02/03/2012 12:32PM

Emerald Downs: Longacres Mile tops 30-race stakes schedule


The 77th running of the Longacres Mile is, as usual, the highlight of the 2012 Emerald Downs stakes schedule. The 81-day meet at the Seattle-area track begins April 13 and runs through Sept. 23.

The Grade 3, $200,000 Longacres Mile will be run Sunday, Aug. 19, on a card with the $65,000 Emerald Distaff. Awesome Gem came in from California to win the Mile last year.

Emerald Downs will run 30 stakes, one more than last year, with total purses of $1,585,000, slightly more than last year. There are few changes from last year’s stakes schedule. Two Northwest Stallion Stakes races – the Strong Ruler for 2-year-olds and the Knights Choice for 2-year-old fillies – have been renamed the Slewdledo and Son of Briartic, respectively. The distance of two other stakes for 2-year-olds, the WTBOA Lads Stakes and the Barbara Shinpoch, has been reduced from one mile to 6 1/2 furlongs. Emerald Downs will run a Quarter Horse stakes on Sept. 2, the $60,000 Bank of America Championship Challenge.

Emerald’s series for older horses leading to the Longacres Mile begins with the $50,000 Governor’s Handicap on May 20, and continues with the $50,000 Coca-Cola Handicap June 24 and the $50,000 Mt. Rainier Handicap July 22.

The top races for 3-year-olds are the $65,000 Washington Oaks on Aug. 11 and the $65,000 Emerald Downs Derby on Aug 12.

Washington Cup, six races for Washington-breds worth a total of $215,000, will be run Sept. 9, culminating with the $40,000 Muckleshoot Tribal Classic for 3-year-olds and up.

The $65,000 Gottstein Futurity, the meet’s top race for 2-year-olds, will be run closing day, Sept. 23.