Herbie D winning the 2013 Longacres Mile.
Around here it’s simply referred to as “The Mile.” The richest race in the Northwest, the Longacres Mile’s purse is $200,000 and it is the only graded Stakes race at Emerald Downs.
“Graded” refers to an assignment of Grade I, Grade II, or Grade III (also Grade 1, 2 or 3).
A race is assigned it’s “graded status” by the American Graded Stakes Committee. All grades issued, denied, or altered are voted upon by a quorum of the Committee at a duly called meeting. A quorum, for the purpose of grading races, is a majority of TOBA (Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association) members on the Committee and a majority of Racing Officials on the Committee. Eight affirmative votes are required to upgrade any race and six affirmative votes are required to downgrade a race.
In a nutshell, grading is based on purse money, quality of horses competing over time, and establishment of the race. You can read more about the criteria here.
Stakes races, and in particular The Mile, function differently than a normal race.
1) There’s a nomination process. In the case of The Mile, nominations closed Sunday, August 10.
2) There is a nomination fee of $250. A horse must be nominated in order to be eligible to enter.
3) Once the list of nominated horses is complete, then the racing secretary assigns the weights. This is what constitutes a “handicap” because the horses are assigned weights based on their past performances. Theoretically, the best horse receives the highest weight, and the least competitive horse receives the lowest. The aim is to level the playing field and make the race as competitive as possible.
4) Weights are released Saturday, August 16 with “high weights preferred.” This means that if more than 12 horses enter, the twelve with the highest weights will get preference.
5) Regular entries are taken on Wednesday, August 20. An additional $1,500 is due at entry. Once entries are closed, we have the ceremonial “post position draw”.
6) On race day, an additional $1,500 is required to start. The additional entry fees all go into the purse.
The above process is specific to the Mile and is outlined in the condition book. The Mile is a unique race with tremendous history behind it. If you have an opportunity to make it to the track on Sunday, it is well worth it to see the best horses assembled for the 79th running. We anticipate a full field of 12 with the Ross trained Stryker Phd as one of the favorites.
Stryker Phd winning the Mt. Rainier Handicap. He lives in the Ross barn with Anelina and Yodeler. He is the local favorite in the Mile, hoping to fend off invaders from California, Canada and Idaho.
The vet continues to monitor Anelina and she will work soon. She’s showing no indication of edema in that ankle and according to Sharon she is happy to be back on the track.
A decision has not yet been made on his next race. There is a race for Saturday, August 23 that he meets the conditions for, but Sharon is unsure at this time if she will enter him. Entries close Wednesday for Saturday.
Some of you have inquired as to how we made the decisions on when he runs. The decision on when he is right, fit and happy to run is 100% left to Sharon and Larry. The decision on what level he runs at is discussed between myself and Larry and Sharon but ultimately I leave the decision to them.
This is not the case in all owner/trainer relationships, but it is the one that we agreed upon and feel is in the best interests in the horse. As an owner, you must be in a position where you are comfortable with the decisions being made. If you aren’t, then you need to communicate that clearly to your trainer or find one that works better for your objectives.
The jockeys for the 2013 Longacres Mile. There is a special Jockey introduction prior to the running of the Mile.
The 2013 Longacres Mile Trophy was commissioned for the Mile and was carved from wood by Oregon artist Mike Bryant. A special blanket of flowers is also placed on the winning horse.