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Defending champ Awesome Gem tops list of 26 nominated to 77th Longacres Mile

August 5, 2012     E-mail this page to a friend!

2011 Longacres Mile winner Awesome Gem is nominated to defend his title in the Grade 3, $200,000 race on Sunday, August 19, 2012.
(photo by Reed Palmer/Emerald Downs)
Director of Racing Bret Anderson has released a star-studded list of 26 nominations for the 77th running of the $200,000 Longacres Mile (G3) on Sunday, August 19.

Eight graded winners are nominated to the Northwest’s premier event topped by West Point Thoroughbreds’ Awesome Gem, the hard-hitting veteran who defeated Noosa Beach in the 2011 Longacres Mile, and at age 9 attempts to become the oldest horse to win the race. Awesome Gem, with over $2.8 million in earnings, is the richest horse in training in North America and would be the richest horse ever to run in the state.

As usual, many of the West Coast’s sharpest middle-distance runners are nominated including this year’s best handicap horses in Western Canada, Northern California and Emerald Downs. Southern California also is well represented as Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert nominated Hoorayforhollywood, John W. Sadler nominated the speedy Gladding and Carla Gaines nominated both John Scott and Shrug.

Eldaafer, 2010 Breeders’ Cup Marathon winner, was nominated along with a slew of runners from Emerald Downs and Hastings Racecourse including multiple 2012 stakes winners Winning Machine and Taylor Said.

Hudson Landing, a Grade 3 winner on turf at Golden Gate Fields, and Bailouttheminister, a stakes-winning sprinter at Pleasanton, compose a strong one-two punch from Northern California. Hudson Landing already has proven his mettle locally, defeating St Liams Halo and Winning Machine in a hotly contested Mt. Rainier Handicap on July 22.

Jim Penney, trainer of a record five Mile winners, nominated 2011 Emerald Downs’ Top 3-Year-Old Jebrica and trainer Chris Stenslie nominated the exceptionally fast Hollywood Harbor, owner of fastest times this season at both 5-½ and six furlongs including a world-record 1:00.87 at the former distance.

Awesome Gem owns the best record at one-mile on dirt—3-1-0 in four starts—including a 1:34.80 clocking in his victory over Noosa Beach last year. According to trainer Craig Dollase, the defending champion is scheduled to ship from Del Mar five days before The Mile.

If more than 12 horses are entered, the 12 highest weighted horses will be preferred. Weights are announced Saturday, August 11.

2012 Longacres Mile nomination facts & figures:

• Seven nominees ran in a previous Mile including two winners: Assessment-1st in 2009, 3rd in 2010, 4th in 2008, 8th in 2011; Awesome Gem-1st in 2011, 2nd in 2009; Gallant Son-6th in 2010; Jersey Town-2nd in 2010; Posse Power-3rd in 2011; Saratoga Boot-11th in 2011; Winning Machine-5th in 2010; 7th in 2011.

• Seven horses also were nominated last year: Assessment, Awesome Gem, Hollywood Harbor, Posse Power, Saratoga Boot, St Liams Halo and Winning Machine.

• Kentucky-breds lead the way in nominations: Kentucky 14, California 4, British Columbia 3, Washington 2, Florida 2, Arkansas 1.

• 4-year-olds compose nearly half the nominees: 4-year-olds, 13; 5-year-olds, 7; 6-year-olds, 3; 7-year-olds, 1; 8-year-olds, 1; 9-year-olds, 1.

• Lucarelli tops in nominations: Frank Lucarelli 4, Tim McCanna 3, Michael Puhich 3, Carla Gaines 2, Chris Stenslie 2, Blaine Wright 2, Diane Alvarado 1, Bob Baffert 1, Howard Belvoir 1, Robertino Diodoro 1, Craig Dollase 1, Robert Gilker, 1; Keith Nations 1, Jim Penney 1, Kerri Raven 1, John W. Sadler 1.

• Last start at: Emerald Downs 12, Del Mar 3, Hastings Racecourse 3, Hollywood Park 2, Pleasanton 2, Gulfstream, Park 1, Monmouth Park 1, Northlands Park 1, Prairie Meadows 1.

$200,000 Longacres Mile (G3)—Sunday, August 19—nominees (horse, owner, trainer):

Assessment (8g-KY), Tice Ranch Stables LLC, Howard Belvoir
Awesome Gem (9g-KY), West Point Thoroughbreds, Craig Dollase
Bailouttheminister (4g-CA), Theresa & Edward DeNike, Keith Nations
Commander (4g-KY), North American Tbred Racing Co., Michael Puhich
Eldaafer (7g, KY), Jim Atwell & Kevin Jacobsen, Diane Alvarado
First Strike (4g-KY), Charles Garvey & TG Racing LLC, Robertino Diodoro
Gallant Son (6h-KY), Randall & Rossi LLC, Frank Lucarelli
Gladding (5g-FLA), CRK Stable, John W. Sadler
Hayjax (4g-CA), Luigi DiPietro & Diana DiPietro, Tim McCanna
Herbie D (4g-BC), George Robbins, Robert Gilker
Hollywood Harbor (5g-WA), One Horse Will Do & Chris Stenslie, Chris Stenslie
Hoorayforhollywood (4c-KY), George Krikorian, Bob Baffert
Hudson Landing (5g-KY), Chappell Alpine Farms LLC, Blaine Wright
Jebrica (4g-WA), R & R Warren LLC, Jim Penney
Jersey Town (6h-KY), Charles E. Fipke, Tim McCanna
John Scott (5g-CA), Harris Farms Inc., Carla Gaines
Jump Up and Kissme (4g-BC), Buzzell, Ravenswood, Cowboys & Ind, Kerri Raven
Posse Power (5g-KY), William Boone & David P. Taylor Jr., Frank Lucarelli
Rocky’s Quest (4g-KY), John & Janene Maryanski, Blaine Wright
Saratoga Boot (5g-ARK), Gary Hughes, Tim McCanna
Shrug (4c-KY), Swift Thoroughbreds Inc., Carla Gaines
Slim Pickins (4c-KY), Ken Miles, Chris Stenslie
St Liams Halo (5g-FLA), North American Tbred Racing Co., Michael Puhich
Taylor Said (4g-BC), North American Tbred Racing Co., Michael Puhich
Tribaltique (4g-CA), R.E.V. Racing LLC, Frank Lucarelli
Winning Machine (6g-KY), Fleur De Lis Stables, Frank Lucarelli