For the Reporter
Millionaire Alert Bay drew the No. 2 post position and was installed the 9/5 morning line favorite for the 83rd renewal of the $200,000 Longacres Mile (Grade 3) on Sunday at Emerald Downs.
A field of six entered the Grade 3 event, which goes off as Race 8 at 5:40 p.m.
The card also features the $50,000 Emerald Distaff, $50,000 WTBOA Lads Stakes, $50,000 Barbara Shinpoch Stakes, and a special $0.50 all stakes Pick 4.
Trained by Blaine Wright and owned by Peter Redekop of Vancouver, B.C., Alert Bay will attempt to win the race off a 13-month layoff. A 7-year-old California-bred, Alert Bay is 14 for 33 lifetime with earnings of $1,252,555, but has not raced since a third in the American Stakes (G3) on July 4, 2017 at Santa Anita.
Alert Bay has Longacres Mile experience, finishing third to Stryker Phd in 2015 and fourth to Point Piper in 2016. The City Zip gelding has 10 stakes wins, including a pair Grade 2s and four Grade 3s.
Juan Hernandez will ride Alert Bay, the starting high-weight at 121 pounds.
Barkley and Mach One Rules are the top local threats at 5/2 and 4/1 on the morning line.
Owned by Rising Star Stable III and trained by two-time Longacres Mile-winning trainer Howard Belvoir, Barkley is a five-time stakes winner and finished fourth to Gold Rush Dancer in the 2017 Mile.
“I couldn’t ask for (Barkley) to be coming into the race any better,” Belvoir said. “It all depends how the race shapes up, but he’s very sharp right now.”
A 5-year-old Kentucky-bred by Munnings, Barkley is 8-4-1 in 16 career starts with earnings of $242,900.
REV Racing’s Mach One Rules has finished third in all three older horse stakes this season, and is 7 for 23 lifetime with earnings of $316,026. Mach One Rules, a 5-year-old by Harbor the Gold, is one of two Washington-bred in the race.
“(The Longacres Mile) is the one you want the most,” said trainer Frank Lucarelli. “(Mach One Rules) is doing good, and he ran well last year in the race. Riser is out, but there’s still plenty of good horses in the race.”
Kaabraaj, track and state record-holder at six furlongs, attempts to carry his prodigious speed around two turns. The 6-year-old Washington-bred comes off a sparkling 2¾-length victory at 6 ½ furlongs, but is winless in three career routes.
“We’re hoping the shorter field helps us,” trainer Jeff Metz said of Kaabraaj. “It looks like there’s a couple less speed horses in the race this year.”
Co-owned by Warlock Stables, Horseplayers Racing Club 240 and Saratoga West, Kaabraaj is 8 for 30 lifetime with earnings of $175,030. His 1:06.84 clocking April 23, 2016, broke the track and state record of 1:07 for six furlongs shared by Atta Boy Roy and Noosa Beach.
Conquest Windycity, 9/2 on the morning line, is a wild card for owner Dave Staudacher and Churchill Downs-based trainer Mike Maker.
A 5-year-old Tiznow gelding, Conquest Windycity is very capable – registering five Beyers of 92 or higher, including a 100 earlier this year in Florida. In his four most recent races, however, Conquest Windycity finished sixth, ninth, fifth and sixth,
Wright, the top stakes trainer the last two seasons at Emerald Downs, also saddles Todd and Shawn Hansen’s Oh Marvelous Me, longest shot in the field at 12/1. A 6-year-old Bluegrass Cat gelding, Oh Marvelous Me thrives at Emerald Downs with a 6 for 12 record, albeit vs. softer competition.
The field from the rail out for the $200,000 Longacres Mile, with jockey, handicap weight, and morning line:
1-Mach One Rules, Pedro Terrero, 119 pounds, 4/1
2-Alert Bay, Juan Hernandez, 121, 9/5
3-Barkley, Javier Matias, 120, 5/2
4-Kaabraaj, Jose Zunino, 117, 6/1
5-Conquest Windycity, Erick Lopez, 118, 9/2
6-Oh Marvelous Me, Julien Couton, 117, 12/1
Career records of Longacres Mile entrants:
Alert Bay (33-14-7-4-$1,252,555)
Conquest Windycity (22-4-3-4-$282,651)
Mach One Rules (23-7-9-4-$316,026)
Oh Marvelous Me (20-6-5-3-$82,228)
Weather will not be a factor Sunday; the National Weather Service forecast calls for clear skies and a high of 81 degrees for the race. While weather is expected to soar into the mid-90s Wednesday and Thursday, the temperature is expected to cool to 79 on Friday and 76 on Saturday. In the 83-year history of the Mile, there has only been 11 off tracks and only two in 22 runnings at Emerald Downs – Adreamisborn in 2004 and The Great Face in 2007 both won on sloppy tracks. …
Bob Rondeau – 11-time Washington State Sportscaster of the Year – is honorary steward for the Mile. Rondeau, who retired last year after 37 years as the voice of the Washington Huskies, is an avid Thoroughbred race fan and former winner of the Mark Kaufman Media Award for excellence in coverage of racing in Washington.