07/06/2011 4:02PM

Emerald Downs: McCanna has Touch the Sun for feature

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AUBURN, Wash. – Tim McCanna is scheduled to saddle two horses Friday at Emerald Downs, a rather quiet evening for the newest member of the Washington Racing Hall of Fame.

McCanna, 49, will be recognized for his lengthy list of accomplishments during a Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Emerald Downs on Aug. 20, the day before the 2011 meeting reaches its apex with the running of the Grade 3 Longacres Mile. The list if Hall of Fame inductees was revealed last Sunday and also includes Vicky Baze, the only female to win a riding title at Longacres; 12-time stakes-winning filly Firesweeper; 1973 Washington horse of the year Pataha Prince; and breeders Grousemount Farm.

Also at the induction ceremony, Karen and Mickey Taylor, owners of Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew, will be honored for lifetime achievement in the Washington thoroughbred industry.

The newest Hall of Fame class was selected by a 16-person panel of horsemen, Emerald officials and media members. McCanna is the 11th trainer to be honored, joining a list that includes Northwest legends Allen Drumheller, Glen Williams, Kathy Walsh, Bud Klokstad, and Jim Penney. He’s the first trainer to be recognized primarily for his work at Emerald Downs – 10 training titles, 795 wins, 30 stakes victories, and more than $7.3 million in earnings. He has saddled 23 winners at the current meeting.

“It’s a huge honor when you look at who’s in it and who has been nominated,” McCanna said. “I grew up idolizing these people and all they accomplished. All I ever wanted to do was train horses at Longacres.”

McCanna has been rolling lately, particularly with 2-year-olds including Youtheprizeandi, winner of the Knights Choice Stakes last Sunday. He has also had notable success with routers such as Touch the Sun, who won his first two-turn race by more than 13 lengths in his last start and will be one of the favorites if he starts as scheduled in Friday’s featured seventh race. Touch the Sun races for Gary Hughes, one of McCanna’s longtime clients. The McCanna/Hughes partnership has won with 16 different horses over the past decade and captured the Emerald Derby with Saratoga Boot last summer.

“Tim is very deserving,” Hughes said of the Hall of Fame nod. “He’s a great trainer who has the knowledge and skill to help an owner choose a good prospect at the auction, and then make the horse a winner at the track.”