Updated on 09/16/2011 9:06AM

Sabertooth takes Longacres Mile

Emerald Downs
Sabertooth and rider Nate Chaves are clear as they drive to the wire enroute to a 2 1/2-length upset win in Sunday's Grade 3 Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs.

AUBURN, Wash. - Unhearalded Sabertooth went to the front at the start and was never seriously challenged en route to a stunning 2 1/2 length victory in Sunday's 67th running of the Grade 3, $250,000 at Emerald Downs.

Under a clever ride from Nate Chaves, the 17-1 Sabertooth got a length clear of San Nicolas after a moderate first quarter in 22.80, then maintained that margin through a half mile in 45.40 and six furlongs in 1:08.80 before drawing off to his final margin in 1:34.60. Moonlight Meeting, the 3-1 second choice, came from eighth position to get second by a neck over San Nicolas, then it was another neck back to Komax in fourth and yet another neck away to the slight 3-1 favorite, Mysterious Cat, in the field of 12.

The 67th Mile lost some of its luster when the strong pre-race favorite, Redattore, had to be scratched after spiking a temperature of 103 degrees on Saturday morning. Redattore was treated and was scheduled to return to trainer Richard Mandella's barn at Del Mar on Tuesday.

It was the first stakes win and the first win six starts this year for Sabertooth, a 4-year-old son of Petersburg and Exit's Baby who was bred in Washington by Robert Sparling, who owns the gelding in partnership with his son, Bruce. Sabertooth provided trainer Jim Penney with his fourth Mile win, which ties a record established in 1948 by Allen Drumheller.

"Each Mile victory was very sweet, and this is no exception," said Penney. "This horse has always had a great deal of ability and he began to show it when we stretched him out this year. He led past a mile in a 1 1/16 mile stakes on July 4, then he led past a mile in a 1 1/8 mile stakes in his last race, so we had some home he could lead for a mile today."

Sabertooth, who was weighted at 113 pounds but carried 114 in the Mile, had to win a shake with Prodigious for a spot in the 12-stall gate.

After Redattore scratched, Prodigious move into the gate, but finished ninth.

Always A Dixie best again

Always A Dixie all but wrapped up older filly or mare honors at the Emerald Downs with an authoritative 1 3/4 length victory in Sunday's $100,000 Emerald Breeders' Cup Distaff at a mile.

It was the third stakes win at the meeting for Always A Dixie, a British Columbia-based 4-year-old who races for Mr. and Mrs. R. J. Bennett and is trained by Barbara Heads.

Under Ricky Frazier, who was second on Moonlight Meeting in the Mile, Always A Dixie pressed the pace of Grooms Derby through a half-mile in 46 seconds, then surged to the front on the turn for home and held off a late bid from second-favorite Graceful Cat to prevail in 1:35. Whatdidshesay got third, while 3-2 favorite De Goddaughter ran an unthreatening eighth of nine.

Always A Dixie paid $11.40 to win as the third choice.