08/20/2002 12:00AM

Overflow crowd for the Longacres Mile


AUBURN, Wash. - It appears certain that Sunday's 67th running of the Grade 3, $250,000 Longacres Mile will overfill, and that horses intended for the race will be left on the sidelines for the first time in memory.

In the inaugural running of the Mile in 1935, Coldwater topped a field of 16, while 14 runners contested the race as recently as 1990, when Snipledo won. These days, however, the field is limited to 12, and there are at least 17 whose connections want them to run. Preference is determined by weight.

The list is topped by the 123-pound starting highweight, Redattore, who is scheduled to arrive at Emerald Downs on Thursday afternoon along with fellow Southern Californian Mysterious Cat, who is also assured a spot in the gate at 117 pounds. Others assured a berth are Moonlight Meeting (119 pounds), Lord Nelson (118), Futural (116), Komax (116), Radar Contact (116), Jumron Won (115), San Nicolas (115), and Colterkind (114). That makes 10.

Road Afleet, who is also weighted at 114 pounds, could have the 11th slot, but trainer Dan Markle would rather save him for the Washington Championship and run Winitall, who is one of six Mile hopefuls weighted at 113 pounds. The others are Jade Green, Prodigious, Sabertooth, Stoney, and Sullivanitis. Another runner, Hoodoo Peak, would run if possible, but with an assignment of 108 pounds he seems sure to be excluded.

The tiebreaker for equally weighted horses, is a random draw. Horses excluded from the main body of the race will draw for spots on the also-eligible list and move into the field in order if there are scratches.

Two other runners who were intended for the Mile have been withdrawn from consideration. Trainer Dave Forster decided that last year's third-place finisher, Makors Mark (116), is not ready for such a strenuous race after just one prep race in the Governor's Handicap. Secret Launch, who was also weighted at 116 pounds, fractured a sesamoid while working in preparation for the Mile last Sunday, according to trainer Sharon Ross.

The extraordinary interest in contesting this year's Mile is surprising because of the strong credentials of the starting highweight. Redattore, a 7-year-old Brazilian, won the Grade 1 Eddie Read Handicap on the grass and the Grade 2 San Antonio Handicap on the dirt last season, and is coming off a good third to Sarafan and Beat Hollow in this year's Eddie Read. Trainer Richard Mandella has tabbed Jason Lumpkins to ride Redattore in the Mile.