08/26/2003 11:00PM

Sky Jack, wagering reach new heights


AUBURN, Wash. - Last Sunday's Longacres Mile Day program was one for the record books.

First there was Sky Jack's performance in the Mile itself. Sky Jack's 44.40-second half-mile, 1:33 final time, and 6 1/2-length win margin are records in the 68-year history of the Northwest's premier race.

Then there was the wagering. An estimated ontrack crowd of between 13,000 and 13,500, plus an unknown number of bettors at 21 satellite sites in Washington and 31 out-of-state networks, wagered a record $691,233 on the Mile. The total Mile Day handle of $3,037,581 was the highest ever at Emerald Downs, and it was second only to the $3,399,087 bet on the final day of Longacres in the history of Washington racing.

Track president Ron Crockett, who said he was hoping for a total handle of $2.7 million, said he was "extremely pleased" with the wagering figures. He attributed the increases to the depth and quality of the Mile field, a season-long advertising campaign, an intensified effort to sell the track's signal, and what he called "the Seabiscuit event," referring to the interest in racing awakened by the best-selling book and movie.

Infernal McGoon returns home

Infernal McGoon, who won the $100,000 Emerald Breeders' Cup Distaff on the Mile Day undercard at odds of 7-1, flew up from California on the same flight with Sky Jack on Monday of Mile week, but for her it was a homecoming. Infernal McGoon, a 4-year-old Washington-bred by Wekiva Springs, sold for $57,000 at the 2000 WTBA summer yearling sale and raced at Emerald four times as a juvenile, failing to finish in the money.

She spent the last two years racing in Southern California, where she won one of nine starts and was trained by Jenine Sahadi. After she ran third three times in turf allowance races this summer at Del Mar, owner Jody Peetz felt it was time for her to come home.

"She was just kind of spinning her wheels at Del Mar, so I thought I'd go ahead and bring her home," said Peetz, who races under the banner of One Horse Will Do Corp. "My main thought was to run her in the Belle Roberts Handicap on Washington Cup Day, but I thought we might as well take a shot at this race, too."

After her authoritative two-length win over stablemate Tamarack Bay in the Distaff, Infernal McGoon, who was saddled by trainer Grant Forster, will likely go off as a solid favorite in the 1 1/16-mile, $50,000 Belle Roberts on Sept. 21.

Youcan'ttakeme gets another stakes

Besides saddling the top two finishers in the Distaff, Forster sent out Youcan'ttakeme for her fourth straight stakes win in Sunday's $100,000 Washington Breeders' Cup Oaks.

Her 3 1/4-length win in 1:48.40 for nine furlongs followed stakes wins of six, nine, and 5 1/2 lengths, and it concluded a persuasive case for horse of the meeting honors. Youcan'ttakeme's chief rival for the award, the undefeated 2-year-old Sundance Circle, will likely race twice more in the WTBA Lads and the Gottstein Futurity, but Forster said Youcan'ttakeme will take her show on the road.

Forster said Youcan'ttakeme is one of several horses he will take to Keeneland after this meet ends, and she will likely start next in either the Grade 3, $250,000 Indiana Breeders Cup Oaks at 1 1/16 miles at Hoosier Park on Oct. 3 or the Grade 3, $150,000 Raven Run Stakes at seven furlongs at Keeneland on Oct. 10.

Seabeck a youthful 90

Jim Seabeck, whose Ocean Mist won the Longacres Mile in 1953, served as honorary steward for this year's Mile. He also served as an advertisement for the health-prolonging effects of owning horses.

Hale and hearty at 90, Seabeck is still involved with his cattle and restaurant businesses, recently took up golf, and is looking forward to seeing his two yearlings make it to the races. He also owns part of an Indian Charlie 2-year-old colt named Charlie's Pride, who is currently in training with Bob Baffert.

Seabeck said he was inspired to buy his first horse after watching Seabiscuit win the Santa Anita Handicap in 1940. He estimated that he has since owned 170 horses who have won more than 700 races.

And he's not done yet. Seabeck says Charlie's Pride is a runner.