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Enumclaw trainer Frank Lucarelli puts two horses in Longacres Mile
Just before entries were drawn Wednesday morning for the 76th running of the $200,000 Longacres Mile,veteran Seattle Times handicapper Gary Dougherty calculated the odds were 131-to-1 that probable favorites Noosa Beach and Awesome Gem would draw post-positions 11 and 12 for Sunday’s Grade 3 race.
Well, it is horse racing, and long shots do occasionally win, and indeed Noosa Beach and Awesome Gem drew the outside two posts for the 2011 Longacres Mile.
Awesome Gem, with Longacres Mile Honorary Steward Jon White pulling the pea, drew the No. 12 post-position, and Noosa Beach, whose card was the last one left in the box, was left with No. 11 when owner Jeff Harwood came forward to pull his pea.
The No. 11 post-position is 1-for-41 in the Longacres Mile, the only victory by Bolulight in 1992 with a masterful ride by the late Ron Hansen. The No. 12 post-position is only slightly better at 2-for-28 with victories by Coldwater in the inaugural 1935 running and Assessment in 2009.
Nevertheless, defending mile champion and 125 pound high-weight Noosa Beach is the 2-to-1 favorite on Rob Rao’s morning line, followed by Southern California shipper Awesome Gem at 5-to-2. Slew the Man at 8-to-1 is the distant third choice, with Canadian invaders St Liams Halo and Crew Leader both at 10-to-1.
Doris Harwood, trainer of Noosa Beach, took a positive approach to the outside draw.
“We won the race from post No. 5 last year, so it would have been a good omen to get it again,” she said. “Post No. 11 shouldn’t be a problem because he’s got enough speed to get out of there. I’d much rather have on the outside than the inside. He’s a long-striding horse, and the last thing he needs is to get into trouble on the inside.”
Noosa Beach (20-14-3-2-$480,722) rides a seven-race winning streak into The Mile and is No. 1 all-time with 11 stakes wins at Emerald Downs. And Gallyn Mitchell is the jockey who maneuvered Assessment to a perfect trip from the 12-hole two years ago.
Awesome Gem, second to Assessment in the 2009 Mile, has finished in the top three in 17 graded events, and with $2,578,270 in purses will be the richest horse ever to compete at Emerald Downs.
2011 Longacres Mile, Sunday, Aug. 21
$200,000, Grade 3, 3-year-olds-&-up—One Mile
Horse Trainer Jockey Weight ML
1-Posse Power Frank Lucarelli Russell Baze 115 15
2-Assessment Howard Belvoir Juan Gutierrez 117 15
3-St Liams Halo Michael Puhich Mario Gutierrez 120 10
4-Honour the Deputy Jerry Hollendorfer Kevin Krigger 117 12
5-Saratoga Boot Tim McCanna Joe Crispin 116 20
6-Winning Machine Frank Lucarelli Leslie Mawing 117 12
7-J P Jammer Karyn Seal Pedro Terrero 114 15
8-Wasserman Howard Belvoir Jennifer Whitaker 112 30
9-Slew the Man Jeff Bonde Frank Alvarado 119 8
10-Crew Leader Dino Condilenios Chad Hoverson 118 10
11-Noosa Beach Doris Harwood Gallyn Mitchell 125 2
12-Awesome Gem Craig Dollase David Flores 122 5-2
$200,000 LONGACRES MILE VITAL STATISTICS
What: 76th running $200,000 Longacres Mile (G3)
When: 5:53 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 21 (Race 8)
Where: Emerald Downs, Auburn, Wash.
TV: CSN (Ch. 179) 3-7 p.m., TVG (Ch. 409) 4:30-7 p.m. (Joe Withee, Simon Bray, Mike Joyce)
Radio: KJR Sports Radio 950 AM 4:30-6:30 p.m. (Mike Gastineau, Robert Geller)
Gates Open: 9 a.m.
Giveaway Item: 50 ipad2’s (five after each race)
Sub-Feature: $65,000 Emerald Distaff, 1-1/8 Miles (Race 6, 4:45 p.m.)
LONGACRES MILE-WINNING OWNERS DISCUSS THE THRILL OF VICTORY
Local horses have won the last six Longacres Mile so, fittingly, emcee Joe Withee invited the winning owners to the front of the room, where they passed around the microphone and discussed their Mile triumphs.
Herman Sarkowsky, owner-breeder of 2005 Mile winner No Giveaway, got the ball rolling.
“I was part owner of the Portland Trail Blazers when they won the NBA title and I won a Breeders’ Cup with Phone Chatter,” he said. “But winning the Longacres Mile is the thrill of all thrills. It happened here, at home, and he paid $120!”
No Giveaway actually paid $122 in the 2005 Longacres Mile, which remains the biggest win payoff in the history of the race. Sarkowsky didn’t say if he wagered on his horse, but he collected $137,500 for the victory.
Paul Heist, owner of 2006 winner Flamethrowintexan, said the amazing victory by “Tex” gave him the greatest 44th birthday present imaginable. Emerald Downs President Ron Crockett, owner of 2007 winner The Great Face, said he and wife Wanda have a room in their Seattle home called “The Great Face Room” where photographs and memorabilia from the Mile victory are displayed.
Howard Belvoir, owner of 2008 winner Wasserman, and Diane Tice, co-owner of 2009 winner Assessment, both said winning the Longacres Mile was the pinnacle of their involvement in the sport. And Jeff Harwood, owner of 2010 winner Noosa Beach, summed it up thusly: “It was amazing. When you win the Longacres Mile, the last thing you think about is the money.”
AMAZING WASSERMAN SET FOR FIFTH STRAIGHT LONGACRES MILE
Even though he’s the longest of shots this year—30-to-1 on the morning line and starting low-weight at 112 lbs—you have to hand it to Wasserman. Sunday marks his straight appearance in the Longacres Mile, and once again Jennifer Whitaker has the riding assignment aboard the veteran gelding.
Kent Green in 1987-92 holds the record of six straight starts in The Mile, as the Mike McCann owned-trained gelding finished second to Simply Majestic in 1988 and dead-heated for third in the 1990 Mile won by Snipledo.
Wasserman, of course, pulled off one of the most amazing victories in Mile history in 2008 when he and Whitaker teamed for a thrilling neck victory over True Metropolitan. The previous year he had finished third behind The Great Face and Raise the Bluff. Wasserman also was fourth in 2009 and finished ninth last years as the longest shot in the race at 52-to-1.
The track’s all-time leading earner with $530,237, Wasserman is one of three former Longacres Mile winners in this year’s field (Wasserman, Assessment and Noosa Beach) and one of three Washington-breds in the race (Wasserman, Noosa Beach, Slew the Man). Kentucky-breds have won 19 Longacres Mile, followed by Washington-breds with 18 Mile wins and California-breds with 16.
At 9 years old, Wasserman would be the oldest horse to win the Longacres Mile. Little Rollo (1951) and Gigantic (1959) both were 8 when they won The Mile.
Other Longacres Mile Developments
· Posse Power, to be ridden by three-time Longacres Mile-winning jockey Russell Baze, breezed four furlongs in a bullet :45 2/5 Wednesday at Emerald Downs for trainer Frank Lucarelli.
· The popular Railbird Rally—hosted by Doug “The Goat” Cocke—begins 10 a.m. Sunday in The Park adjacent to the paddock.
· Emerald Downs President Ron Crockett presented 2011 Longacres Mile Honorary Steward Jon White with a DVD featuring several races of White’s all-time favorite horse Turbulator.
YOU ME AND EMA B MEETS U R ALL THAT I AM IN $65,000 EMERALD DISTAFF
In the midst of Longacres Mile (G3) fervor, another championship event has taken shape as eight fillies and mares prepare for the 16th running of the $65,000 Emerald Distaff at Emerald Downs.
The 1-1/8-mile championship event takes place Sunday as the first half of a stakes doubleheader that features the 76th Running of the Longacres Mile.
Of the eight Distaff entrants, You Me and Ema B should be the top choice among the local contingent. However, despite winning four-of-five career starts, 4-year-old You Me and Ema B has yet to go off as the post-time favorite. The diminutive daughter of You and I captured two of the division’s first three stakes events including a two-length score in the one-mile Boeing Handicap—her first career route. Trainer Margo Lloyd said while she wasn’t thrilled with post No. 8, she doesn’t expect her race strategy to change.
“I would’ve liked to have drawn a little closer to the inside,” Lloyd said. “She’ll be near the front, but the outside post might slow her down a little bit. I would imagine that Kimmyv and Zenovit would show speed too.”
Tremendous in 2010, defending champion Kimmyv and Zenovit, the state’s Champion 3-Year-Old Filly, are winless in 2011. At Emerald Downs, however, Canada-based Kimmyv has found success compiling a 3-1-0-1 record. While, Zenovit, sixth in two stakes his season, is 2-for-2 at the distance and has trained well recently, working six furlongs in a bullet 1:11 1/5 on Aug. 7.
U R All That I Am, conditioned by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer, is a 5-year-old California-bred with a 10-for-27 record and earnings of $425,882 for owner-breeder Tommy Town Thoroughbreds.The daughter of Valid Wager has won five stakes races, but has performed best on synthetic surfaces (7-for-13) and is only 1-for-4 on dirt.
You Me and Ema B will be without regular rider Deborah Hoonan-Trujillo, who is recovering from a head injury she sustained from a spill on Aug. 11. Jose Zunino takes over the mount and should be a good fit, according to Lloyd.
“It’s tough not having Debbie aboard, but I am very happy that Jose took the mount,” Lloyd said. “He’s very familiar with the horse.”
2011 Emerald Distaff, Sunday, Aug. 21
$65,000, Fillies and Mares 3-year-olds-&-up—1-1/8 Miles
Horse Trainer Jockey Weight
1-Kimmyv Dino Condilenios Chad Hoverson 116
2-U R All That I Am Jerry Hollendorfer Kevin Krigger 119
3-Hard Way Ten Doris Harwood Gallyn Mitchell 115
4-Private Fortune Jim Penney Leonel Camacho-Flores 115
5-Rewritten Frank Lucarelli Leslie Mawing 118
6-Sweet Nellie Brown Jim Penney Pedro Terrero 118
7-Zenovit Larry Ross Russell Baze 117
8-You Me and Ema B Margo Lloyd Jose Zunino 112