Gold Rush Dancer took a four-length lead to the finish line to win the 82nd running of the Longacres Mile (Grade 3) at Emerald Downs on Sunday.
Evin Roman, the leading rider at Del Mar Racetrack in California, was in the irons for trainer Vann Belvoir and owner John E. Parker.
The 4-year-old California-bred colt by Private Gold out of Dances on Water took the lead out of the third post position before settling in second off the leader, Dedicated to You, in the first quarter mile, which ran at 22.4 seconds.
“We knew we had him ready, and a lot depended on the first turn,” Belvoir said. “Evin’s been really been good out of the gate and our goal was to send him into the first turn and see where we were at. I don’t know if we expected to be on the lead, but that’s where he ended up. Then he settled off the other horse on the outside.”
By the half-mile mark Gold Rush Dancer surged to the front and jumped out three lengths by the far turn.
“That was the winning move when he got over the hill to the leader and was able to keep in front of the 10. From then on it was all horse,” Belvoir said.
This was the first win of the season for Gold Rush Dancer, who had two races before winning the Mile.
“This was our goal for a long time,” Belvoir said. “We gave him a break. There were no issues. He ran hard and he was a little bit tired.”
The colt ran third in the 1-mile Bertrando stakes at Los Alamitos Racecourse on July 8 and fifth in the Santa Anita Thor’s Echo Handicap at 6 furlongs June 11. Both tracks are in California.
“He ran his big race today,” Belvoir said.
Into the stretch Mach One Rules made a run, but Gold Rush Dancer had a four-length winning margin – more than enough for the win photo.
“My horse has been awesome,” Parker said. “I got the best trainer working with him. He has been nothing but good to the horse and the horse has been nothing but good to him.”
The colt stopped the Mile clock in 1:33.85 paying $8.40 for the win, $4.20 for place and $3.80 for show.
Mach One Rules ran second paying $4.20 to place and $3.60 for show.
Both Gold Rush Dancer and Mach One Rules went off at 3.2-to-1, although Mach One Rules had about $100 more in the pool making him the official first betting choice.
Vann Belvoir was a jockey prior to taking out his trainer’s license. In 1996, the Emerald Down opening season, Belvoir won 148 races taking the leading-rider title. The 148 wins set a record that stood for 11 years. He took out his trainer’s license after the Emerald Downs meet ended in 1996 and entered horses in a short winter meet at the Auburn oval. He took the leading trainer title at that winter meet.
Belvoir is the son of Howard Belvoir, who won the Mile twice with Assessment and Wasserman.
John E. Parker, from Lake Bay, is currently the leading owner at Emerald Downs with 14 wins from 63 starts, 21 percent and $273,687 in money earned. In 2016 he was co-leading owner by wins with 10 from 57 starts, 18 percent. He was fourth in money earned with $134,433. He was the leading owner in 2015 by money earned with $215,942.
Gold Rush Dancer won the Gottstein Futurity in 2015 at Emerald. His career record is 24-7-4-5 with
The Longacres Mile record is 1:32.90 set by Point Piper in 2016.