07/19/2013 3:39PM

Emerald Downs: Todd targeting Longacres Mile repeat


AUBURN, Wash. – Glen Todd has had an eventful 11 months since his big horse, Taylor Said, won the 2012 Longacres Mile with an impressive display of speed and determination. Taylor Said is no longer in Todd’s hands, having been sold to one of the ruling sheikhs in Dubai for a princely sum, but Todd, the leading owner at Hastings in Vancouver, British Columbia, could have as many as two starters in this year’s running of the Longacres Mile on Aug. 18.

One of that duo, Hoist, has raced exclusively at Emerald Downs this year, winning the 6 1/2-furlong Governor’s Handicap on May 26 before coming home sixth in the one-mile Budweiser Handicap in his last start. He will start Sunday in the $50,000 Mt. Rainier Handicap, the final local stepping-stone to the Grade 3, $200,000 Longacres Mile. Todd’s other Mile hopeful, Commander, recently snapped a four-race losing streak with a dominating victory in a stakes race at Northlands Park.

Horses owned by Todd’s North American Thoroughbred Racing Co. have won 69 races and earned more than $1.5 million so far in 2013, with a good deal of that success in stakes races both in Canada and the United States. Todd’s winning percentage in stakes this year is a remarkable 41.3 percent (19 of 46), and he would seem to have a fighting chance to capture the Longacres Mile in successive years.

“I think we’re set up pretty good,” Todd said this week. “Commander won for fun over at Northlands in his last start. I might bring him for the Mile, and probably Hoist – though he ran a stinker the last time and I don’t know why. He was sitting in the garden spot. But I think Hoist is the best I’ve got. I also have Devil in Disguise, but I want to keep him here at Hastings.”

Commander had a brilliant summer in Canada last year after a hit-and-miss winter in California. He won a six-furlong stakes race at Northlands Park in June and never stopped rolling.

“He won four in a row over there, and then I brought him back to Vancouver and he won the Randall Plate, and then we beat Jebrica in the Premiers,” Todd said. “Then I ran him in the Breeders’ Cup Marathon, and he bled. He was only 6-1; he was the second favorite. He’s no sprinter, but a mile is up his alley.”

Meanwhile, Taylor Said, who capped a six-race winning streak with his narrow victory over Winning Machine and Awesome Gem in the Longacres Mile, hasn’t raced since and now resides halfway around the world.

“I left Emerald Downs after the Mile, we turned him out at Pegasus, I went to the yearling sale at Keeneland, and while I was there, the Arabs contacted me and asked me if he was for sale,” Todd said. “I said, ‘Yes, for the right amount of money.’ They called me back about a half-hour later, and they gave me a lot of money for him – I can’t even disclose the amount as part of the agreement, but I can tell you it’s the most a B.C.-bred has sold for.”

After the sale, Taylor Said worked once at Betfair Hollywood Park under trainer Eoin Harty’s watch before being sent to Dubai and into the hands of then-Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni. Al Zarooni was subsequently handed an eight-year suspension for doping violations.

“He went to Dubai, chipped a hind ankle, and they had to operate on him,” Todd said. “I think he’ll be back to race over there. But they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. As it turned out, I guess I was lucky I sold him, though he was sound as bullet when I did. Taylor Said was the real deal.”

You Me and Ema B retired

You Me and Ema B, a two-time stakes winner at Emerald Downs in 2011, has been retired from racing, trainer Margo Lloyd said this week. You Me and Ema B, a Washington-bred by You and I from the Son of Briartic mare Carrie Ann, finishes with four victories from just seven starts and earnings of $85,665 for Lloyd’s Monogram Racing Stables.

You Me and Ema B won the six-furlong Hastings Handicap and the one-mile Boeing Handicap during a four-week span in 2011, but started just two more times. She missed all of 2012 because of injury and was third in an allowance sprint in April in her only start this year.

“She got bumped pretty hard in that last race, and her left ankle was a little sore,” Lloyd said. “I’m probably overprotective of her – she probably could have gone on, but whether she would have been as good as before, I don’t know. I see a nice little future for her as a broodmare. She left Tuesday to go back to Jenny Webber’s farm. We’re partnering up on her as a broodmare, and she’ll probably go to Kentucky to be bred next spring.”