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Horse racing: Longacres Mile goes to post Sunday
The premier horse race in the Northwest will go to post Sunday at Emerald Downs. The 76th running of the Longacres Mile will highlight the biggest day of racing at the Auburn track.
The Grade III, one-mile race will pay $200,000 to the winner, who will also automatically qualify for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
The Longacres Mile, which is expected to begin around 5:45 p.m., was first run in 1935 at the since torn-down Longacres Racetrack in Renton. After Longacres was closed in 1992, the Mile was run for three years at Yakima Meadows before returning to Western Washington in 1996 with the opening of Emerald Downs.
Noosa Beach will seek his second consecutive win and would join only two other horses to accomplish that feat in the race’s history (Trooper Seven and Simply Majestic). Noosa Beach, the 2-to-1 early-line favorite, is the reigning Washington Horse of the Year and one of the best horses in the state’s history.
While Noosa Beach is getting most of the attention leading into Sunday’s Longacres Mile, another local horse, Winning Machine, has been going about his business under the radar.
Winning Machine (12/1) finished second behind Noosa Beach in the one-mile Budweiser Handicap on June 17 and the Mt. Rainier Handicap on July 24.
“He ran great,” Winning Machine’s trainer Frank Lucarelli told the Daily Racing Form. “But Noosa Beach is a tough horse, and he might have got by us anyway. I was very pleased with the effort. He ran his guts out right to the wire.”
The second favorite behind Noosa Beach is California’s Awesome Gem, who will be making his second Longacres Mile appearance. Awesome Gem (5/2) ran second to Assessment in 2009.
The 12-horse race will also include Slew The Man (8/1), St Liams Halo (10/1), Crew Leader (10/1), Honour The Deputy (12/1), Posse Power (15/1), Assessment (15/1), J P Jammer (15/1), Saratoga Boot (20/1) and longshot Wasserman (30/1).
The race will be carried live on the radio on KJR 950 AM from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. and on TVG and Comcast Sportsnet Northwest from 3 to 7 p.m.
Emerald Downs is hoping that Mile Day will keep up the roll the Auburn racetrack has experienced this year. Despite dealing with the same issues that other horse tracks are facing around the country, Emerald Downs is having a more positive 2011 than in recent years.
According to a recent Seattle Times story, handle is up roughly 1 percent and attendance is up approximately 11.5 percent at Emerald Downs.