08/18/2010 4:55PM

Gallant Son, Noosa Beach meet again in Longacres Mile

Benoit & Associates
Gallant Son is the 5-2 morning-line favorite for Sunday's Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs.

AUBURN, Wash. – Budding rivals as 2-year-olds in 2008, Gallant Son and Noosa Beach will meet again on a bigger stage Sunday at Emerald Downs in the 75th running of the Grade 3 Longacres Mile.

Gallant Son, now a leading turf miler in Southern California, drew the No. 8 post position in a full field of 12 when entries were drawn Wednesday afternoon. A five-time stakes winner – three times at Emerald, twice in California – Gallant Son was made the 5-2 morning-line favorite by Emerald Downs handicapper Rob Rao.

Noosa Beach, a three-time stakes winner at Emerald in 2010, was next at 3-1. He drew post 5, an ideal draw for a horse expected to set or force the early pace. Ricky Frazier, Emerald’s leading rider, has the call for trainer Doris Harwood.

Jockey Leslie Mawing, a former Emerald mainstay now based at Golden Gate Fields, will be reunited with Gallant Son, whom he rode regularly during Gallant Son’s 2-year-old season and for the first two races of his 3-year-old campaign.

Gallant Son is 2-0 in previous meetings with Noosa Beach. He won the one-mile WTBA Lads Stakes in August 2008, with Noosa Beach, in his second career start, two lengths back in third. Four weeks later, Gallant Son rolled to a six-length victory in the 1 1/16-mile Gottstein Futurity, a performance that convinced trainer Frank Lucarelli and owner Chris Randall to run Gallant Son in the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita. Gallant Son has been in California ever since.

In addition to the winner’s share of the $250,000 purse, the Mile champion qualifies for an automatic berth in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile on Nov. 6 at Churchill Downs. Gallant Son is Breeders’ Cup eligible; Noosa Beach is not.

Defending Mile champion Assessment (5-1) drew the No. 11 post, not much of an improvement from a year ago, when he became the second horse in Mile history to win from the 12 hole. Gallyn Mitchell has the riding assignment for trainer Howard Belvoir, who will try to become the first trainer to saddle three consecutive Mile winners. Wasserman, the 2008 winner owned and trained by Belvoir, drew the No. 3 post and will be ridden by Jennifer Whitaker. He’s 20-1 on the morning line.

Burj Dubai, Noosa Beach’s primary rival for pace supremacy, was unlucky to draw post 12 and was listed as a 10-1 outsider. Alex Solis will be in from Del Mar to ride Burj Dubai for trainer Dino Condilenios.