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Poker Brad seeks third consecutive $100,000 MT Rainier


July 27, 2005     E-mail this page to a friend!

By Patrick Kerrison

Auburn, WA – Emerald Downs presents Mile Preview Day with two stakes races Sunday, July 31.

For the first time in Washington racing history, two of the most respected and pivotal races leading up to the Longacres Mile, Gr. III, will be run on the same day - the tenth running of the 1-1/8 mile $100,000 Mt. Rainier Breeders’ Cup and the 6-1/2 furlong $40,000 Governor’s Handicap.

The Mt. Rainier Breeders’ Cup has drawn nine impressive nominees including Poker Brad, winner of the 2003 and 2004 editions of the stakes.

Trained by Tim McCanna, Poker Brad has won nine races from 38 lifetime tries, and posted a 6-4-1 record at Emerald Downs from 18 starts.

Poker Brad recently found himself on the winning end of a grueling stretch duel in the Independence Day Handicap against Flamethrowintexan, another Mt. Rainier Breeders’ Cup nominee.

The 7-year-old son of Go For Gin has run twice in the Mile. His best Mile effort was a second place finish to Sky Jack in 2003 when the Californian shipper set a stakes and track record for the 1-mile distance (1:33).

McCanna also nominated Snorter and Tobe Suave to both the Mt. Rainier and the Governor’s Handicap.

Flamethrowintexan, or Tex, as he is commonly known around the barn, has earned over $300,000 since Jim Penney claimed him a year ago at Hollywood Park. Purchased for the express purpose of readying him for Emerald Downs’ stakes races, Tex won the 2004 Seattle Slew BC Handicap and finished second in last year’s Emerald BC Derby. His 2005 agenda includes the Mt. Rainier BC and ultimately the $250,000 Longacres Mile on Aug. 21.

Mr. Makah, this year’s Bud Emerald Handicap victor, will seek to make his second attempt at the Mt. Rainier Breeders’ Cup a winning one. He impressed many in this last year with his 5-wide late kick down the lane, finishing two lengths behind Poker Brad for second. He went on to finish a late closing third behind Adreamisborn and Demon Warlock in the 2004 Longacres Mile (Gr. III).

Canadian shipper R. Associate is also under consideration for Sunday’s stake. After finishing third behind Mr. Makah and Sabertooth in the June 19 Bud Emerald Handicap, he returned to Hastings Park. On July 1 he captured the $125,000 Lt. Governor’s Handicap (Gr. III), beating the 2003 Emerald Breeders’ Cup Derby winner Roscoe Pito, by a length.

Sabertooth, who finished second to Moonlight Meeting in the 2002 Mt. Rainier Breeders’ Cup, went on to win that year’s Longacres Mile for trainer Jim Penney. In 2003, he traveled the same route but without the same success. He was fourth in the Mt. Rainier Breeders’ Cup and off the board in that year’s Mile.

Since his Mile victory, however, Sabertooth has gone on to win the Washington Championship Handicap and the FSN Handicap, He set a world record of 1 minute 13 seconds for 6 ½ furlongs in the FSN. Penney has nominated Sabertooth to both the Mt. Rainier BC and the Governor’s Handicap.

My Creed, winner of the 2004 Emerald Breeders Cup Derby, may return to the Auburn oval. His Derby victory was his last trip to the winner’s circle in seven successive starts while racing predominantly in California.

Trainer Diane Garrison has nominated Grafton Square. The son of Peaks and Valleys, should he enter, will make his first start at the distance.

Running successfully on both coasts, Snorter is a proven graded stakes winner under consideration. He captured the Berkeley Breeders Cup Handicap (Gr. III) at Golden Gate Fields in March of 2004.

Tobe Suave has spent his entire career north of the border, winning five of 13 lifetime starts.