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70th Longacres Mile one for the Ages and History Books

August 21, 2005     E-mail this page to a friend!

AUBURN, WA— It was the most unlikely of possibilities, but this chapter in Longacres Mile history was so beautifully written it rightly earned its place.

No Giveaway went to post at 60-1, the longest shot on the board, and came from over 20 lengths back while on the backstretch to capture the $250,000 Longacres Mile (Gr. III).  With it, three firsts in racing occurred as a result of his dramatic victory in the 70th running of the Northwest’s signature event.

It was the first Mile win for 31-year-old trainer Grant Forster, owner Herman Sarkowsky and rider Juan Gutierrez.

Forster had a weekend fairy tales are made of when the day before his Mile victory he saddled A Classic Life to a classic performance in winning the $100,000 Washington Breeders’ Cup Oaks.  After earning Top Juvenile Filly Honors in 2004, she was hurt.  A year later, after much work and an infinite amount of patience, she performed better than Forster had ever seen her run.

Sarkowsky, the Northwest sports magnate who was a part of the building of the Seattle Seahawks and Portland Trail Blazers, has spent 45 years in the horse racing business.  Sunday, he finally notched his first Mile win.

34 years ago Sarkowsky came within a sixteenth of a mile to win the 1971 edition with Titular II. The horse was comfortably on the lead in mid-stretch when he shied after glimpsing the starting gate and Pitch Out and Command Module passed him for the win.

Sunday afternoon, Sarkowsky was delivered redemption and the memory of Titular II’s peculiar lapse in attention became just that, a memory.

No Giveway’s win was a 60-to-1 long shot and paid the highest return in the history of the Mile for a win ticket, $122.

The 4-year-old son of He’s Top broke from the 10th postposition with Juan Gutierrez in the irons. The gelding stayed well back of the leaders Sabertooth and Flamethrowintexan as they set swift early fractions of 22 2/5 and 44 4/5.

“He can go inside or outside,” Gutierrez said of No Giveaway. “I was little worried about an 11-horse field, with the traffic, but I got through and I win.”

The win continues a tradition of stakes wins by Forster, who won six stakes his first year of training in 2003, four of them with No Giveaway’s sister, Youcan’ttakeme, the Horse of the Meeting for that year.

Forster’s father, Dave, is in second place in stakes victories at the Auburn oval, but has yet to win a Mile.

“This is for the whole family and the whole team,” Forster said. “I was standing in my lucky spot and I could see he was moving. Juan did a great job. There is nothing like that feeling when they cross the line a winner, especially in the Mile.  Blaine Wright, my Assistant Trainer, has been my right hand here and he has been a tremendous asset to this operation of ours.”

"It still hasn't hit me," Forster said after his post-race press conference.  “I spoke to my dad and he told me how proud he is of me.  This is so very special.”

At the head of the stretch No Giveaway was in fifth when he started his move between horses as Quiet Cash took the lead.

With a 1/16 to go, No Giveaway found another gear and ran down the leader to win by ? of a length at the wire, finishing the race in 1:35 3/5.

“This is better than winning the Breeders’ Cup,” a beaming Sarkowsky said. “I thought if we could finish third we’d do all right.”

Sarkowsky won the 1993 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (Gr. I) with Phone Chatter.

Last year’s Mile champion, Adreamisborn, finished fifth as the race favorite.

“My horse was a little lackadaisical,” jockey Russell Baze said. “I got him to the outside where I wanted him into the second turn, but he flatten out on me in the lane.”

Local favorite Flamethrowintexan finished sixth after dueling Sabertooth for the lead for most of race.

No Giveaway paid $122, 42.40 and 14.20.  It marked his sixth win in 10 starts and improved his earnings to $223,906.

Quiet Cash paid $19.40 and $8.80 for second and Desert Boom paid $5.20 for show.

The superfecta paid $14,926.70, the highest pay out this season and the third highest in Emerald history.

An estimated 12,000 people attended the 70th running of the Longacres Mile with $2,906,525 wagered on the day.  It is the year’s largest handle and up 12.4% from last year’s Longacres Mile Day.