Updated on 09/16/2011 8:06AM

How can Redattore lose? Ask Ms. Ross.


AUBURN, Wash. - Any objective handicapper who studies the past performances for Sunday's Longacres Mile will quickly conclude that Redattore is the best horse, just as his 123-pound highweight assignment suggests.

Redattore, a 7-year-old Brazilian from the barn of recently inducted Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella, won last year's Grade 1 Eddie Read Handicap, and he is coming off a sharp third to Sarafan and Beat Hollow in this year's Eddie Read. Those two reversed order last weekend, when Beat Hollow came back to win the Grade 1 Arlington Million, with Sarafan second.

The Eddie Read is run over grass at 1 1/8 miles, but Redattore is equally effective on dirt at a mile. He has won three of eight starts on dirt, including a win in the Grade 2 San Antonio Handicap at nine furlongs in February, when he registered a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 108. And he has won five of 11 tries at a mile, including the Grade 2 San Francisco Handicap last year under Jason Lumpkins, who will ride him Sunday.

So how can anybody beat him?

"How did Chum Salmon beat the horses he beat in 1985?" said trainer Sharon Ross, answering a question with a question.

Ross might have referred as well to Snipledo in 1990, Kid Katabatic in 1997, or Edneator in 2000, as all were local runners who beat more accomplished invaders in the Longacres Mile. Ross chose Chum Salmon as her example, of course, because she and her husband Larry Ross trained that stretch-runner to his upset victory over the favored M. Double M. and others.

"If you have a horse on his home track, where he is comfortable and confident and doing well, he is going to be tough no matter who ships in to race against him," Ross concluded.

Ross feels she has a horse of that description this year in Moonlight Meeting, who shipped here after running a bang-up second to Palmeiro in the Grade 3 All American Handicap in June. In two subsequent starts, he has scored impressive wins in the 1 1/16-mile Independence Day Handicap and in the 1 1/8-mile Mt. Rainier Handicap, which he won by 5 1/2 lengths in 1:47, good for a 101 Beyer Speed Figure.

"We shipped him up here with the Mile in mind, so we have been pointing him toward this race for a long time," said Ross. "Everything has just fallen into place for him. He has run well and he looks and feels really good. He is really full of himself right now, so if I can just hold him together until Sunday I think he'll run big."

Redattore's long trip to the Mile

The final pieces of the Mile puzzle fell into place late Thursday afternoon when Redattore, Mysterious Cat, and Komax arrived in their stalls at Emerald after a long day of travel.

"Our flight left Los Angeles at

8:15 a.m., then we had a four-hour layover in Oakland," said Tony Rose, Redattore's handler. "We got to Sea-Tac about 4 p.m., but what with traffic and all it was close to 6 by the time we got to the barn.

"None of it bothered Redattore," he added. "He has been around and he knows what is expected of him."

Rose said Becky Witzman, assistant to trainer Richard Mandella, will arrive Sunday to saddle Redattore for the Mile.

Sengara's two stars side by side

Owner Jeff Sengara and trainer Ted West were on hand to welcome Mysterious Cat to Emerald Downs, and so was an equine advisor, 1999 Longacres Mile winner Budroyale. Budroyale had shipped down from his retirement home at Canmor Farm in British Columbia to be paraded before the stands on Sunday.

Sengara's two stars, who were bedded down in adjoining stalls, were clearly communicating with each other on Friday morning, and it was easy to imagine that Budroyale was giving tips to his younger stablemate on how to win the Mile.

"It's great to see them together," said Sengara. "Budroyale has really been enjoying his retirement, but I think he likes being back on the track again. He was a wonderful horse for us. He had so many doubters, but he kept proving them wrong."

Sengara said Mysterious Cat, a 4-year-old son of Distinctive Cat, has been pointed to the Mile since running a close second to Bosque Redondo in the Grade 2 San Bernadino Handicap at Santa Anita in April. The colt came off a layoff to run fifth while wearing blinkers for the first time in a 1 1/16-mile optional claiming race at Del Mar on Aug. 4.

"The blinker experiment was a disaster, and we're taking them off for the Mile," said Sengara. "He runs best second off the shelf, so we're looking for a big effort from him."

o Jockey Karen Knapp remained hospitalized on Friday morning after suffering a concussion when her mount clipped heels and fell in Thursday's seventh race at Emerald. Agent Rich Monaco said it was too early to guess when she might return to riding.

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