Wasserman, Beaulena top field of nominees for Sunday’s Mile Preview Day

For the Reporter

Older horses get their final local tune-up for the Longacres Mile when the take to the track at Emerald Downs for Sunday’s Mt. Rainier Handicap.

The Mt. Rainier half of Sunday’s Mile Preview Day stakes doubleheader. In the other half, fillies and mares square off in the $50,000 Boeing Handicap, the final steppingstone to the $100,000 Emerald Distaff.

Both the $300,000 Longacres Mile and the $100,000 Emerald Distaff will be run Sunday, Aug. 17, so horses that participate in Mile Preview Day will have three weeks to prepare for the biggest events of the season.

A total of 10 older horses have been nominated for the 11/8-mile Mt. Rainer Handicap, while nine fillies and mares were nominated to the Boeing Handicap.

The remarkable Wasserman has a chance to make it two straight years for Washington-bred sons of Cahill Road to attain Mile glory. (The Great Face won it last year.) A 6-year-old gelding, Wassserman is in the midst of his finest season for owner/trainer Howard Belvoir, posting thrilling come-from behind wins in both the FSN and Governor’s handicaps under jockey Jennifer Whitaker.

Trainer Mike Chambers nominated Lord Avalon and the hard-luck Chhaya Dance. The former never has been worse than second in five starts, including a second in the Lt. Governor’s Handicap at Hastings Park. Chhaya Dance has done everything but win a stakes this season, posting a second and two thirds while being beaten by a neck in the former and two heads in the latter.

Trainer Jim Penney, who has saddled three Mile winners this decade, nominated both Honour the West and Jamaica Bound, the latter coming off a third-place effort in the Budweiser Emerald Handicap.

Other Mt. Rainier nominees are Assessment, Don’twritemeoff, Exclusive Eagle, Tracfurtogafur, and We Brothers.

The Boeing Handicap is 1 1/16-mile test headed by Beaulena, the defending champion who continues to fire big shots as an 8-year-old, running second in both the Hastings Park Handicap and the Washington State Legislators Stakes. The veteran mare has finished first, second or third in 15 of 20 starts at Emerald Downs.

Firetrail, conditioned by Junior Coffey, is the horse to beat. The 4-year-old filly enjoys the intermediate distance and comes off a four-length score in the King County Handicap.

Shampoo, second in the King County and winner of four stakes last year, is another top contender.

Other nominees for the Boeing are Cottingham, Eclatante, Kissntheboysgoodby, Pretty Maid, She’s All Silk, and Show the Light.

NOTES: Oneknightledo, returning to action from a six-month layoff, led all the way and scored a game 1¾-length victory in the $13,200 feature race for 3-year-old fillies on July 18. With hot-riding Matt Hagerty aboard, Oneknightledo ran 5 ½ furlongs in 1:04 1/5 on a fast track and paid $43.80, $15.80 and $10.80. Dan Kenney trains the winner for owners Todd Pedersen, Candy Whiteford and Robert Bray. … Victory Script, undefeated in seven starts here last year, returned to action on July 17 with a dramatic neck victory over Appealing Sweets in the $15,000 Stanislaw Ashbaugh Purse for fillies and mares. Voted both the top claiming horse and top older filly or mare in 2007, Victory Script picked up right where she left off last year. The 6-year-old California-bred mare wore down Appealing Sweets in a strong stretch battle for the win. Ridden by Kevin Radke, Victory Script ran 6 furlongs in 1:10 1/5 and paid $7.20, $4 and $3.80. Roy Lumm is the trainer for Blue Diamond Stable and Janet Johnson. Including her final start at Emerald Downs in 2006, Victory Script has now won nine straight races locally and is 10 for 12 overall at Emerald Downs. For her career, Victory Script is 10-3-4 from 20 starts with earnings of $122,943. Her win on July 18 was worth $8,250. … Doris Harwood leads all trainers with three stakes wins this season and ranks fourth all-time with 24 stakes wins at Emerald Downs.