08/19/2012 9:31PM

Emerald Downs: Red-hot Taylor Said continues streak in Longacres Mile

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AUBURN, Wash. -- Taylor Said and jockey Mario Gutierrez overcame a difficult post position and a stellar field Sunday to win the Grade 3, $200,000 Longaces Mile at Emerald Downs.

The top handicap horse in British Columbia after four consecutive victories at Hastings in Vancouver, Taylor Said ran his overall winning streak to six with a head victory over Winning Machine. Awesome Gem, a slight wagering favorite at 5-2, rallied through a traffic jam at the top of the stretch to be a fast-closing third in the field of 10.

The field was narrowed from 11 when Gladding, expected to be one of the wagering favorites, spiked a fever early Friday after a flight from Southern California and was withdrawn by trainer John Sadler.

Without the speedy Gladding to set the pace, Winning Machine took command shortly after the start, with Taylor Said, after navigating the short run to the first turn from post 9, in hot pursuit. After setting a moderate pace, Winning Machine and Taylor Said quickened with about three furlongs to run to open a wide gap on the rest of the field and battled tooth and nail to the finish, with Winning Machine inching back toward the winner in the final strides.

Taylor said ran one mile in 1:33.79 and paid $7.20. He is trained by Troy Taylor and was saddled at Emerald Downs by Mike Puhich.

Purchased as a yearling for $9,230 in 2009, Taylor Said won for the seventh time in 10 lifetime starts and, with the winner's share of $110,000, increased his career earnings to $277,991 for owner Glen Todd's North American Thoroughbred Horse Company. Taylor Said, 4, is by Stephanotis from Fleet Amyanne, by Western Fame.

"We've dreamed of winning this race," Todd said in the winner's circle. "It's the biggest race in the Pacific Northwest. Winning Machine ran a hell of a race."

Awesome Gem, the richest horse in training in North America and the defending Longacres Mile champion, closed gamely under David Flores to miss by 1 3/4 lengths. He was followed by St Liams Halo, Bailouttheminister, Jump Up and Kissme, Gallant Son, Jebrica, Hudson Landing, and Assessment.