08/23/2004 11:00PM

Longacres Mile had whole different look to it


AUBURN, Wash. - Sunday's 69th renewal of the Grade 3 Longacres Mile was different.

It was different from the start, as overnight rains had turned the track to slop, snapping a string of 26 straight Miles contested over a fast track. It was different at the finish, too, because Adreamisborn came from 13 lengths back in 11th position to win by a length over Demon Warlock. It was the first time since the Mile moved to Emerald Downs in 1996 that the winner had come from farther back than third.

About the only thing that was familiar about Sunday's Mile was Russell Baze. The Granger, Wash., native collected his third Mile win to go along with victories aboard Simply Majestic in 1988 and Sky Jack last year, and is now only two behind the record held by his cousin, Gary Baze.

Of course, the sight of Russell Baze posing in the winner's circle with trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who saddled Adreamisborn, is more than familiar to Bay Area racegoers, but not to Northwest fans. Hollendorfer had sent out only one previous starter in the Longacres Mile.

"I sent Variety Road up here in 1990, and he went off as one of the favorites, but a local horse named Snipledo kicked our rear ends," recalled the trainer.

The roles were reversed on Sunday, as Adreamisborn swallowed the field with an Arazi-like move turning for home and held off Demon Warlock's late bid to score in 1:34.80. Mr. Makah came from dead last to get third, 6 3/4 lengths behind the winner and three-quarters of a length ahead of American Fury, whose rider lost an iron when the horse was bumped passing the three-sixteenths pole. Rider Octavio Vergara claimed foul against the winner, but the stewards ruled that American Fury was bumped by Salt Grinder, who wound up in a dead heat for last with Canadian invader Deputy Country.

"The winner had nothing to do with it," said trainer Carleton Robbins, who saddled American Fury. "It was a shame it happened, though, because my horse was definitely going to get third with a clean run."

Adreamisborn, a 5-year-old son of Kris S. who races for Franks Farms, went off as the 4-1 second choice to Poker Brad, who finished eighth at 7-2 with no apparent excuse. It was the third win from as many starts on dirt for Adreamisborn, who has won two of 13 grass tries.

"I guess I'd have to say he is better on dirt after today," said Hollendorfer. "I still don't think we've seen the best from him, though. I think he wants to go a lot longer. I really think he can run with just about anybody when he is on his game.

"I'm looking to run him in a pretty big race next time, probably back East, and then we'll see where we stand. I'm really pretty high on him."

Aunt Sophie posts biggest career win

Hollendorfer sent out the favored Hippogator in Sunday's $100,000 Emerald Breeders' Cup Distaff at a mile, but it was Aunt Sophie who made like Adreamisborn and won going away after making a sweeping move on the turn under rider Roberto Gonzalez. Aunt Sophie scored by two lengths over Cascade Corona in 1:36.20, while Hippogator held on for third after contesting the early pace.

It was the second stakes win of the year for Aunt Sophie, a 6-year-old daughter of Altazarr, and it continued a remarkable string of strong performances stretching back to last season.

"She has been a remarkably consistent mare throughout her career," said Charles Barth, her breeder, owner, and trainer. "She has raced in stakes in her last eight starts, and she hasn't been worse than third. I think she is pretty outstanding."

Aunt Sophie won two stakes in California last year, but lost out in the voting for top Washington-bred filly or mare to last year's Emerald B.C. Distaff winner, Infernal McGoon. Barth decided to campaign her at Emerald this summer in an attempt to win that award, and Aunt Sophie did her part by winning the biggest race of her career on Sunday.

Aunt Sophie will likely race once more at the meeting, in the $50,000 Belle Roberts Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on Washington Cup Day, Sept. 19. The race could turn out to be a rubber match with Cascade Corona, who has split four decisions with Aunt Sophie at this meeting.

Bianconi Baby atop division

Bianconi Baby rocketed to the front of the local 3-year-old filly class in Saturday's $100,000 Washington Breeders' Cup Oaks, leading throughout to defeat the favored Karis Makaw by a length in 1:48.80 for 1 1/8 miles.

It was the first stakes win for Bianconi Baby, who opened her career with a sensational 10-length victory over maiden special weight company here last season. She failed to duplicate that brilliance in four subsequent sprint tries, but recaptured it in her first try around two turns when she won a mile allowance race by 12 1/2 lengths in her Oaks prep on July 24.

"We were joking in the spring that we were pointing her for the Oaks, but in the back of our minds it wasn't a joke," said Grant Forster, who trains Bianconi Baby for the partnership of Mike and Amy Feuerborn and John and Jane Maryanski. "We always felt she had the ability to win a race like this. Now that she has done it, it's just very satisfying."