08/19/2007 12:00AM

The Great Face all the way in Mile


AUBURN, Wash. – The Great Face took the lead at the start and dug in through the final furlong to post a head victory over favored Raise the Bluff in Sunday’s 72nd renewal of the Grade 3, $400,000 Longacres Mile. Wasserman got up for third.

The Great Face and Raise the Bluff both race for Ron Crockett, but they raced uncoupled in the wagering with the permission of the stewards. The Great Face, a 5-year-old Washington-bred from the barn of trainer Tom Wenzel, paid $13.40 to win as the third choice in a field of 12 and earned $220,000.

Under a clever ride by Juan Gutierrez, The Great Face held a clear lead through six furlongs in 1:10.20 and finished gamely to prevail in 1:35.40 on a track rated sloppy.

In Sunday’s other big race, California shipper Gemstone Rush came from well back to post a 3 3/4-length victory in the $100,000 Emerald Distaff for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles. Another Californian, Fortunate Event, got second by two lengths over Beaulena.

Ridden by Russell Baze and trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Gemstone Rush paid $5.20 to win as the favorite after completing the nine furlongs in 1:48.60. Gemstone Rush, a 5-year-old daughter of Wild Rush, earned $55,000 for the partnership of Hollendorfer, George Todaro and John Turner.