02/11/2011 3:07PM

Longacres Mile tops Emerald Downs stakes schedule

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The 2011 Emerald Downs stakes schedule has remained largely intact from last year, with by far the most important race the Grade 3 Longacres Mile. The schedule comprises 29 stakes worth a total of $1.5 million during a meet that runs 82 days, from April 15 to Sept. 25.

The Longacres Mile, won last year by locally based Noosa Beach, has a purse of $200,000 this year, all funded by the track. Last year, the Longacres Mile purse of $250,000 included $175,000 from the track and $75,000 from the Breeders’ Cup for eligible horses. The Longacres Mile will be run Aug. 21 on a card with the $65,000 Emerald Distaff. The Distaff is one of several stakes that took $10,000 purse trims from last year. Others include the $65,000 Washington Oaks (Aug. 13), $65,000 Emerald Derby (Aug. 14), and the $65,000 Gottstein Futurity (Sept. 25).

Washington Cup Day, a card of six stakes for statebreds worth a total of $215,000, is scheduled for Sept. 18, with the highlight the $40,000 Muckleshoot Tribal Classic.

Two stakes, the Federal Way and the King County, were not brought back this year, and the Seattle Handicap, formerly a sprint for older horses, is now for 3-year-old fillies. The Governor’s Handicap has been moved from July 11 to May 22, making it the first race for older horses in the series that leads to the Longacres Mile.