08/17/2010 12:51PM

Longacres Mile looking like a Northwest affair


AUBURN, Wash. – A raft of nominated horses from California, Kentucky, and Ontario threatened to turn the 75th Longacres Mile into a showcase for out-of-towners, but most of those nominees fell by the wayside last week and now the Northwest’s richest race is shaping up as a turf war between the top horses at Emerald Downs and the top horses at Hastings in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Four Hastings shippers – Senor Rojo, and the Dino Condilenios-trained trio of Teide, Amost Time, and Burj Dubai – are expected to compete Sunday in the Grade 3, $250,000 Mile. They’ll join Gallant Son, the top 2-year-old at Emerald in 2008 and now a leading turf horse in Southern California, and seven horses who’ve been housed at Emerald for most or all of the current meeting.

Enriched, the Mile highweight at 122 pounds, will remain in California, trainer Doug O’Neill said last week. The Mile purse includes $75,000 from the Breeders’ Cup Fund for Cup nominees only, and Enriched is not Breeders’ Cup eligible. A Mile victory would have been worth a guaranteed $96,250 to Enriched’s owners, and they and O’Neill elected to pass.

Gallant Son, the second highweight at 121 pounds, arrived at Emerald last week. The Longacres Mile is part of the Breeders’ Cup’s Win and You’re In program, giving the winner an automatic berth in the $1 million Dirt Mile at Churchill Downs in early November. Gallant Son, trained by Frank Lucarelli, competed in the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita, finishing seventh after a troubled trip under Leslie Mawing, who will be in from Northern California to ride Sunday.

Brian Beach, agent for Alex Solis, confirmed Solis will ride Burj Dubai, an enormously talented but lightly raced 4-year-old who finished second after setting a blistering pace in the 1 1/16-mile S.W. Randall Plate at Hastings July 18. Solis has a second and two thirds in three previous Mile appearances.

Hall of Famer Russell Baze, who rode his 11,000th winner Saturday at Santa Rosa, will ride Mile longshot Rooster City for trainer Tim McCanna. Condilenios said Chad Hoverson would be up on Teide, a hard-luck third in the 2009 Mile, with Frank Fuentes riding Almost Time. Among the locals, Ricky Frazier will pilot probable favorite Noosa Beach, Gallyn Mitchell has a return engagement on defending Mile champion Assessment, Kevin Krigger will be up on Jersey Town, Francisco Duran on Winning Machine, and Juan Gutierrez on Gallon.