08/10/2016 2:06PM

O B Harbor, Alert Bay to clash in Longacres Mile

Reed & Erin Palmer/Emerald Downs
O B Harbor wins the Mount Rainier Stakes on July 17.

Eleven horses were entered for the Grade 3, $200,000 Longacres Mile on Wednesday. The most prestigious race in the Pacific Northwest will be contested at Emerald Downs on Sunday with O B Harbor and Alert Bay the starting highweights at 123 pounds.

Trained by Chris Stenslie, O B Harbor likely will be favored in the one-mile race for 3-year-olds and up. He won all three stakes for older horses at Emerald this year, and in each of his wins, he controlled the race right from the start. He clearly will be the one they have to catch, and given the makeup of the field, he could be hard to run down with usual rider Jose Zunino riding.

Alert Bay is the top money earner in the field with more than $1.12 million in the bank. Trained by Blaine Wright, Alert Bay is coming off a fourth-place finish as the favorite in the $150,000 California Dreamin’ on turf at Del Mar on July 24. Alert Bay moved too soon into a fast pace when he finished third in last year’s Mile.

Stryker Phd will be trying to win the Mile for a record third straight year. However, the late-running 7-year-old wasn’t able to catch O B Harbor in his only two starts this year, and he was particularly dull in the Mount Rainier last out, finishing fourth with Leslie Mawing riding. The 83 Beyer Speed Figure he received is his lowest on dirt since 2013.

Prior to his third-place finish in the Budweiser, he had won eight straight races at Emerald for trainer Larry Ross.

“He’s doing great,” said Ross. “Leslie said he just didn’t like the track in the Mount Rainier. He was probably protecting himself.”

Ross was pleased with the horse’s five-furlong move in 58.60 seconds last Saturday and wasn’t too concerned about the possible shape of the race.

“He did it easily,” he said of the work. “I expect him to run a good race Sunday, and somebody will show up to put pressure on O B Harbor.”

Jerry Hollendorfer will be represented by Cyrus Alexander and Point Piper. The Hall of Fame trainer won the 2004 Mile with Adreamisborn.

Cyrus Alexander won the Grade 3 Lone Star Handicap on May 30 and may have bounced when he finished seventh in the Grade 3 Cornhusker at Prairie Meadows on July 2.

Point Piper hasn’t won since he edged Global View in the $86,000 Harry F. Brubaker at Del Mar last Aug. 26 and will be making his first start since finishing fourth in the Grade 2 Californian at Santa Anita on May 22. Three of his four wins have come at a mile, however, and he finished second to Dortmund at the distance in the $75,000 Big Bear at Santa Anita on Oct. 24.

Expect Cyrus Alexander to be in the mix early and Point Piper to be heard from late.

Here is the complete field, with riders, in post-position order.

1. Stryker Phd, Leslie Mawing
2. Dedicated to You, Eswan Flores
3. Star Student, Amadeo Perez
4. O B Harbor, Jose Zunino
5. Alert Bay, Tyler Baze
6. Sammy Mandeville, Rocco Bowen
7. Cyrus Alexander, Norberto Arroyo Jr.
8. Point Piper, Mario Gutierrez
9. Sabado Alegre, Juan Gutierrez
10. Prime Engine, Isaias Enriquez
11. Indian Brut, Erick Lopez

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