08/22/2005 11:00PM

No Giveaway proof that anything can happen


AUBURN, Wash. - Savvy handicappers believe that closing sprinters who are going long for the first time are among the worst wagering propositions in the game. They are usually overbet, and they rarely have the same kick in routes that they have in sprints.

There are exceptions to every rule, however, and No Giveaway reminded Emerald Downs fans of that in Sunday's Grade 3, $250,000 Longacres Mile.

No Giveaway entered the Mile as a bona fide closing sprinter, having won all five of his 6 1/2-furlong tries from well off the pace. He was hardly overbet, going off as the longest shot in the field of 11 at 60-1. And he had that same closing kick, if not a better one, coming from 20 lengths back at the half-mile pole under a masterful ride by Juan Gutierrez to run down 21-1 shot Quiet Cash near the wire.

No Giveaway's clocking of 1:35.60 tied Isitingood's 1996 mark for the slowest time among the 10 Miles run at Emerald Downs, and it translated into a modest 93 Beyer. That figure, incidentally, had been topped previously by all 10 of No Giveaway's opponents in the Mile.

Nevertheless, No Giveaway was responsible for a raft of Longacres Mile records, beginning with his record win payoff of $122. He also keyed a $1 exacta payoff of $658, a $1 trifecta payoff of $4,931.50, and a $1 superfecta payoff of $14,926.70. All of those payoffs eclipsed the records set in 2000, when Edneator won the Mile at odds of 41-1.

If No Giveaway's win seemed improbable, it balanced the scale for owner Herman Sarkowsky. In 1971, Sarkowsky suffered the most improbable loss in the 70-year history of the Mile when his Titular II was headed for certain victory at midstretch, only to break stride when apparently startled by the sight of the starting gate on the Longacres infield. He was passed by Pitch Out and Command Module in the closing yards.

Sarkowsky joked about that incident at a press breakfast before this year's Mile, but it was clear that the memory still stung.

"I don't remember anything else about what happened 34 years ago," he said. "Just that one particular race."

Sarkowsky, a real estate developer who was an original investor in the Seattle Seahawks, the Portland Trailblazers, and Emerald Downs, has since won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies with Phone Chatter and the Grade 1 Haskell with Dixie Union. He said none of his prior victories could match the thrill of winning the Longacres Mile.

"I think it's my parochial view," he said. "This is my home here, and I just think winning this race is very gratifying, and doing it with a Washington-bred makes it all the better."

No Giveaway, a 4-year-old son of He's Tops and Takeaway, isn't just a Washington-bred. Like his full sister, former Emerald Downs horse of the meeting Youcan'ttakeme, he is a homebred through and through. Sarkowsky not only bred No Giveaway, he also bred both his sire and dam.

No Giveaway's future plans are uncertain. While trainer Grant Forster spoke of a possible engagement in the $50,000 Muckleshoot Tribal Classic on Washington Cup Day, Oct. 2, Sarkowsky had a different idea.

"I think I'll cast him in bronze," he said.

Switch has worked out just fine for Forster

No Giveaway's Mile win capped an incredible weekend for Forster, who also won Saturday's $100,000 Washington Breeders' Cup Oaks with A Classic Life and has reached the pinnacle of the sport in the Northwest in just his third year as a trainer.

Forster, a 31-year-old native of British Columbia, abandoned a career in racetrack management in 2000 to work for his father, Hastings Park trainer Dave Forster. He took out his own license in January 2003 at Oaklawn Park and has since won a dozen stakes at Emerald and at least two more in the Midwest. Now he has saddled his first Longacres Mile winner.

"It's just so rewarding to win this race for Mr. Sarkowsky," he said. "He's done so much for our sport here in Washington, and for me personally. I'm so proud for him, and for my parents as well. I think this is the only major race in the Northwest that my dad hasn't won, but he certainly played a big role in my winning it."

Forster said his father initially opposed his move from the frontside to the backside, but he has since become Forster's biggest supporter.

"This side of the business is so up and down," he said. "When I was in track management, a good day was when there was a big handle, and a bad day was when the copier broke. I missed the highs. There's nothing like winning a race."

Connections find solace in Secret Corsage

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and jockey Russell Baze were disappointed with Adreamisborn's fifth-place finish as the 5-2 favorite in the Mile, but they got a nice consolation when Secret Corsage won the $100,000 Emerald Breeders' Cup Distaff by two lengths over a troubled Karis Makaw. Karis Makaw broke slowly and was squeezed back at the start, then steadied when blocked nearing the six-furlong marker before finishing fast on a deep rail path.

Baze said Secret Corsage didn't have a trouble-free trip, either.

"The one thing I didn't want to do was have to take hold of her, because she has a very light mouth," he said. "Sure enough, going into the first turn the horse in front of me slowed down and I had to take her back. She recovered, though. She's a game filly."

Regarding Adreamisborn, Baze said he had no excuse.

"He was just flat," he said. "I thought he was a little flat in his previous race, even though he won, and it was the same thing today. I thought I had an excellent chance on the second turn, but he flattened out at the eighth pole."