Sports

Longacres Mile goes to post Sunday

By CASEY OLSON

The Mirror

The signature event at Emerald Downs — the Longacres Mile — will go to post Sunday around 5 p.m. at the Auburn horse racing track.

The $250,000 Mile is celebrating its 70th running after being contested at the old Longacres Park in Tukwila from 1935 through 1992 before moving to Yakima Meadows for three years while Emerald Downs was being constructed.

Adreamisborn, the 2004 winner of the Longacres Mile, heads a list of 25 nominees for this year’s race. The full field of 12 will be announced later this week. The nomination list also includes local favorites Sabertooth, the 2002 Mile winner, and Flamethrowintexan.

“He’s proven to be a versatile horse,” said Bryson Cooper, Sabertooth’s exercise rider. “He’s shown us he can run at any distance. If someone wants to go out and take the lead, then we can gather him up, save him and kick on down the stretch. He’s an awfully fast one to outrun, though.”

Another local contender, Poker Brad, will miss the race with a soft tissue injury. Poker Brad has started the last two Miles and ran second to Sky Jack in 2003 and was off the board in his 2004 try.

The injury puts a hold on one of the best rivalries at Emerald Downs during the last couple years between Poker Brad and Flamethrowintexan.

Flamethrowintexan went wire-to-wire for the win in the $100,000 Mt. Rainier Breeders’ Cup Handicap at Emerald Downs last month with Poker Brad running second. The Flamethrowintexan win came after finishing second to Poker Brad in the Independence Day Handicap July 3.

“These kind of horses are easy to ride,” Flamethowintexan jockey Gallyn Mitchell said.

Potential invaders from out of state who were nominated for Sunday’s Mile include Preachinatthebar, Yougottawanna, Desert Boom, Minister Eric and Harvard Avenue.

Preachinatthebar might be the best of the bunch. The horse won the San Felipe Derby in California earlier this year and is trained by multiple Triple Crown winner Bob Baffert and owned by Mount Vernon’s Mike Pegram. The team of Baffert and Pegram won the first Longacres Mile held at Emerald Downs in 1996 with Isitingood.

“More than the Kentucky Derby, more than the Breeders Cup Classic, the Mile is the race I wanted to win,” Pegram said after the ’96 race. “I’ve always had a special place in my heart for this race.”

The Longacres Mile put Washington thoroughbred racing on the map.

It was started by Joe Gottstein in June of 1935. He made the announcement that the Tukwila track would feature the $10,000 Longacres Mile.

The mile was not considered the classic distance, and that is what appealed to Gottstein. He knew it took a unique horse to excel at the mile distance. It was too long for sprinters and not long enough for the routers.

The Mile was inaugurated with the then unheard of $10,000-added purse and for more than four decades it was the richest stakes event in the country at the mile distance.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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