Two-time Sovereign Award winner True Metropolitan is the highweight in the Longacres Mile.

Two-time Sovereign Award winner True Metropolitan is the highweight in the Longacres Mile.

Michael Burns

Tropic Storm Favored in Longacres Mile

California shipper Tropic Storm, graded stakes-placed in his last two efforts, was installed as the 5-2 morning line favorite in the $300,000 Longacres Mile (gr. III) Aug. 17 at Emerald Downs.

True Metropolitan, a two-time Sovereign Award winner as Canada’s best handicap horse, likely would have been the morning line favorite had he not drawn unenviable post 11. Only one horse has won from that post in the 72 previous runnings of the event. True Metropolitan, a 6-year-old with five career graded stakes triumphs, will also have to overcome a 122-pound impost, giving 4-12 pounds to his 11 rivals in the main track event.

The Longacres Mile is a designated Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” event for the first time, with the winner receiving an automatic berth to the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile Oct. 25 at Santa Anita. TVG will provide live coverage of ‘Mile Weekend,’ which also includes the $100,000 Washington Oaks on Aug. 16. Up-to-the-minute reports and exclusive interviews on both races can been seen on TVG beginning at 4 p.m. PDT Aug. 16-17. Post time for the Mile will be approximately 5:30 p.m. PDT.

A 4-year-old son of Stormy Atlantic , Tropic Storm enters off a third-place finish in the grade I Triple Bend Invitational Handicap July 5 at Hollywood Park, where he came four-wide into the stretch and fell 2 3/4 lengths short of eventual winner Street Boss. The Craig Dollase trainee, who is based out of Del Mar, was runner-up to Rebellion in the 7 1/2-furlong Ack Ack Handicap (gr. III) one month prior to that.

Owned by West Point Thoroughbreds, Tropic Storm has faced some tough company this year, twice losing to back-to-back grade I winner Street Boss, while also placing third to two-time graded stakes winner Giant Gizmo, and finishing fourth to the nation’s top sprinter, Benny the Bull, in the Jan. 26 Sunshine Millions Sprint at Gulfstream Park. The latter was Tropic Storm's lone race on natural dirt this year.

Bred in Florida by Arthur Appleton and out of the Valid Appeal mare Diplomatic Angel, Tropic Storm is 4-3-2 from 11 lifetime starts. Regular rider Aaron Gryder will get the call and break from post two.

True Metropolitan is showing no signs of age. The Proud and True gelding has been in top form during the past 12 months, winning six times in nine starts – all in stakes competition. He was runner-up in all three defeats, including his two most recent efforts. The Terry Jordan trainee was 2 3/4 lengths back of Jiggs Coz in the 10-furlong Dominion Day Stakes (Can-III) July 1 and fell a half-length shy in the Seagram Cup (Can-III) July 27, both on the Woodbine Polytrack. The latter pushed his career earnings over $1 million.

A Sovereign Award winner the past two years, True Metropolitan has won 15 stakes races since 2006. Bred in Florida by Frank Bertolino and owned by Bob Cheema, he is 18-7-4 from 37 lifetime starts. James McAlaney will ride the 3-1 second choice.

The last three victories in the Mile have been by locals, which bodes well for Wasserman and Nationhood, the top two Emerald Downs-based horses in the field. Bred, owned and trained by Howard Belvoir, Wasserman has made his last 22 starts at the Auburn, Wash. racetrack. The 6-year-old gelding has won three times this season, including the Governor’s Handicap two starts ago. If Wasserman should pull the upset, he will be the second consecutive Mile winner sired by Cahill Road. Great Face won the event in 2007, while Wasserman was third.

Cander Racing’s Nationhood has won twice at the current meet for trainer Mike Chambers, including the one-mile Budweiser Emerald Handicap June 15. He was fifth in the Governor’s Handicap.

“He's on his game, sharp and ready to run," Chambers said. “He's had a long campaign, but he's resilient. He's ready to roll.”

Also worthy of mention is Flamethrowintexan, who won the Mile in 2006. The 7-year-old Way West gelding has not raced in more than a year, but is trained by Jim Penney and will be ridden by Gary Baze, who each have a record five wins in this event.

$300,000 Longacres Mile (gr. III, Approx. 5:30 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 Miles (Dirt)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey, Odds
1. Southern Africa, 113, Russell Baze, 20-1
2. Tropic Storm, 118, Aaron Gryder, 5-2
3. Luhuk's Dancer, 115, Kevin Radke, 6-1
4. Wasserman, 118, Jennifer Whitaker, 5-1
5. Schoolin You, 110, Gallyn Mitchell, 30-1
6. Diligent Prospect, 112, Kate Repp, 20-1
7. Nationhood, 119, Seth Martinez, 6-1
8. Flamethrowintexan, 116, Gary Baze, 15-1
9. Honour the West, 113, Leslie Mawing, 20-1
10. Assessment, 113, Juan Gutierrez, 20-1
11. True Metropolitan, 122, James McAleney, 3-1
12. Call On Carson, 115, Ricky Frazier, 20-1