O B HARBOR, ALERT BAY HEAD FIELD OF 11
IN SUNDAY’S $200,000 LONGACRES MILE (G3)
AUBURN, Wash. (August 10, 2016) – A field of 11 top older horses including local standout O B Harbor and California shipper Alert Bay are entered in Sunday’s $200,000 Longacres Mile (G3) at Emerald Downs.
The 81st running of the Grade 3 Mile headlines a 10-race card also featuring the $65,000 Emerald Distaff for older fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles.
The Longacres Mile goes as Race 8 at 5:51 p.m.
O B Harbor, unbeaten in four starts this season including the first three legs of the older handicap horse division, drew post No. 4 and is the 3-1 morning line favorite with regular rider Jose Zunino up for trainer Chris Stenslie and owner Jody Peetz of Issaquah, Wash.
An Oregon-bred 4-year-old gelding by Harbor the Gold-Flying Memo, O B Harbor fits the profile of recent Mile winners Stryker Phd, Noosa Beach, Assessment and Wasserman, who all culminated dominant seasons with victories in the Mile.
For Peetz, who bought O B Harbor for $18,500 at the 2013 WTBOA Summer Sale, a victory in Sunday would cap a dream season.
“It has been such a big surprise,” Peetz said. “We didn’t know what we had at the beginning of the year. We knew he was talented, but when he came out and won his first race this year against older horses, we were like ‘wow!’ Then he came back and won the Governor’s, which was my favorite race of his so far.
“I asked Chris (Stenslie) after that if she thought we had a Mile horse and she said, ‘I think so.’ It was still very important that he did well in the route stakes. If he hadn’t done well, then we probably wouldn’t be in here.”
In fact, O B Harbor was brilliant in both the one-mile Budweiser Stakes and the 1 1/16-mile Mt. Rainier Stakes, winning the Budweiser by a half-length in 1:34.73 and the Mt. Rainier by two lengths in 1:41.05.
“For this to be my first graded-stakes, it’s pretty exciting,” Peetz added. “I’ve always been pretty envious of others around this time of year, but now that I get to be part of The Mile, it’s really cool. I’m just trying to enjoy the ride.”
Alert Bay, the richest earner in the field with over $1.1 million, drew post-position No. 5 and is the 7-2 second choice with Washington native Tyler Baze the rider for trainer Blaine Wright and owner Peter Redekop of Vancouver, B.C.
O B Harbor (11-6-1-2-$133,191) and California-bred Alert Bay (28-12-7-2-$1,127,815) are starting co high weights at 123 lbs each.
Stryker Phd, bidding to become the first three-time winner in Mile history, drew the No. 1 post with Leslie Mawing named to ride for trainer Larry Ross and owners Jim and Mona Hour of Bellevue, Wash. Coming off a fourth in the Mt. Rainier stakes, Stryker Phd is listed fourth choice at 5-1.
Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer sends out 4-1 third choice Point Piper and 6-1 fifth choice Cyrus Alexander. Point Piper drew post No. 8 with two-time Kentucky Derby winner Mario Gutierrez the jockey, and Cyrus Alexander drew No. 7 with Norberto Arroyo Jr. the jockey.
Rounding out the field are Sammy Mandeville (12-1), Prime Engine (15-1), Dedicated to You (20-1), Star Student (20-1), Sabado Alegre (30-1) and Indian Brut (30-1).
The 2016 Mile includes several intriguing storylines:
- For the first time in 57 years the top three finishers are back from the previous year—Stryker Phd, Sammy Mandeville and Alert Bay.
- O B Harbor could complete a clean sweep of the handicap division, and already has meet-fastest times at 5 ½ furlongs, 6 ½ furlongs, one mile, and 1 1/16 mile.
- Prime Engine bids to become the first horse ever to win the track’s top races for 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds, and older horses. A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred, Prime Engine won the 2014 Gottstein Futurity by 5 ½ lengths and 2015 Emerald Downs Derby by six lengths.
- Jockey Rocco Bowen, dominating the meet with 83 wins in 54 days, guns for his first Mile victory aboard California shipper Sammy Mandeville.
- And, of course, Stryker Phd could become the first three-time Mile winner. Amble In (1946 & 1948), Trooper Seven (1980-81), Simply Majestic (1988-89) and Stryker Phd (2014-15) are the only horses to win the race twice.
The oldest runner in the field at age 7, Stryker Phd is competing in his fourth straight Mile—finishing second in 2013 and scoring back-to-back wins in 2014 and 2015—and with a victory also would overtake Wasserman as richest earner in track history.
“I think he’s coming into this race really well,” Ross said. “He’s just a year older. The (fourth in the Mt. Rainier) was just a mystery. He came out sound, healthy and happy. You have to give a horse (a mulligan) every once in awhile. It’s hard for a horse to perform like he has over the past three years; almost flawless.
“The Mile is always a fun race to be in,” Ross added. “It’s the best race in the Northwest. To win it a few times is really great.”
A Washington-bred, Stryker Phd is 9-5-6 in 24 lifetime starts with earnings of $529,331, and is 8-4-5 in 17 starts with earnings of $480,726 at Emerald Downs.
The winner Sunday earns $110,000.
Perfect weather is forecast with sunny skies and a high of 74 degrees.
The field for the 81st Longacres Mile (G3) with jockey, handicap weight and morning line odds: 1-Stryker Phd, Leslie Mawing, 121 lbs, 5-1; 2-Dedicated to You, Eswan Flores, 116, 20-1; 3-Star Student, Amadeo Perez, 116, 20-1; 4-O B Harbor, Jose Zunino, 123, 3-1; 5-Alert Bay, Tyler Baze, 123, 7-2; 6-Sammy Mandeville, Rocco Bowen, 116, 12-1; 7-Cyrus Alexander, Norberto Arroyo Jr., 119, 6-1; 8-Point Piper, Mario Gutierrez, 118, 4-1; 9-Sabado Alegre (CHI), Juan Gutierrez, 116, 30-1; 10-Prime Engine, Isaias Enriquez, 117, 15-1; 11-Indian Brut, Erick Lopez, 114, 30-1.
GUINEVERE’S FINALE TOPS LOCALS IN DISTAFF
A field of nine fillies and mares square off in the $65,000 Emerald Distaff at 1 1/8 miles, with California shipper All Star Bub and Boeing Stakes winner Guinevere’s Finale starting high weights at 121 and 120 lbs.
All Star Bub has a chance to give trainer Jerry Hollendorfer a record fourth victory in the Distaff. A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred by Midshipman, All Star Bub performs well on dirt with a 3-0-6 record in 13 starts and earnings of $146,950. She has competed almost exclusively in Southern California, including a third in the Adoration Stakes (G3) in May at Santa Anita.
A 5-year-old Kentucky-bred by Tale of the Cat, Guinevere’s Finale has blossomed this season for Oak Crest Farm and trainer David Martinez, winning three of five starts including a three-quarter-length triumph in the one-mile Boeing Stakes.
Princess Kennedy bids to become the first 3-year-old filly to win the Distaff. A Kentucky-bred by Sun King, she rolled from behind to win the championship Washington Oaks at 1 1/8 miles last month. Her trainer, Tom Wenzel, has won this race two years running with Lady Rosberg and Stopshoppingdebbie.
Carded as Race 7, post time for the Distaff is 5:11 p.m.
The field for the 21st running of the Emerald Distaff at 1 1/8 miles with jockey and handicap weight: 1-Perhaps a Pie, Eswan Flores, 114 lbs; 2-Locket, Tyler Baze¸116; 3-Ole’s Miss, Jennifer Whitaker, 115; 4-Princess Kennedy (3yo), Rocco Bowen, 115; 5-Alli Leigh, Isaias Enriquez, 113; 6-Curly Girly, Leslie Mawing, 116; 7-Chronologic’sghost, Anne Sanguinetti, 117; 8-Guinevere’s Finale, Javier Matias, 120; 9-All Star Bub, Mario Gutierrez, 121.