08/07/2013 3:30PM

Emerald Downs: Longacres Mile nominations list filled with Californians

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Erin Palmer/Emerald Downs
Jebrica (above) and Stryker Phd head the home team on the Longacres Mile nominations list.

AUBURN, Wash. – The Grade 3, $200,000 Longacres Mile could have a distinct California flavor for its 78th running Aug. 18 at Emerald Downs.

Emerald Downs unveiled the list of 28 nominees this week, and track officials said they expect a full field of 12. The nominees include 14 graded stakes winners, three of whom – Fed Biz, Liaison, and Drill – are conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who captured the first Emerald Downs running of the Longacres Mile with Isitingood in 1996.

John Sadler, Jerry Hollendorfer, Ron Ellis, and Dan Hendricks join Baffert as high-profile California-based trainers with Mile nominees. Of the 28 Longacres Mile hopefuls, 10 made their last start at Del Mar and four others started most recently at Betfair Hollywood Park.

Nominations for Grade 3, $200,000 Longacres Mile
To be run Sunday, Aug. 19
Assessment
Batti Man
Cast a Doubt
Clubhouse Ride
Commander
Devil in Disguise
Drill
Fed Biz
Gladding
Gnarly Dude
Golden Itiz
Herbie D
Hoist
Hudson Landing
Jebrica
Liaison
Liberty Cap
Majestic City
Mr. Bowling
Politicallycorrect
Saddleranch
Shrug
Stryker Phd
Summer Hit
Tres Borrachos
Until You
Why Not Be Perfect
Winning Machine

Batti Man, a Hendricks trainee who went toe-to-toe with Paynter in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap at Del Mar in his last start, could be particularly well suited for the Longacres Mile, a race that tends to reward horses with enough tactical speed to avoid traffic jams during the short run to the first turn.

Only eight of the 28 nominees are based at Emerald Downs, with Jebrica and Stryker Phd the leading local contenders. Assessment, who captured the 2009 Longacres Mile, is the only former Mile winner on the list and also the oldest potential starter at age 9. Shippers have won the past two editions of the Longacres Mile, with both Awesome Gem (2011, in from Southern California) and Taylor Said (2012, from Hastings in Vancouver, British Columbia) prevailing as the wagering favorite.

Among the nominees who have been confirmed as probable starters, both Herbie D and Politicallycorrect are sure to be popular in the betting. Herbie D, who is based at Hastings and trained by Robert Gilker, is coming off a resounding victory in the 1 1/16-mile Mount Rainier Handicap in his first start at Emerald Downs – his ninth win in 12 starts. Four of the past seven Mount Rainier winners have gone on to capture the Longacres Mile.

Politicallycorrect finished second in the Grade 3 James Marvin Stakes at Saratoga in July and arrived at Emerald Downs last week to begin Longacres Mile preparations for trainer Wesley Ward. Hall of Fame jockey Russell Baze is expected to be aboard Politicallycorrect, the Oklahoma Derby winner, who earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 102 for his recent effort at Saratoga.

Bret Anderson, Emerald Downs’ director of racing, will unveil Longacres Mile weights Saturday and entries will be drawn Aug. 14.