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Longacres Mile draws 28 nominations, including Awesome Gem, Noosa Beach

August 8, 2011     E-mail this page to a friend!

Noosa Beach (#5) takes the lead on his way to winning the 2010 Longacres Mile, August 22, 2010
(photo by Erin Palmer, courtesy of Emerald Downs)
Emerald Downs Director of Racing Bret Anderson has released a list of 28 nominations for the 76th running of the $200,000 Longacres Mile (G3) on Sunday, August 21.

That total represents an increase from both 2010 and 2009 when 22 and 25 horses, respectively, were nominated to the Northwest’s most prestigious race.

The last three Mile winners—Noosa Beach, Assessment and Wasserman—are part of a local contingent that looks to score an unprecedented seventh straight Longacres Mile victory.

Jeff Harwood’s Noosa Beach is undefeated this season, the defending Longacres Mile champion, and could become the first horse to win consecutive Miles since Emerald Downs opened in 1996. The 5-year-old Washington-bred gelding—14-for-20 lifetime with earnings of $480,722—already is one of the greatest horses in state history, ranking No. 1 all-time with 11 stakes wins at Emerald Downs, including a powerful 1½-length triumph in the 2010 Mile.

Nine graded stakes winners are nominated topped by West Point Thoroughbreds’ Awesome Gem, the hard-hitting 8-year-old Kentucky-bred whose lifetime earnings of $2,578,270 would make him the richest runner ever to compete in the State of Washington. Conditioned by Southern California-based Craig Dollase, Awesome Gem is familiar with Emerald Downs, having finished second to Assessment as the 2.4-to1 betting favorite in the 2009 Mile. The veteran gelding continues to amass frequent-flyer miles while racing at six different tracks already in 2011. His most recent victory was a one-length score in the 1-1/16-mile Lone Star Park Handicap (G3) on Memorial Day.

Hall of Famers Bob Baffert and Jerry Hollendorfer—both former Longacres Mile-winning trainers—are well represented in 2011. Baffert nominated the Grade 2 winner Indian Firewater along with Spurrier, most recently a fast-finishing third in the July 30 San Diego Handicap (G2) at Del Mar.

Hollendorfer leads all trainers with four Mile nominations including three imports: Dahoud (NZ), Honour the Deputy, Our Nautique (NZ) and Whatsthescript (IRE).

Dahoud finished second twice this year in main-track marathons at 1½ miles—the Grade 2 San Luis Rey Handicap at Santa Anita and the Grade 3 Cougar II Handicap at Del Mar. Honour the Deputy is a lightly-raced 4-year-old whose best race was a second in the Grade 3 Tokyo City Handicap at Santa Anita, which also was run at 1½ miles.

Australian import Our Nautique has developed into a front-running terror while compiling a 6-3-2 record in 13 starts since joining the Hollendorfer stable last year. The 6-year-old gelding has handled both turf and synthetic, and scored a front running upset in the Grade 3 San Francisco Handicap at one mile on turf. Whatsthescript has earned $994,064 in a 26-race career that includes three graded stakes wins and third to Goldikova in the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Mile.

Kevlar Kid, Run It and Price are all Southern California-based runners trained by Carla Gaines, Tim Yakteen and Howard Zucker. A 4-year-old Rock Hard Ten gelding, Kevlar Kid has a 3-4-0 record in nine starts and finished second in last week’s San Diego Handicap (G2). Run It is a 5-year-old Cherokee Run horse that upset Bold Chieftain in the 2010 Berkeley Handicap (G3) and has run well in two recent comeback outings for Yakteen. And Price, a 5-year-old Even the Score gelding, has won three-of-six lifetime and gained notoriety by winning the first race of the 2011 Del Mar meeting.

Canada, as usual, is well represented as five horses based at Hastings Racecourse are nominated. St Liams Halo has been the best of the bunch, winning both the John Longden 6000 and Lt. Governors' Handicap, and missing by a nose to Crew Leader in the SW Randall Plate Handicap.

Jim Penney, trainer of a record five Mile winners, nominated 2010 Oregon Horse of the Year Seven Torrents. Trainer Tim McCanna, who will officially enter the Washington Racing Hall of Fame the night before the Longacres Mile, nominated Rooster City, stakes-placed five times at Emerald Downs, and Saratoga Boot, the lone Arkansas-bred on the list and upset winner of the 2010 Emerald Derby.

Progeny from seven states, one province and two overseas countries are represented in the nominations. Kentucky-breds lead the way with 12 nominations, followed by Washington-breds with four, British Columbia-breds with three and two apiece from Florida and New Zealand.

Slew the Man, winner of the 2010 Chinook Pass Stakes at Emerald Downs, has run well this year in California, Kentucky and Arkansas and just captured the 1-1/16-mile Alamedan Handicap at Pleasanton.

Hollywood Harbor, like Noosa Beach, is a Washington-bred gelding by Harbor the Gold and has been razor-sharp this season for trainer Chris Stenslie. The 4-year-old most recently zipped the meet’s fastest 6½ furlongs, 1:13.80, while throttling allowance foes by 5½ lengths.

Handicap weights will be announced Saturday, August 13. Entries will be taken Wednesday, August 17, with high weights preferred. The winner will receive $110,000.

Nominations $200,000 Longacres Mile (G3), Sunday, August 21 (nominee, owner, trainer)

Almost Time (5-BC), Swift Thoroughbreds Inc., Dino Condilenios
Assessment (7-KY), Tice Ranch Stables, Howard Belvoir
Awesome Gem (8-KY), West Point Thoroughbreds, Craig Dollase
Cherokee Notion (4-BC), Glen Todd & Patrick Kinsella, Troy Taylor
Crew Leader (4-KY), Swift Thoroughbreds Inc., Dino Condilenios
Dahoud (5-NZ), Mrs. S.K. Johnston Jr., Jerry Hollendorfer
Davos (6-KY), Ron Crockett Inc., Junior Coffey
Don’twaitforme (4-BC), Barry & Henrica Tyrer, Robert VanOverschot
Hollywood Harbor (4-WA), One Horse Will Do Corp. & Stenslie, Chris Stenslie
Honour the Deputy (4-FL), Barnett, Dedomenico, Hollendorfer & Todaro, Jerry Hollendorfer
Indian Firewater (4-KY), Watson, Pegram & Weitman, Bob Baffert
J P Jammer (5-CA), Clifford Dean Street, Karyn Seal
Kevlar Kid (4-KY), Warren B. Williamson, Carla Gaines
Noosa Beach (5-WA), Jeff Harwood, Doris Harwood
Our Minesweeper (4-ID), David P. Taylor, Frank Lucarelli
Our Nautique (6-NZ), J. Hollendorfer & R. Tunnicliffe, Jerry Hollendorfer
Posse Power (4-KY), David P. Taylor Jr., Frank Lucarelli
Price (5-KY), C.T. Grether Inc., Howard Zucker
Rooster City (5-KY), Victor George Bahna Jr., Tim McCanna
Run It (5-KY), Mercedes Stables LLC, Tim Yakteen
Saratoga Boot (4-AR), Gary Hughes, Tim McCanna
Seven Torrents (4-OR), Remmah Racing Inc., Jim Penney
Slew the Man (4-WA), Alan Klein & Philip Lebherz, Jeff Bonde
Spurrier (6-KY), Arnold Zetcher LLC, Bob Baffert
St Liams Halo (4-FL), Glen Todd & Patrick Kinsella, Michael Puhich
Wasserman (9-WA), Howard Belvoir, Howard Belvoir
Whatsthescript (7-IRE), Tommy Town Thoroughbreds LLC, Jerry Hollendorfer
Winning Machine (5-KY), Fleur De Lis Stables, Frank Lucarelli