(Auburn, WA) Sunday was the Super Bowl of Northwest Horse Racing with the 84th running of the Longacres Mile. The big day was even bigger with 3 additional Stakes races. Trainer Blaine Wright was looking to sweep all 4 Stakes races Below is a re-cap of all 4 races and other news and notes from Mile Day.
The 84th Longacres Mile (Grade 3) $200,000
The $200,000 added Longacres Mile saw 11 go to the post with one clear favorite #8 Anyportinastorm. Regular rider Juan Hernandez was aboard the 8-5 morning line favorite trained by Blaine Wright. Port was coming in winning 5 of his last 6 races including 2 of the 3 Mile prep series races. Port won the Governors and the Budweiser but passed on the Mt Rainier 2 weeks ago.
There were six invaders coming in to try and steal the pool led by Mike Maker’s trained Solid Wager at 5-1. Maker decided to put up Emerald Downs’ 2nd all-time leading rider Juan Gutierrez for the mount. John Sadler sent 6-1 Curlin Rules from Del Mar and longtime So Cal jockey Martin Pedroza traveled up to take the ride. But it was a re-union for several prominent Washington horsemen who shipped in a supposed turf specialist, Law Abidin Citizen, who broke all the rules and stunned the heavy favorite.
Due to a technical issue the Winner’s Circle ceremonies with Honorary Steward ESPN’s Kenny Mayne were delayed by about 10 minutes. All that did though was give the winner’s more time to soak in the reality of what they had just done. Jockey Abel Cedillo sent Citizen straight to the lead and gained an inside position then allowed the front running Port to take the lead. Curlin Rules would join the fray up front and Restrainedvengence laid off about 5 lengths. El Huerfano showed some early speed but disappeared with Curlin Rules as they hit the stretch. None of the deep closers made a dent in the lead the top 3 had created as they swung for home the heavy favorite with Juan Hernandez dug in but Law Abidin Citizen has eased to the outside of Port and Cedillo went to work getting up in the final strides to win officially by a head but a long nose or half a head was more accurate. Had the race been another 25 yards it may have been 26-1 Restrainedvengence who got the win as he was flying on the outside with Kevin Krigger aboard to just miss by a neck. Law Abidin Citizen ran the Mile in 1:34.08 for the 8th fastest Longacres Mile since being run at Emerald Downs in 1996.
It was a long 6 and half lengths back to 4th place Solid Wager. The longest shot on the board Elliott Bay took 5th at 92-1 followed by Oh Marvelous Me, More Power to Him, Curlin Rules, Rocky Tough, Brave Nation and El Huerfano stopped badly to finish last.
The winning owners included Tenino native Dan Agnew along with his partners Gerry Schneider and John Xitco. The 3 collected the winner’s share of the 200k purse which was almost $97,000. Law Abidin Citizen is a 5 year-old by Twirling Candy and out of Honest Answer and a Kentucky bred. Cedillo picked up his 142nd win of the year and is based out of Southern California but had never ridden Citizen in a race prior to the Mile but did work him out at Del Mar prior to being shipped up to Emerald.
Cedillo told trainer Mark Glatt that Citizen felt great and thought he would run well in the Mile and he was right on the money. Glatt also has deep roots in the Northwest and began working for his Dad, Ron Glatt. Ron Glatt was a steady force at Longacres but never got to taste the win of a Longacres Mile until Sunday. He said he couldn’t be prouder of his son and felt fortunate to simply be associated with the winner. Mark Glatt has made a name for himself in California and owner Dan Agnew has had a 2nd place finisher in the Kentucky Derby when Desert Wine ran 2nd to Sunny’s Halo in the 1983 run for the roses and then finished 2nd in the Preakness. We talked with Agnew after the race and both he and Glatt no matter what races they win or compete in there was always the desire to win the biggest race in the Northwest, the Longacres Mile. Agnew says Longacres is where his Dad got started and then he got into the racing game. No question the Mile was the race everyone who ever raced in Washington wanted to win and finally to it together was a pretty special accomplishment.
The 6-1 Law Abidin Citizen paid $15 on the $2 win. Coupled with the 3-5 Anyportinastorm was good for a $20 exacta pay and the 5-8-1 trifecta with 26-1 Restrainedvengence got your $150 for 50-cents. The 10-cent Super was a healthy $175 with Solid Wager. The 50-cent Stakes pick 4 was good for more than $1,800 as none of the betting favorites won any of the 4 Stakes races.
Our Interview with Tenino Native and part Owner of Law Abidin Citizen Dan Agnew
The 24th Emerald Distaff $50,000
9-horses went to the post in the 24th running of the Emerald Distaff and the betting favorite Bella Mia went straight to the lead and although front speed wasn’t a lock it had won a couple of races and seemingly you needed to be fairly close to the pace on this day as the track really tightened up after a cloud burst mid-card. Bella Mia looked in good position to take the mile and eighth Distaff with Kevin Orozco aboard. But longtime jockey Scott Stevens who has dominated Turf Paradise in Arizona for decades has made a couple of trips up to Emerald and starting to like it more and more was aboard No Talking Back. He had the 5-year-old mare, a Washington bred by Flatter, sitting just off the pace on the rail.
It looked like Stevens may not get through as Paddy’s Secret and Diamonds R backed up but patience paid off and the rail opened up and No Talking Back pulled even with Bella Mia about the 16th pole and edged away to a length win. No Talking Back was sent off at 4-1 and returned $10 on the win, the exacta with the favorite was good for $11.80 and the 50-cent tri that included 9-1 Blazinbeauty returned $25. Paddy’s Secret faded to 4th to complete the Super, Diamonds R was 5th followed by Reginella, Fly Far Away and Guardian One. No Talking Back ran the mile and eighth in 1:49.56.
No Talking Back races for the One Horse Will Do Corporation and Steve Shimizu and is trained by Chris Stenslie. No Talking Back collected $25,850 for the win.
We Talked with Winning Jockey Scott Stevens
The 82nd Muckleshoot Derby $50,000
The very familiar silks of the track’s most winning owner who also happened to be the founder of Emerald Downs stunned the field of 7 in the 82nd running of the Muckleshoot Derby on Sunday. Ron Crockett’s My Grandpa was let go as the 4th choice at 7-1 as Rally Cat was the betting choice at 3-2 just barely more than the other 3-2 shot Alittlelesstalk. My Grandpa got off to a good start in the mile and an eighth Derby sitting just off the front runners and never too far back. No doubt jockey Jorge Carreno saw the previous race, the 1st stakes of the day, the Washington Oaks also at 1 1/8 where Killarney Lass went to the lead was never challenged and drew off for an easy win.
Carreno and My Grandpa was never back more than a couple of lengths as Rally Cat set the pace and was pressed by Alittlelesstalk. As they entered the far turn Carreno started moving in a slow consistent pace picking up ground on the dueling front duo of 3-2 favorites. Rally Cat finally had enough and threw in the towel finishing 4th but My Grandpa still had to overcome a stout Alittlelestalk with Scott Stevens aboard. Carreno had the race well measured as he closed on the outside and drew even inside the 1/8th pole about a mile into the race and had plenty of time to draw away for a little more than a length win over the stubborn Alittlelesstalk. My Grandpa stopped the clock in a time of 1:49.71.
Crockett who has cut back on his stock was obviously thrilled and a bit surprised. We talked with him after the race and asked him if the name of the horse was a tribute to him from his beloved Grand kids but he said no this one had already been named when they got him. My Grandpa is a Washington bred by Grazen and out of Creole Delights and was bred by Prisco and Elizabeth Vacca. Tom Wenzel was the winning trainer.
My Grandpa took home the winner’s share of the 50k purse of $26,400 to more than double his career earnings. My Grandpa no doubt was one of the big catalysts for the $1,800 All-Stakes 50-cent pick 4. My Grandpa was good for $17 on the $2 win and combined with Alittlelesstalk the $1 exacta returned $23. The 50-cent Trifecta included the fast closing Time N Time Again at 15-1 and cashed for $68 while the 10-cent Super with Rally Cat 4th returned $32. The rest of the finishers in order were El Borracho, Sky Confidential and Todos Es Toro.
We talked with winning owner Ron Crockett
The 40th Washington Oaks
The 1st of 4 Stakes races was the least interesting unless you were included in the winning connections of Killarney Lass who destroyed this short field of 6 by nearly 10 lengths. The first of 3 straight mile and an eighth races saw the Kentucky bred go to the lead and never look back under veteran rider Javier Matias. Matias was in control of an easy pace even though longshot Suddenly Awesome and overwhelming favorite Mucho Amor were within a length and a half. Those two would never top Killarney Lass and as she turned for home Matias asked her and she burst to a 6 length lead which tore the heart out of both other front runners and they would finish 2nd last and last. the race was on for 2nd but there was no doubt the Frank Lucarelli trained Killarney Lass dominated her foes in the Oaks.
Running on from last to 2nd was 2nd favorite Twirling Devon followed by 12-1 shot Two Shakes while Northwest Factor completed the Super with Suddenly Awesome 5th and Mucho Amor last. Killarney Lass was sent off as the 4-1 3rd choice and returned $10, the exacta with the 2nd favorite $16, the 50-cent trifecta was $42 and the 10-cent Super $24. Killarney Lass races the Sargent Stables and collected $26,950 of the 50k purse for the win. Killarney Lass ran the race in a time of 1:48.55.
Trainer Frank Lucarelli on Killarney Lass’s big win in the Oaks
News and Notes from Mile Day
How would you like to be the race caller and know there is really only one race a year that is a must call for you but at the last second have that assignment pulled out from under you? That is exactly what happened to Emerald Downs announcer Tom Harris when a short circuit cut out his microphone. The horses were loading in the gates and no announcer when suddenly we heard the familiar voice of the Pre-Race host Joe Withee the Emerald Downs longtime Publicity Director. Withee jumped on from his dias overlooking the paddock where his mic was still live. Withee will usually call a few races during the season and works as the emergency race caller but those are usually bottom rung claiming races, far from the jewel of Northwest racing, the Longacres Mile.
The race was also being shown live on National TV through TVG but Withee didsn’t have time to even think of any of those things and did a solid job of calling the race. No doubt the extra studying of this race and knowing each horse and their connections gave him a bit of comfort when he had to jump in at the last second. Harris was certainly disappointed, especially when the problem was fixed in time for the next race. But Harris on his Facebook page explained what happened and gave big kudos to Withee for his quick reaction to make sure the Mile was given it’s due. As mentioned above the issues continued in the Winner’s Circle delaying the ceremonies, we’re guessing a microphone with a hard line will now be on hand for all Winner’s Circle ceremonies.
Rough Day for Favorites and Blaine Wright
Going into Mile Day and the 4 Stakes races each one of the races had a common denominator and that was trainer Blaine Wright, the 2nd leading trainer but clearly the Stakes leader with 7 of the 11 wins, had the morning line favorite in all 4 races. He ended up with the betting favorite in all 4 as well. It was not a day for favorites as Wright would go 0-4 in wins. Wright started a total of 9 horses in the 4 Stakes and finished with 2 2nd’s and a 3rd. Of course if Anyportinastorm had held on for the Mile win the day would not nearly been as painful as it was for the powerful Wright Stable. Wright has done just about everything at Emerald Downs but win the Mile, that no doubt remains a focus moving forward and we’d be surprised if he didn’t get that elusive prize sometime over the next few years.
Lucarelli continues to roll in 2019
Leading Trainer Frank Lucarelli added 2 more wins to his total and now leads Wright 53-31. This included the win in the Oaks with Killarney Lass for his 2nd Stakes win of the year. Lucarelli started 4 in the Stakes races again winning the Oaks then taking 3rd and 4th in the Distaff with Blazinbeauty and Paddy’s Secret and his 4th charge, 92-1 Elliott Bay split the field in the Mile finishing 5th.
Sharing the Wealth
The jockey’s shared the wealth in the 4 Stakes races with no multiple winners. Javier Matias won the Oaks, Jorge Carreno took the Derby, Scott Stevens won the Distaff and Abel Cedillo won the Mile. Leading rider Gary Wales had 2 Stakes rides and his best finish was on Paddy’s Secret, 4th place in the Distaff. 2nd leading rider Kevin Orozco had a mounbt in each of the added money races and although was frustrated in not finding the Winner’s Circle did finish well in all of them with a 2nd in the Oaks on Twirling Devon, 3rd in the Derby on longshot Time N Time Again, just missing as the favorite in the Distaff on Bella Mia and then an off the board run in the Mile on More Power to Him finishing 7th.
Shippinig jockey’s did well and not so well with Abel Cedillo taking the big prize in the Mile and a 3rd place finish in the Oaks going 2 for 2 in the money while Martin Pedroza from So Call was riding in his 1st Mile since 1992 finished 8th on Curlin Rules. Fellow So Cal rider Agapito Delgadillo ended up last in the Mile on El Huerfano for his only ride of the day. Juan Hernandez, although hitting the board had a disappointing day when Mucho Amor stopped in the Oaks to finish last as the odds on favorite. He also had the 3-2 fav in the Derby on Rally Cat taking 4th, then finished off the board on Reginella in the Distaff and then losing the heartbreaking Mile by a head. Finally, Scott Stevens is getting good returns on his trips to Emerald Downs he had 2 rides taking 2nd in the Derby on Alittlelesstalk and then winning the Distaff aboard No Talking Back.
Handicappers on the Money
Two of Sunday’s handicappers for the Longacres Mile were spot on and included Emerald’s Director of Media Relations Vince Bruun and Honorary Steward Kenny Mayne of KSTW and that little outfit ESPN fame. Both Vince and Kenny had Law Abidin Citizen nailed and the odds on favorite Anyportinastorm to be in the mix but both just missed spectacular pay-offs had 26-1 Restrainedvengence gotten up for 2nd and was just a head back the 50-cent trifecta likely would have at least tripled from the hefty $150 it paid with 3-5 Port running 2nd. Both hit the trifecta and Bruun had a healthy exacta as well that returned $20, that is a great pay with the co-second favorite winning over an odds-on choice, even in a field of 11.
Other handicappers including Larry the Sportscat from ESN and Joe Withee both got hung up on More Power to Him looking for a longshot but the Kay Cooper trained entry was unable to make a dent as a deep closer as the front end was not slowing down on this day and finished 7th. Victor the Predictor Cozzetti still at it all these years went the safe way with Anyportinastorm as did the Trifecta King Gary Dougherty who keyed Port over 4 horses but none were Law Abidin Citizen. The DRF handicappers of George Cottrell, Randy Goulding and Michael Hammersly all had Port on top and then a mix of Solid Wager, Rocky Tough and Curlin Rules but none had either Citizen or the show horse Vengence.
We had a chance to talk with Kenny Mayne in the Winner’s Circle prior to the running of the Mile and he touched on his handicapping picks.