08/16/2004 11:00PM

Full field of 12 likely for Mile


AUBURN, Wash. - Royal Place is likely to head a full field of 12 in Sunday's 69th running of the Grade 3, $250,000 Longacres Mile.

Royal Place, a 4-year-old son of Out of Place who races for owner K.K. Sangara of British Columbia, will be the starting highweight at 118 pounds after the defection of six horses who were weighted higher. Royal Place is a Santa Anita allowance winner who is coming off a neck victory over Lord Nelson in the Lt. Governor's Handicap at Hastings on July 1. He returned to the Del Mar barn of trainer Rafael Becerra after that race and will fly here from Los Angeles on Thursday.

Other definites for the Mile are Poker Brad at 117 pounds, Salt Grinder (115), Adreamisborn (114), Demon Warlock (114), Metatron (114), American Fury (113), Gratitude Attack (113), Verkade (113), Mr Makah (112), Daunting (111), and Best on Tap (110).

Trainer Doug O'Neill, who won last year's Mile with Sky Jack, would also like to send Jake Slate on the same plane that will bring Royal Place, American Fury, Verkade, and Daunting to Emerald Downs. However, O'Neill is reluctant to commit without knowing if Jake Skate, who was assigned 110 pounds, can make the final gate. As of Tuesday, Jake Skate and the locally based Best on Tap would have to shake for the final spot in the field.

In addition, Deputy Country, who was assigned 115 pounds, could bump both Jake Skate and Best on Tap out of the Mile field. Trainer Red Smith said he will ship Deputy Country from Northlands Park, where he has won three straight stakes, to Hastings this week. From there he will decide whether to run Deputy Country in the Mile or in the $40,000 S.W. Randall Plate, which will be run at 1 1/8 miles at Hastings on Sept. 6.

Hastings standout Lord Nelson, who ran third in last year's Mile, will run in the S.W. Randall instead, according to trainer Dino Condilenios.