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Full field entered in Longacres Mile; Stryker Phd early favorite | Emerald Downs
For the Reporter
Stryker Phd, runner-up in last year's race and undefeated this year, heads a full field of 12 older runners entered in Sunday's 79th running of the $200,000 Longacres Mile (Grade 3) at Emerald Downs.
Stryker Phd is the 5-to-2 favorite on Rob Rao's morning line, followed by Prohibition at 3-to-1, and Title Contender at 9-to-2.
Those three horses reflect the eclectic nature of The Mile, as Stryker Phd is Emerald Downs' top older horse while Title Contender has been the best older horse at Hastings Racecourse.
Prohibition, meanwhile, has been racing in New York and makes his first start for owners Dr. Mark Dedomenico and North American Thoroughbred Racing Co., who acquired the 4-year-old gelding privately after a fourth in the $200,000 Commentator Handicap at Belmont Park.
The 12-horse field marks the sixth time in eight years a full field will start in the Northwest's premier horse race.
Trainer Mike Puhich will be the busiest man in the walking ring, saddling three three of those runners. Puhich, who won the race in 2012 with Taylor Said, sends out Prohibition, Mr. Bowling and Jebrica, the latter acquired in a track-record tying $50,000 claim on Aug. 2.
Most eyes, however, will be on Stryker Phd, a stretch-running 5-year-old who set stakes records in both starts this year*winning the one-mile Budweiser Handicap in 1:34.15 and the 1 1/16-mile Mt. Rainier Handicap in 1:40.20. Leslie Mawing, the meet's leading rider and stakes rider, has the mount on the co-highweight at 121 pounds.
Stryker Phd also bids to become the first local horse and Washington-bred winner since Noosa Beach in 2010.
"I'm very happy with the post," trainer Larry Ross said after Stryker Phd drew the No. 9 post at Wednesday's Longacres Mile Draw Breakfast. "It looks like most of the speed is on the inside, so that's good for us.
"He should be able to get into a good position," Ross added. "Being on the outside, Leslie (Mawing) can look in and monitor the pace. You couldn't really ask for anything better with his training. I think he's really good right now, for sure. I think his racing schedule will be an advantage. They say third time out of the box is the peak race."
• The Hastings Racecourse jockey colony pretty much moves to Emerald Downs on Sunday: Amadeo Perez (Hastings; leading rider with 68 wins), Richard Hamel (2nd with 50), Alex Bisono (5th with 20) and Rico Walcott (8th with 11) all have Mile mounts. Perez rode Herbie D to a gate-to-wire victory in the 2013 Mile.
• A win by Jebrica would give broodmare Peaceful Wings an Emerald Downs Derby/Longacres Mile sweep. Mebossman (Petionville-Peaceful Wings) prevailed in the Derby on August 10 while Jebrica (Liberty Gold-Peaceful Wings) takes a third crack at The Mile. Jebrica finished eighth at 19-to-1 in 2012 and fourth at 14-to-1 last year.
• Stryker Phd, second in 2013, and Mr. Bowling, 11th in 2013, also ran in last year's Mile.
• For the second straight year, owner Glen Todd (North American Thoroughbred Racing Co.) drew the No. 11 pill for Mr. Bowling.
• I Keep Saying entered The Mile, but at 114 pounds was the lowest weighted of the 13 horses entered.
• The remainder of Sunday's races will be drawn Thursday including a Pete Pedersen Mile consolation.
Trainer Doris Harwood said top 3-year-olds Noosito and Del Rio Harbor would take different paths for their next starts. Noosito will remain at Emerald Downs for the $50,000 Washington Cup race on Sunday, Sept. 7, and Del Rio Harbor will ship to the $150,000 B.C. Derby (G3C) at Hastings Racecourse on Sunday, Sept. 14. ... Dancing Yodeler is back in action Saturday, competing in race six for $4,000 starter allowance runners at 6½ furlongs. The pride of Emerald Racing Club, Dancing Yodeler is 2-1-1 in five starts for ERC with earnings of $9,265. ... Saturday's $14,800 feature race for $20,000 claimers includes 2009 Longacres Mile winner Assessment and 2011 Mile third-place finisher Posse Power. ... Is there a new Stopshoppingdebbie in the offing? In Saturday's second race, Northwest Farms and trainer Tom Wenzel debut 2-year-old filly Herculette, a $230,000 yearling by Indian Charlie-Seattle Shimmer.