A full 12-horse field will break out of the gate on Sunday in the grade III, $250,000 Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs.
Poker Brad, who finished second to Sky Jack in last year's Longacres Mile, was installed as the 3-1 morning-line favorite. The Tim McCanna-trained gelding will break ninth from the rail under leading rider Ricky Frazier. Poker Brad, a son of Go For Gin, is coming off a victory in the $100,000 Mt. Rainier Breeders' Cup on July 25.
"I like our chances in this race," McCanna said. "Our horse is doing good. He came out of his last race in great shape. Hopefully, there will be plenty of speed for him to run at."
A number of horses, including Royal Place, Salt Grinder and Metatron, will likely battle for the lead in the race.
Royal Place, who is trained by Rafael Beccera, won the Lt. Governor's Handicap in his most recent start on July 1. Royal Place received post position No. 11 and will be ridden by Jose Valdivia, Jr.
"I'm not that crazy about our post position," said Royal Place owner K.K. Sangara, "but I love our horse's chances in this race. He's really sharp right now."
Salt Grinder will attempt to give trainer Jim Penney a record fifth victory in the Longacres Mile. The 5-year-old gelding is a perfect two-for-two this season, having won the Governor's Handicap in his last start.
"We think he's peaking at the right time," said Penney, a member of the Washington Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame. "We will see how the race sets up and whether or not he'll on the lead."
Gallyn Mitchell, the all-time leading rider in Emerald Downs' history, receives the mount on Salt Grinder. Mitchell and Penney teamed up to pull off the biggest upset in Longacres Mile history in 2000 when Mitchell guided the Penney-trained 41-1 longshot Edneator to a victory in the race.
The Longacres Mile field, with jockeys and morning-line odds, from the rail out is:
1 -- Gratitude Attack, David Wilson, 10-1
2 -- Metatron, Chad Hoverson, 12-1
3 -- Deputy Country, Richard Hamel, 15-1
4 -- Best On Tap, Ben Russell, 12-1
5 -- Demon Warlock, Adalberto Lopez, 12-1
6 -- Salt Grinder, Gallyn Mitchell, 6-1
7 -- Adreamisborn, Russell Baze, 8-1
8 -- Verkade, Sandi Gann, 6-1
9 -- Poker Brad, Ricky Frazier, 3-1
10 -- American Fury, Octavio Vergara, 12-1
11 -- Royal Place, Jose Valdivia, Jr., 9-2
12 -- Mr. Makah, Scott Saito, 12-1
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