07/27/2009 12:00AM

Assessment takes Longacres Mile prep

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AUBURN, Wash. - Assessment won the $50,000 Mount Rainier Handicap on Sunday at Emerald Downs, stamping himself as the top local hope for the Grade 3, $300,000 Longacres Mile on Aug. 16. Trained by Howard Belvoir for owners Lou and Dianne Tice of Seattle, Assessment ran nine furlongs in 1:47 and paid $7 as the wagering favorite.

Assessment, a 5-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding, tracked a fast pace set by 19-1 longshot Elusive Schemes, collared that one in midstretch, and drew off to win by 2 1/2 lengths. Elusive Schemes held the place, with Gallon a half-length back in third. Wasserman, who won the Longacres Mile last summer, finished fourth. Hastings shipper Texas Wildcatter, the 5-2 second favorite in his Emerald Downs debut, chased Assessment on the turn before fading to finish fifth. Way Too Much and Robbos Courage completed the order of finish.

Assessment won for the third time in six starts at the meeting and for the sixth time in 24 career starts. He earned $27,500, increasing his career mark to $190,980. Jockey Gallyn Mitchell, who has been aboard for each of Assessment's starts this year, recorded his 58th stakes victory at Emerald Downs, a track record. Ricky Frazier, who rode Gallon, has 57.

Boeing: Elusive Horizon, Holy Nova dead heat

Elusive Horizon and Holy Nova reached the wire together in the $50,000 Boeing Handicap, the first dead heat for win in Emerald stakes history.

Elusive Horizon, a 4-year-old filly trained by Doris Harwood, and Holy Nova, a 5-year-old mare based at Hastings and trained by Troy Taylor, covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.60, .40 of a second off the stakes record. Elusive Horizon, who won the one-mile King County Handicap in her previous start, was the 11-10 wagering favorite and paid $2.60. Holy Nova, the third choice at 7-2, paid $3.60. Juan Gutierrez rode Elusive Horizon, and Mario Gutierrez was up on Holy Nova.

Elusive Horizon led every step except the last, Holy Nova surging in the final strides to finish on even terms. Gadget Queen was third, 3 3/4 lengths behind the winners. She was followed by Blue Sky Holiday, Enumclaw Girl, Screaminleapofaith, and Lady Raj in the seven-horse field.

Elusive Horizon, who races for Jerre Paxton's Northwest Farms, remained unbeaten in four starts around two turns. She is the top local contender for the $100,000 Emerald Distaff at nine furlongs on Aug. 16. Holy Nova is expected to race next in the Grade 3, $200,000 Rancho Bernardo Handicap at Del Mar on Sept. 4.