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Longacres Mile draws 25 nominations | Emerald Downs
For the Reporter
Pending late mail, 25 horses have been nominated to the 79th running of the $200,000 Longacres Mile on Sunday, Aug. 24.
The 79th running of the Grade 3 race will match top middle-distance horses at the taxing one-mile distance, and annually features many of the sport's elite jockeys and trainers taking on the best Emerald Downs has to offer.
Stryker Phd, brilliant in two starts this year for trainer Larry Ross, heads the local contingent and appears a good chance to score the first Mile win by an Emerald Downs horse since Noosa Beach in 2010. A 5-year-old Bertrando gelding, Stryker Phd finished second in the 2013 Longacres Mile and has been even better this year, setting stakes records while rallying from last to sweep the Budweiser and Mt. Rainier Handicaps.
West Point Thoroughbreds, which shipped in Awesome Gem to knock off Noosa Beach in the 2011 Mile, nominated recent Del Mar stakes winner Rock Me Baby, a 5-year-old Craig Dollase-trained gelding that heads a California contingent which includes Handsome Mike, Blue Tone and Home Run Kitten.
Beaten only three lengths in the 2013 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint, Rock Me Baby scored a dominating 3½-length victory in the $150,000 California Dreamin Handicap on July 27. Blue Tone, a 5-year-old Birdstone gelding, also comes off a big win at Del Mar, also scoring by 3½ lengths in a one-mile allowance/optional claimer on August 3.
Handsome Mike, a 5-year-old son of Scat Daddy trained by Doug O'Neill, is a multiple graded winner, including a triumph in the $1,000,000 Pennsylvania Derby (Grade 2). Home Run Kitten, the lone 3-year-old nominated, has been a mainstay among Southern California sophomores on turf, most recently edging Argyle Cut in the one-mile Singletary Stakes at Santa Anita.
Title Contender, 3-2-0 in five starts this year at Hastings Racecourse, heads a Canadian contingent that includes Commander, Go for Guinness, Mysterious Soul and Shooting Jacket,
Assessment has the distinction of being the oldest horse nominated to the Mile, and the 10-year-old gelding – winner of the 2009 Longacres Mile – is the only former winner nominated to this year's race. His trainer, Howard Belvoir, is one of six former Mile winning-trainers with a horse nominated to the race.
Handicap weights for the Longacres Mile will be announced Saturday, Aug. 16, with entries drawn Wednesday, Aug. 20. If more than 12 horses enter, high weights are preferred.
Also Sunday, Aug. 24, older fillies and mares compete in the $65,000 Emerald Distaff at 1 1/8 miles.
Longacres Mile Nomination Facts & Figures:
• Kentucky-breds lead in nominations: Kentucky 12, Washington 6, California 2, Florida 1, Idaho 1, New York 1, Oregon 1 and British Columbia 1
• 4-year-olds lead in nominations: 4-year-olds-10; 5-year-olds-9; 6-year-olds-4; 3-year-olds-1; 10-year-olds-1
• Last start at: Emerald Downs 11, Del Mar 6, Hastings Racecourse 3, Belmont Park 1, Les Bois Park 1, Northlands Park 1, Sacramento 1 and Santa Anita 1
• Six horses were nominated last year: Assessment, Commander, Jebrica, Mr. Bowling, Rock Me Baby and Stryker Phd
• Six Longacres Mile-winning trainers nominated horses: Howard Belvoir, Mike Puhich, Doug O'Neill, Jim Penney, Craig Dollase and Larry Ross. Puhich leads with four nominations – Commander, Jebrica, Mr. Bowling and Prohibition – while five-time Longacres Mile-winning trainer Jim Penney nominated I Keep Saying, a 5-year-old gelding that comes off a world-record performance (1:12.94) at 6½ furlongs.
$200,000 Longacres Mile (Grade 3)-Sunday, Aug. 24
Horse, owner, trainer
Assessment (10g-Ky.), Howard Belvoir, Howard Belvoir
Blue Tone (5g-Ky.), Engleberg, Schroeder Farms & Steeper, Bob Hess Jr.
Boyett (4-Ore.) Dr. Rodney Orr, Mark Glatt
Commander (6g-Ky.) North American Tbred Racing Co., Mike Puhich
Dare Me Devil (6g-Wash.) Rancho Viejo & J. Carmody, Rigoberto Velasquez
Disruption (4g-Fla.) Nelson Family Racing, Monique Snowden
Dontmesswithkitten (4c-Ky.) H. Leong & D. Lew, Chris Stenslie
Downtown C.T. (5g-Calif.) C. Jauregui & S. Kesselman, O.J. Jauregui
Dry Summer (4g-Ky.) Graling, Rosette and Wiest, Robertino Diodoro
Floating Feather (6g-Idaho) Carraway, Grigsby and Moon, Dru Hall
Go for Guinness (4g-B.C.) George Gilbert, David Forster
Handsome Mike (5h-Ky.) Reddam Racing LLC, Doug O'Neill
Home Run Kitten (3c-Ky.) Tarabilla Farms Inc., David Hofmans
I Keep Saying (5g-Wash.) Homestretch Farm Inc., Jim Penney
Jebrica (6g-Wash.) M. Dedomenico & N American Tbred, Mike Puhich
Mike Man's Gold (4g-Wash.) Swag Stables-Gallo Stables, David Martinez
Mr. Bowling (5h-Ky.) M. Dedomenico & N American Tbred, Mike Puhich
Mysterious Soul (5h-Ky.) Peter, Dalton Stable, Grayross Stable, Barbara Heads
Perfect Night (5g-Wash.) Howard Belvoir, Howard Belvoir
Prohibition (4g-N.Y.) M. Dedomenico & N American Tbred, Mike Puhich
Rock Me Baby (5g-Calif.) West Point Thoroughbreds, Craig Dollase
Scat Daddybaby (4g-Ky.) Mike & Amy Feuerborn, Robbie Baze
Shooting Jacket (4g-Ky.) Swift Thoroughbreds Inc., Dino Condilenios
Stryker Phd (5g-Wash.) Jim & Mona Hour, Larry Ross
Title Contender (4g-B.C.) Peter Redekop B.C. Ltd., Anita Bolton