(from Emerald Downs)
The 74th running of the $300,000 Longacres Mile (gr. III) on Aug. 16 once again heads the list of stakes events to be run during the 2009 meeting at Emerald Downs.
Thirty-five stakes worth $2,015,000 will be offered during the 91-day season that runs April 17 to Sept. 27. The Longacres Mile is the centerpiece of the stakes schedule and tops a rich weekend of activity that features the $100,000 Emerald Distaff for older fillies and mares and the $75,000 Washington Oaks for sophomore fillies.
The Longacres Mile, the only graded race in the Northwest, annually attracts many of the top middle-distance horses on the West Coast. It is officially sanctioned as a "Win and You're In" Breeders’ Cup Challenge Race, meaning the winner automatically qualifies for the $1 million Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita in November.
Last year’s Longacres Mile was taken by locally based Wasserman, who in 2009 could become the first horse to capture consecutive renewals at Emerald Downs.
Other leading stakes are the $75,000 Emerald Downs Derby for 3-year-olds on Labor Day, Sept. 7, and the $75,000 Gottstein Futurity for 2-year-olds on Sept. 26. The "Mile Preview Day" on July 26, offers a doubleheader featuring fillies and mares in the $50,000 Boeing Handicap and older handicap stars in the $50,000 Mt. Rainier Handicap.
Washington Cup VII for state breds is Sept. 13, and features seven stakes worth an aggregate $350,000. The $50,000 Captain Condo Stakes for 2-year-old colts and geldings has been renamed the Dennis Dodge Stakes in honor of the longtime Daily Racing Form writer/handicapper who died in September.