08/01/2005 11:00PM

Penney plots attack on Mile

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Hastings Park
The razor-sharp Flamethrowintexan is one of trainer Jim Penney's two best hopes for the Longacres Mile.

AUBURN, Wash. - Trainer Jim Penney said he might nominate as many as five horses for the Aug. 21 running of the Grade 3, $250,000 Longacres Mile - a race he has won a record four times in the past. But he also indicated he is likely to start only one of them in the Mile.

That would be Flamethrowintexan, who earned his berth with a 2 1/4-length victory against two-time defending champion Poker Brad in Sunday's $100,000 Mt. Rainier Breeders' Cup Handicap at 1 1/8 miles.

"He'll run again in three weeks," said Penney, referring to the Mile. "I think a flat mile will be a good distance for him, and he is obviously at the top of his game right now."

Penney had wanted to start 2002 Longacres Mile champ Sabertooth in this year's Mile as well, and he might do it yet. But Sabertooth severely compromised his chances when he acted up in the gate and was scratched from Sunday's 6 1/2-furlong Governor's Handicap.

"We'd have to run him without a prep," Penney said. "He runs well fresh, so I'm not going to say no, but it would be asking a lot. I think we might have to look around for an alternative race for him. We probably lost Sabertooth for the Mile."

Penney said he will nominate Sabertooth, who suffered only superficial scratches in Sunday's episode, to the Mile to keep his options open.

Another option is the Longacres Mile Consolation, which is traditionally run on the Mile Day card.

Penny said the Consolation is also a reason for nominating Turban, who returned from a long absence to win a six-furlong optional claimer in 1:08.80 on Friday; Diamond View, who ran second in Sunday's Governor's Handicap; and Salt Grinder, who was unplaced in the B.C. Cup Sprint at Hastings on Monday.

"Turban is a good horse, but it takes a long time to get him fit and it probably wouldn't be fair to ask him to run in the Mile off one prep," said Penney. "I might consider him for the Consolation, though. I might consider Diamond View and Salt Grinder for the Consolation, too, but I'm leaning toward keeping them sprinting."

Penney believes his best hopes for this year's Mile are Flamethrowintexan and Sabertooth, and Sunday's races left him with mixed emotions.

"It was one step forward, and one step back," he said.

No Giveaway: Distance questions

No Giveaway won Sunday's $40,000 Governor's in Sabertooth's absence, by 2 1/4 lengths, while facing just three rivals. He ran the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15 and improved his record to 5 for 5. Grant Forster, who trains No Giveaway for owner and breeder Herman Sarkowsky, said he was on the fence about running No Giveaway in the Longacres Mile.

"There's a question about whether he wants to go a mile," Forster said. "He chipped a knee in his only mile try last year, so that wasn't really a fair test. His full sister, Youcan'ttakeme, didn't have any problem going a mile and farther, but he's not built like her. He has that big rear end.

"Myself, personally, I think he is a really good closing sprinter," he added. "We'll certainly look at the Mile, though, and I'll talk it over with Mr. Sarkowsky. Maybe we'll go in the Consolation."

Frazier injured, out indefinitely

Sabertooth's problems notwithstanding, the most unfortunate occurrence on Sunday was an accident involving second-leading rider Ricky Frazier immediately after the fourth race. Frazier's mount, Manner Ridge, broke down and fell about 50 yards past the wire, and a trailing horse struck the rider in the face. Frazier sustained multiple facial injuries, including several lost teeth, and will be out indefinitely.

Gallyn Mitchell, who substituted for Frazier on Flamethrowintexan in the Mt. Rainier, said afterward that his thoughts and prayers go out to the fallen rider.

Karis Makaw wins in fast time

The Beyer Speed Figure boys might not agree, but many observers felt that Karis Makaw finally lived up to her vast potential in Saturday's 1 1/16-mile Boeing Handicap for fillies and mares. Karis Makaw forged to the front at the top of the stretch after stalking the early pace, then outfinished deep closer Summer Symphony to win by three-quarters of a length in a rapid 1:42.60.

"It was definitely her best race yet," said trainer Bob Meeking. "Summer Symphony is a very good filly and she came to our horse with a lot of momentum, but our filly responded quick. She's just a very tough-minded horse, and she doesn't want to give you an inch."

Meeking said that Karis Makaw, who has now won three straight, trained into the Boeing better than into any of her previous races.

"She was calmer and more relaxed than she has ever been," he said. "It seems like everything has come together for her in the last month."

Karis Makaw earned a 76 Beyer in the Boeing, a point less than she got for her previous two wins.

Tusko T.'s win surprises his trainer

Trainer Howard Belvoir's remarkable success with 2-year-olds at this meeting continued in Saturday's six-furlong Emerald Express, as the Belvoir-trained Tusko T. and Courting Seattle ran first and second. Tusko T., the 5-2 second choice, defeated his even-money stablemate by three-quarters of a length.

"I was surprised," said Belvoir. "I thought Tusko T. blew his race in the paddock, because he washed out. He has a tremendous amount of talent, but I'm afraid his mind will get to him eventually. He probably lost 60 pounds today, and you just can't do that every race."