Stryker Phd closed with a huge rally and soared clear to victory in the $200,000 Longacres Mile Handicap (gr. III) Aug. 16 at Emerald Downs, taking his home state's marquee race for a second year in a row.
The 6-year-old Washington-bred Bertrando gelding finished the mile dirt race in 1:34.06 under jockey Leslie Mawing, sent off the 6-5 favorite and 123-pound highweight in a field of 11.
Owned by Jim and Mona Hour, Stryker Phd came off back-to-back wins in the July 19 Mt. Rainier Handicap and the June 14 Budweiser Handicap, both at Emerald, to claim his eighth win in 21 starts for trainer Larry Ross. Last year he followed the same pattern, and in 2013 he was second in the Longacres Mile when running in the grade III stakes for the first time.
The winner returned $4.60, $3, and $2.40 while Sammy Mandeville paid $5.60 and $4.20 with Alert Bay bringing $3.60.
"It feels fantastic to win the Longacres Mile," Mawing said. "Any jockey that can win one, it's fantastic, let alone two. I've gotten two in a row. I give all the props to the horse. This horse is fantastic. I just want to thank everybody that helped get this horse and myself to this point, from the gallop boy, to the groom, to the pony people, I just want to give everybody props. I was just the co-pilot today.The horse was the pilot there.
"There was too much speed in there to be on the lead. I wasn't going to change the horse's style of running. Win or lose, he was going to run his race today. I just wanted him to run his race, and not change his style. I'm just grateful to be on this horse."
Stryker Phd was bred by Char Clark Thoroughbreds & Todd Havens out of the Smart Strike mare Striking Scholar.