on a $2 win bet.

Lofty Cause, also trained by Wright and favored at 1-5 in the third race, romped by 11¾ lengths.

Besides the seven-race card and fireworks afterward, fans got their first look at the new card room open on the remodeled fifth floor of the track.

With six seats at each of the 15 tables, the casino can seat 90 players at once. Find a seat at the tables closest to the track, and the view of Mount Rainier could be a distraction.

Phil Ziegler, Emerald Downs president, sees the remodel as a new phase for the track, now in its 22nd season.

“This new amenity for Auburn provides a place to get lunch and dinner 365 days a year, a sports bar to watch games, a new area for racing simulcasts and the casino, open every day,” he said, adding there will be other activities such as karaoke nights (the first one is April 15).

The Muckleshoot Tribe bought the track in 2015 and owns the land it sits on. But it’s not tribal land, and it’s not a tribal casino. That means no slot machines, which aren’t sanctioned under state gaming rules.

“You had an Indian tribe getting a license to run a state-sanctioned gaming operation,” Ziegler said about the new casino.

The new simulcast area is more Las Vegas sports book than afterthought trying to catch up with expanded racing and wagering opportunities not available when the track opened in 1996. The area includes tables for spreading out racing data, placement next to the Quick Pix café and 32 televisions to watch racing that will now include late-night feeds from Japan, Hong Kong, Australia and Los Alamitos.

Hard to say how wagering was going at the card tables, but the seats were full. The racing fans put down $1.4 million, up 6.6 percent over last year’s opening day when there were nine races.

Handicappers betting against favorites had a chance for good payoffs. Other than the two Wright-trained winners, favorites went 0 for 5.

Zunino also won the seventh race aboard Kalakala, the best winning ticket of the night at $31.60.

Chatty Carl paid $18.20 in the fourth race, Endangered paid $14 in the second and K K’s Wonderwoman returned $12.80 in the fifth.

Bob Is Back brought jockey Eliska Kubinova back in winning fashion with a come-from-behind victory in the first race.

Kubinova, absent from the jockey colony in 2016, took Bob Is Back from worst to first, closing on the outside to win by 1¼ lengths. Trained by owner John Maloney, the 5-year-old gelding by Don’tsellmeshort paid $9.40.

Kubinova took time off in 2016 to be with her new daughter. She worked as a jockey agent and returned to riding this past winter at Portland Meadows.

Of her return to Emerald Downs, she said, “I guess I couldn’t stay away.”

Racing resumes Sunday at 2 p.m. at the newly named Emerald Downs Racetrack & Casino. The casino and simulcasting center are open every day from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.