Awesome Gem, the high weight at 123 lbs., returns to defend Mile title
DEFENDING CHAMPION AWESOME GEM
HIGH WEIGHT FOR LONGACRES MILE (G3)
AUBURN, Wash. (August 10) – Emerald Downs Director of Racing Bret Anderson has released a list of 24 handicap weights for the 77th renewal of the $200,000 Longacres Mile (G3) on Sunday, August 19.
Defending champion Awesome Gem was assigned high weight of 123 lbs, as the 9-year-old seeks to become the oldest horse to win The Mile and the first repeat winner in the 17 runnings at Emerald Downs. Trained by Craig Dollase, Awesome Gem carried 122 lbs last year, and with career earnings of $2,851,370 is the richest active runner in North America
Hudson Landing and Taylor Said both were assigned 122 lbs for the Northwest’s premier race. Hudson Landing has won four of his last six starts including the Grade 3 Berkeley Handicap on turf and the July 22 Mt. Rainier Handicap at Emerald Downs, in which he edged both St Liams Halo and Winning Machine in the 1-1/16-mile race.
Taylor Said has been a terror at Hastings Racecourse with a four-for-four record in 2012, and carried a hefty 128 lbs Monday in a 6-¼-length victory in the B.C. Cup Classic at 1-1/8 miles. Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winning jockey Mario Gutierrez has committed to ride Taylor Said in The Mile.
A quartet of runners were assigned 119 lbs, including Winning Machine, the 6-year-old gelding that has been the top local horse with two wins and a close third in three stakes races at the meeting. Gladding and John Scott, a pair of Southern California speedsters, also were given 119 lbs, as was Eldaafer, a 7-year-old gelding seeking to regain the form that landed him first place in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Marathon at 1-¾ miles.
Bailouttheminister, a Northern California stakes winner to be ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Russell Baze, is among a group of four runners at 118 lbs. Jebrica, who could give trainer Jim Penney a record sixth Mile winner, also was assigned 118, as were Hastings’ star St Liams Halo and Northlands Park triple stakes winner Commander.
Trainer Frank Lucarelli nominated four runners to The Mile, and at least two figure to make the race: Winning Machine and Gallant Son, Emerald Downs’ Top 2-year-Old of 2008 who was assigned 117 lbs.
A set of four runners are next at 116 lbs: 2009 Mile winner Assessment, world-record holder Hollywood Harbor, the Bob Baffert-trainer Hoorayforhollywood and 2010 Emerald Derby winner Saratoga Boot.
Over 12 runners are expected to enter The Mile, marking the sixth straight year the race will have the maximum 12 starters.
The Longacres Mile is limited to 12 starters with high weights preferred. Entries will be drawn 12 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 15 in the Emerald Room (4th floor).
$200,000 Longacres Mile (G3),
Sunday, August 19, 2012
Awesome Gem 123 Assessment 116
Hudson Landing 122 Hollywood Harbor 116
Taylor Said 122 Hoorayforhollywood 116
Eldaafer 119 Saratoga Boot 116
Gladding 119 First Strike 115
John Scott 119 Herbie D 115
Winning Machine 119 Posse Power 115
Bailouttheminister 118 Shrug 115
Commander 118 Jump Up and Kissme 114
Jebrica 118 Rocky’s Quest 113
St Liams Halo 118 Slim Pickins 113
Gallant Son 117 Tribaltique 113