07/28/2006 12:00AM

Preps for Mile draw crowd


AUBURN, Wash. - Nineteen hopefuls will prep for the Grade 3 Longacres Mile on Aug. 20 in either of two stakes on Sunday's Mile Preview Day program.

Flamethrowintexan, who was nominated for both stakes and drew an identical highweight assignment of 120 pounds in each, will head a field of 10 in the $100,000 Mt. Rainier Breeders' Cup Handicap at nine furlongs.

Flamethrowintexan, a 5-year-old son of Way West from the barn of trainer Jim Penney, won last year's renewal of the Mt. Rainier before finishing sixth to No Giveaway in the $250,000 Longacres Mile. The Mt. Rainier was one of four victories from six starts for Flamethrowintexan last year.

He is winless in two starts at the current stand, but was beaten only a neck when he was second in the 6 1/2-furlong FSN Handicap and by fewer than three lengths when he was third in the mile Budweiser Emerald Handicap on June 18.

Penney reported that Flamethrow-intexan has trained exceptionally well in preparation for Sunday's assignment, and he could be ready to show his best stuff in his third start of the year. Regular rider Ricky Frazier has the call.

Flamethrowintexan could get his sternest challenge from Canadian invader Bull Ranch, who ran second in last year's B. C. Derby at Hastings before defeating older rivals in the Premier's Handicap, also at Hastings.

This season Bull Ranch has won one of five starts at Hastings, a 6 1/2-furlong allowance score on May 6. He also ran second, beaten just a head by Quiet Cash, in the John Longden Handicap at 1 1/16 miles and third to Spaghetti Mouse and Quiet Cash in the Lt. Governor's Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on July 1.

Bull Ranch, a son of Real Quiet, will be saddled by trainer Mark Rheinford, who has tabbed Kevin Krigger to ride at 117 pounds.

Also dangerous are R. Associate, who won the Budweiser-Emerald here on June 18, and Alexandersrun, who won both the Seattle Slew Handicap and the Emerald Derby here last season.

Starbird Road will take on eight challengers in Sunday's second Mile prep, the $40,000 Governor's Handicap at 6 1/2 furlongs.

Starbird Road, a 5-year-old trained by Sharon Ross, has won two of three starts at the meeting, including the six-furlong Seattle Handicap, and six of 14 starts in his career. Debbie Hoonan will ride at 119 pounds.

Stakes winners Norm's Nephew, Spanish Highway, Salt Grinder, and Tobe Suave figure to test Starbird Road severely.