08/07/2006 11:00PM

Captain Squire leads California contingent for Longacres Mile


AUBURN, Wash. - Captain Squire, a millionaire, heads the list of 30 handicap stars who have been nominated for the 71st running of the Grade 3, $250,000 Longacres Mile on Aug. 20 at Emerald Downs.

Captain Squire, a 7-year-old son of Flying Chevron from the barn of trainer Jeff Mullins, has notched nine wins, including last year's Grade 1 Ancient Title Breeders' Cup Handicap at Santa Anita, for $1,278,065 in earnings. Though primarily a sprinter, Captain Squire has won at distances as far as 1 1/16 miles. He is coming off a sharp win over $125,000 optional claiming company at Del Mar on July 31, when he got seven furlongs in 1:22.60.

Other California-based standouts on the roster of Mile nominees include the Bob Baffert-trained Preachinatthebar, who is coming off a close second to Giacomo in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap at Del Mar on July 22, the Mike Puhich-trained Southern Africa, who was fourth in the San Diego, and the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained Ace Blue, who lost a nose decision to Lava Man in the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 8.

The Canadian-based nominees include last year's Mile runner-up, Quiet Cash. The Terry Jordan-trained Quiet Cash has won 3 of 4 starts as a 5-year-old and is coming off a game victory in the 1 1/16-mile City of Edmonton Handicap at Northlands Park on July 29.

Heading a strong local contingent is Flamethrowintexan, who is coming off a 4 1/2-length win in the 1 1/8-mile Mt. Rainier Breeders' Cup Handicap on July 30. Flamethrowintexan is trained by Jim Penney, who has won the Mile a record four times.

Other locals on the list include the Governor's Handicap winner, Starbird Road; Mt. Rainier third Norm's Nephew; and Westsideclyde, an impressive winner of 4 of his 5 starts at the current meeting.

Though the prospective Mile field will almost certainly remain in flux for at least the next week, the nucleus of the field is expected to be made up of Captain Squire, Preachinatthebar, Southern Africa, Quiet Cash, Flamethrowintexan, and Norm's Nephew.

Starbird Road and Westsideclyde will become instant contenders if their connections elect to run them in the Mile, but the owners of both horses have expressed reservations.