Sky Jack wins Longacres Mile

The favorite was a favorite for a reason.

Sky Jack, under Hall of Fame jockey Russell Baze, won the 68th running of the $250,000 Longacres Mile Sunday at Emerald Downs in one of the most impressive performances in Mile history. Sky Jack defeated Poker Brad by a Mile-record 6 ¼ lengths to pick up a victory in the Grade 3 race — the richest at Emerald Downs.

The Doug O’ Neill-trained Sky Jack, who was racing outside of California for the first time in his career, crossed the wire in a blistering 1:33. His winning time set an Emerald Downs’ track record and equaled the state record set by Slew of Damascus in 1993 at Yakima Meadows.

The 7-year-old improved his career record 10-2-2 from 18 starts. He collected $137,500 to increase his lifetime earnings to $1,115,127.

“It’s always a pleasure to win in the Northwest in front of the hometown crowd,” said Baze, who is the nation’s leading rider this year. “It’s really a pleasure. Doug had the horse primed and ready. I was just a good passenger.”

Sky Jack’s winning margin betters the previous Mile record of six lengths set by Chinook Pass (1983), Quality Quest (1955) and Amble In (1946). His winning time was one-fifth of a second faster than Wild Wonder’s Longacres Mile victory in 1998 and Edneator’s Mile win in 2000.

“That was incredible, better than any day at Del Mar (California),” O’ Neill said. “Everything went perfect. I didn’t expect to win like that. This horse has been incredible. He has really been very special. I loved the first three-eights to the half-mile, but when they bunched up I started with the roller coaster.”

Sky Jack paid $5 to win, $3.40 to place and $3 to show and his performance in the Mile helped produce a record day at Emerald Downs.

The total handle was $3,027,581 – the highest in track and Mile history.

It also marked the second highest single day handle in state history.

SPU, Ruiz ready to play soccer

The Seattle Pacific University women’s soccer team kicks off its season tomorrow with a game against Cal State-Los Angeles. Federal Way High School graduate Nicole Ruiz returns for her senior season with the Falcons.

Ruiz was a starting defender for Seattle Pacific last season during their 13-4-2 season. The record was good enough to give the Falcons the Great Northwest Athletic Conference title. This is the third season that Seattle Pacific University has had a women’s soccer program.

Chursky shoots SU to victory

Decatur graduate Alex Chursky scored the only goal in the 73rd minute as the Seattle University men’s soccer team beat Gonzaga 1-0 Sunday in an exhibition game in Spokane. Chursky, a sophomore, was the state player of the year in 2001 and led Decatur to two state championships. It was Seattle U’s second victory over a Division I opponent this year. They beat Washington 1-0 last week.

Nurse entering last year at BSU

Decatur graduate Wes Nurse is entering his senior season on the Boise State University football team. The Broncos open their season Sept. 6 against Idaho State at home.

Last year, Nurse was named second-team All-Western Athletic Conference as a safety. He also won the WAC defensive player of the week on Nov. 4 after recording a career-high 14 tackles and two interceptions.

Boise State played inthe Humanitarian Bowl last year.

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