Defending champion and 2-to-1 morning line favorite Awesome Gem steps off the van at Emerald Downs early Friday morning in advance of Sunday's 77th running of the $200,000 Longacres Mile (G3) for 3-year-olds and up. Owned by West Point Thoroughbreds, the 9-year-old gelding attempts to become the oldest horse to win The Mile, and with earnings of $2,851,370 is the richest horse to ever race in Washington. (Wayne Nagai/Emerald Downs Photos)
Just a quick post on this Sunday morning before I head down to Emerald for breakfast and the Longacres Mile day card. Post time for The Mile is 5:39pm Pacific and the race will be televised by TVG, or if you are in the Pacific Northwest, ComcastSports Northwest.
The Mile typically has a pretty solid pace, generally due to the presence of several sprinters trying to stretch their speed out to eight furlongs. 1-Gladding has scratched out of the race which removes one of the early pace horses. However, with 4-Winning Machine, 6-Assessment and 10-Taylor Said in the race, I would expect the pace to be, at a minimum, fair and possibly quite quick.
I've landed on 5-Hudson Landing in this spot (see what I did there?) for a couple of reasons. First, he looked good winning the Mt. Rainier Handicap back on July 22nd in his first start at Emerald Downs. I like to see horses that have already run well over the Emerald track since some shippers find the hard surface difficult to take to. Second, he's got the ability to sit just off the pace, which should be a huge plus with two or three horses wanting to run on the lead early. You don't want to be too far back at Emerald and Hudson Landing should be in the "garden spot" early. Third, he's solid at the distance (6-2-3-0). And fourth, while he's spent most of his career running on synthetic and turf courses in California, he's been just as good on dirt courses (5-1-2-1).
The final factor in my play with Hudson Landing is the possible price on this horse: he's 4/1 on the morning line and I would expect that to hold somewhat well given the return of Awesome Gem and the presence of a couple other strong contenders.
Below are the updated morning line odds for the Longacres Mile.
|G3-Longacres Mile; Post Time: 5:39pm Pacific|
|2||Gallant Son||W. Antongeorgi||F. Lucarelli||12/1|
|3||Awesome Gem||D. Flores||C. Dollase||2/1|
|4||Winning Machine||J. Matias||F. Lucarelli||6/1|
|5||Hudson Landing||F. Alvarado||B. Wright||4/1|
|6||Assessment||J. Whitaker||H. Belvoir||20/1|
|7||Jump Up and Kissme||M. Dunn||K. Raven||30/1|
|8||Bailoutheminister||R. Baze||K. Nations||9/2|
|9||Jebrica||J. Gutierrez||J. Penny||15/1|
|10||Taylor Said||M. Gutierrez||M. Puhich||5/1|
|11||St. Liams Halo||L. Mawing||M. Puhich||8/1|