The field from the rail out for the 78th running of the Longacres Mile (Race 8, 5:32 p.m.): Until You, Juan Gutierrez, 114lbs; Hoist, Mario Gutierrez, 117; Politcallycorrect, Russell Baze, 121; Gladding, Dennis Carr, 116; Stryker Phd, Debbie Hoonan, 116; Jebrica, Isaias Enriquez, 118; Golden Itiz, Gerry Olguin, 116; Tres Borrachos, David G. Lopez, 118; Why Not Be Perfect, Anne Sanguinetti, 118; Herbie D, Amadeo Perez, 121; Mr. Bowling, Aaron Gryder, 117; Winning Machine, Javier Matias, 117.
STRYKER PHD LOOKS TO ACE LONGACRES MILE TEST
With Stryker Phd safely in the race, Margo Lloyd was finally able to take a deep breath, exhale, and focus on the task at hand—trying to win the Northwest’s biggest race with Jim and Mona Hour’s 4-year-old Bertrando gelding.
At 8-to-1 on the morning line, Washington-bred Stryker Phd would appear to have the best chance of the local contingent in this year’s Longacres Mile, although Jebrica, a 12-to-1 shot from the barn of five-time Mile-winner Jim Penney, also will have backers.
“His season has been a nice surprise for the owners and I,” Lloyd said. “Although I wasn’t too surprised because I could see his talent every day.
“We’re happy with everything coming into the weekend. He’ll gallop one more time Friday and then we'll just hope for good weather.”
Weighted at 116 lbs, Stryker Phd wasn’t guaranteed entry until connections decided to ship Commander and Shrug to Edmonton for a stakes race at Northlands Park. This is Lloyd’s first Mile starter, and the second for jockey Debbie Hoonan, who finished seventh on 50-to-1 Norm’s Nephew in 2007.
Longacres Mile Notes:
· Sunday’s card includes three $0.50 Pick 4s (1-4, 5-8, 8-11).
· Longacres Mile nominees Commander (4-to-5) and Shrug (5-to-2) are the top two morning line choices in Saturday’s $50,000 Westerner Handicap at 1 1/16 miles at Northlands Park.
· The Pacific Sound chorus will perform the national anthem Sunday at Emerald Downs.
· In addition to the 40 flat screen TVs given away Sunday—10 after each race—one additional TV will be given away to fans on the Emerald Downs Facebook page.
· The $22,575 Pete Pedersen Memorial goes as Sunday’s 10th race. Assessment, who lost a shake with Until You to determine the final spot in the Longacres Mile, is among a field of six entered at one mile.
· A promising Sunday weather forecast calls for a high temperature of 75 degrees and less than a 10 percent chance of rain.
CANADIAN CONTINGENT WEIGHS IN ON SUNDAY’S
$200,000 LONGACRES MILE (G3) AT EMERALD DOWNS
With Hastings Racecourse shipper Herbie D one of the favorites in the $200,000 Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs, two of Canada’s most respected handicappers offered their opinions on Sunday’s Grade 3 race.
To heat up the family rivalry, your intrepid reporters have asked Dan Jukich, the track announcer at Hastings Racecourse and Fraser Downs and his son Matt Jukich, Hastings’ Director of Player Development, to share their thoughts on the Northwest’s most prestigious race.
Interestingly, both Jukichs handicapped separately, but as they say, like father, like son. Both felt that Herbie D, who’s won four stakes at Hastings, had the talent to win The Mile, but that postposition No. 10 and a likely quick early pace might hinder the 5-year-old gelding’s chances.
“I’d really like to make a case for Herbie D,” Dan Jukich said. “I just don’t know what kind of trip he’s going to get.
“Most of his best races have been on the engine and he’s going to have to work to get the lead.”
Expecting fast early fractions, the Jukichs sided with a stretch-runner exacta in reverse order. The elder
Jukich chose 7-2 morning-line favorite Politicallycorrect, over Jebrica and Golden Itiz, while the younger Jukich took Jebrica on top, with Politicallycorrect and Golden Itiz underneath.
“I hate picking the chalk, so I’ll let my dad pick the favorite,” said the younger Jukich, poking fun at his dad’s selection. “I think Jebrica is an interesting horse in this race and could upset a tough field.”
Emerald Downs-based Jebrica impressed Canadian onlookers at Hastings, where the 5-year-old Washington-bred gelding compiled a 1-2-0 record in three starts including a half-length victory in the 2011 BC Premier Handicap at 1 3/8 miles. Jebrica comes into The Mile after winning the Budweiser Handicap on June 16, followed by a third-place effort in the Mt. Rainier Handicap on July 21.
Aside from the horses, Dan Jukich said he was really impressed with the Mile jockeys’ colony this year.
“It is quite a jockey crew that you guys got down there,” he said. “There’s the best in the business with Russell Baze.
“Aaron Gryder is always tough and even Dennis Carr and Gerry Olguin are solid riders, too. Oh, and how can I forget our main man Mario Gutierrez?”